05 December 2007


I make sure my students are aware that many of our most revered vulgar words have a long pedigree. The f-word was first recorded in 1503, coming from Danish. The c-word for female pudenda and s-word and "piss" are all from the 14th century. (Perhaps the Hundred-Years' War fomented linguistic innovations?)

Here's an exercise in gaining some historical perspective: look up some of the other vulgar words in a collegiate dictionary which gives
etymology and date of first known usage. It gives one a sense of continuity.

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