Urban Legends

The "F" Word

The Legend

Did you know that in ancient England, there was a strong stigma against accidentally catching sight of people engaged in extreme intimacies? At the same time, people didn't live very long so they had to get it when they could. As such, many people made little signs that they hung up on the door to the barn, the back of a cart full of hay, etc., to warn people to avert their eyes for a few minutes, lest they catch sight of a beast with an extra back.

These signs traditionally read, "Fornicatus Ultimobius Cartinda Knix." Loosely translated from the Latin, "If this van's a rockin', don't bother knockin'." That's where the word "fuck" comes from. Cool, eh?


It used to be that guys would try and get into women's pants by tricking them. They'd tell the women that there was a disease going around that only women who wore underwear made in France could catch and offer to check the woman's panties if she'd just take them off. More serious advances would follow.

Guys who tried this trick were known as practitioners of the French Underwear Can Kill scam, or F.U.C.K.ers.


If you stand in the dark in front of the bathroom mirror and shout "Fuck" fifty times, Bloody Mary will appear and wash your mouth out with soap.

Behind the Legend

The origin of the word "fuck" is hotly debated in academic circles on almost a daily basis, particularly when there is beer involved.

The most likely true origin of the word was that in ancient time people had to have the king's permission to have sex. When people wanted "to have a baby" they went to the king to get his permission and, if he approved, got a "Fornication Under Consent of the King" or FUCK certificate. It was not uncommon for a couple to hurry home, explaining to those who question their haste that they "had just been royally FUCKed." If conception didn't follow and another certificate was needed, you were "FUCKed over." A couple that had reached their quota for certificates was said to be "all FUCKed up." Busy mothers often sent their young sons to obtain a certificate so that the family could be expanded, and these messenger boys became known as "mother FUCKers." Men who said they had a certificate just to get a woman in the sack were said to have imaginary certificates or be "FUCKed in the head." After use, certificates were often taken by the man involved, made into parchment darts (primative paper airplanes), and thrown at a rolled hoop to see if the dart could be thrown through the moving target. This simple game was known as "Taking a flying FUCK at a rolling doughnut."

The "king's permission" system was problematic because it made the more impulsive subjects cranky and kept his highness really busy. For example, in London alone one particular "house with a bad reputation" generated almost 200 certificate requests a day. For a while, the king delegated responsibility for generating certificates to a Minister of FUCK, and when the job grew too large for one person to handle, a Ministry of FUCK. That department is still in existence, but its responsibilities have grown and today it is known as Parlament.

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