The earliest reference to the F-word is probably dated from early 14th century


The history of swearing, a practice that even the best among us resort to at times, is a rich and colorful one, spanning over several thousand years. When it comes to profanities, nothing is as universally used as our very own f-bomb. British historian, Dr. Paul Booth, has spotted what is probably the earliest reference to the f-word, in the Chester county court plea rolls dated December 8, 1310.

During his research on the legal records of Cheshire at the time of Edward II, Booth, a senior research fellow at UK-based Keele University, came upon the name “Roger F*ckebythenavele” three times. Found in the rolls, summoning the man to court between December, 1310 and September 28, 1311, the name translates into what could only be “Roger the Navel-Fucker”. Speaking about the interesting discovery, which will likely appear in the Notes and Queries journal, Booth said:

This surname is presumably a nickname. I suggest it could either mean an actual attempt at copulation by an inexperienced youth, later reported by a rejected girlfriend… Fourteenth-century revenge porn perhaps? Or it could be a rather elaborate way of describing someone regarded as a “halfwit”—i.e., that is the way that he would think of performing the sexual act.


According to Jesse Sheidlower, the author of the book The F-Word, “f*ck” is of Germanic origin, and may have come into being in 1278 from the word “fulcher”, which mean soldiers. Another early use of the imprecation can be found in the 1475 poem, titled Flen flyys, containing the line “fvccant vvivys of heli”. When translated, it reads as “… they f*ck the wives of Ely”. Melissa Mohr, the author of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, said:

F*ck [appeared] suddenly (as a swear word) at the end of the 15th century, mostly in Scotland. You see it a lot in Scotland because there was this genre of poetry called ‘flyting,’ where these poets would compete to insult each other. It appears in all these wonderful insulting poems: “Weakly f*cked up foundling that nature made a dwarf!”

Via: Discovery News

2 Comments on "The earliest reference to the F-word is probably dated from early 14th century"

  1. Richardson McPhillips | January 22, 2017 at 3:06 pm |

    Is it possible it was simply an ordinary word for “to copulate”, and not a “swear” as we use it today?

  2. Robbert van Oosten | November 20, 2016 at 8:35 pm |

    Why “Roger F*ckebythenavele” alltimes this selfcensorship. It’s so rediculous! Even in the 14th century they were not so hypocrite to use censor for a ‘bad-language word’.

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