It’s f***ing great

Something for the weekend: NY Times on swearing, obscenities, cursing (etc).

Mind you, I’m curious about what the Seven Dirty Words would be. (Update: Now I know.) I can’t imagine there are that many unsayables left on British TV. And just why are Americans so squeamish about the word ‘toilet’?

(Hat-tip: Head Heeb.)

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6 Responses to It’s f***ing great

  1. Glad to see you picked this up, Sharon, because you might be able to answer a question. According to the NYT graphic, the word “sfoot” means “to have sex.” However, “sfoot” seems to me to be the same kind of contraction as “sblood” or “zounds,” which would indicate that it means “God’s foot.” So which was it – a smutty oath or a blasphemous one?

  2. Sharon says:

    I noticed that word too – I’d never heard of it before, but I wasn’t convinced by their explanation either. And the OED says that it is a contraction of ‘God’s foot’ or ‘Christ’s foot’. Maybe the compiler of the graphic got it confused with one of the many words for having sex…

  3. Brett says:

    I’m not very familiar with the genre, but the first thing I thought of was that perhaps ‘God’s Foot” became “Sfoot”, and in turn that somehow was absorbed into the bizarre world of “Cockney Rhyming Slang,” at which point it took on some new meaning which was sexual in nature.

    As for why Americans are so squeamish about ‘toilet’ (which, in the states, now almost exclusively means ‘the thing you defecate and urinate in’), I honestly think it goes all the way back to the high percentage of extremely religious types which the Brits (passively or intentionally) chose to initially populate the colonies with. In one way or another, the combination of puritans, cavaliers, and newer immigrants have provided most of the central philosophical disagreements and strange prevailing attitudes in this country over the past two centuries.

    Look at the sleepy town of York, Pennsylvania, which is currently embroiled in the old ‘Intelligent Design vs. Evolution’ debate. It is situated in an area mainly dominated by a historical combination of quakers, mennonites, and immigrant puritans from New England, but at the same time is close enough to the Mason-Dixon line (theoretically where our “South” begins) which is populated by the Southern Baptist/”Fundamentalist” Christians. If you think about it, it almost makes perfect sense the debate would take place there, just as it made sense that the nearby town of Gettysburg would be the highwater mark of our Civil War. Just a few theoretical thoughts on the subject.

    Back to “Sfoot”, I did find one other supposed definition at the Urban Dictionary, which claims it means “To accidentally inhale ash from a pipe while smoking marijuana.”

  4. Sharon says:

    That’s fairly weird. But then who’d expect anything sensible sounding from potheads?

    Maybe I should write to the NYT and find out how sfoot got into the graphic. (If I could be bothered.) Hey, does the NYT have a Corrections Corner?

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