18 September 2015 - Historian finds the oldest occurrence of the F-word
Defendant in 1310 English court case given nickname 'Roger Fuckebythenavele' in what historians say is first recorded use of the insult
Mark Prigg (The Daily Mail)
Historians claim to have uncovered the first use of the word f*** in a court document dating from 1310.
Dr Paul Booth, who was a lecturer in medieval history before retiring, spotted the name 'Roger Fuckebythenavele' in the Chester county court plea rolls from December 8, 1310.
The man was being named as part of a process to be outlawed - meaning he could be executed on sight.
Ed Mazza (The Huffington Post)
Paul Booth, a historian at Keele University in England, found three examples dating from 1310 and 1311 of a man known in legal documents as Roger Fuckebythenavel.
Booth said he believes Roger was not the bearer of a very unfortunate family name, but rather it was given to him derogatorily.
"This surname is presumably a nickname," Booth told Medievalists.net. "I suggest it could either mean an actual attempt at copulation by an inexperienced youth, later reported by a rejected girlfriend, or an equivalent of the word ‘dimwit,’ i.e., a man who might think that that was the correct way to go about it.”
Origin of the word
Kate Wiles (The Huffington Post)
One origin story for fuck is that it comes from when sex was outlawed unless it was permitted explicitly by the king, so people who were legally banging had Fornication Under Consent of the King on their doors, or: F.U.C.K. But obviously that's wrong. And if you do believe that, stop it. Stop it right now.
But right now there's a post going round with a lovely image of a manuscript from Brasenose College, Oxford, proudly declaring it's the earliest instance of fuck in English (although, it notes, that is apart from that pesky one from Scotland and that one that says fuck but is written in code). But even if we DO agree to discount those two little exceptions, it's still not the earliest instance. I think the Brasenose fuck was considered the earliest in 1993, and that's quite outdated now.
So, for your enjoyment and workplace sniggering, here's a potted history of fuck.
Juli Weiner (Vanity Fair)
Today, a federal court ruled that the Federal Communication Commission’s restrictions on “fleeting” expletives run counter to the First Amendment. Policies toward fleeting expletives—which, according to The Washington Post, are defined as a “a single, nonliteral use” of an obscene word—were invoked in 2004, after Bono’s use of “fucking”—the qualifier, not the verb, mind you—during the 2003 Golden Globes. Today’s ruling, however, overturns these guidelines, which were deemed “unconstitutionally vague” and responsible for “creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here.” Indeed, although the institutionalized indictment of “fuck” long predates this particular predicament.
Pour citer cette ressource :
"18 September 2015 - Historian finds the oldest occurrence of the F-word", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), septembre 2015. Consulté le 29/09/2023. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/18-september-2015-historian-finds-the-oldest-occurrence-of-the-f-word