Pluck Yew!

Tim McDaniel tmcd at
Sun Jan 12 15:58:38 PST 1997

On Sun, 12 Jan 1997, Matthew R. Popalisky <mpopali at> wrote:
> > Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say ... the difficult
> > consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a
> > labiodental fricative 'f'
> Is this true?

The jingling you're hearing is the bells on your leg as it's being

The bit I snipped above is something I *can* address: it is
emphatically *not* true.  The word "fuck" has various theories as to
its derivation, but the two I've seen are

1. in Mirriam-Webster's New Collegiate, "perh. of Scand origin; akin
to Norw dial. fukka to copulate, Sw dial focka to copulate, strike,
push, fock penis; perh. akin to L pugnus fist, pungere to prick,
sting, Gk pygm<e-> fist"

2. I don't recall the details, but derived from a Germanic or Dutch
word meaning "to strike".  Since Scandinavian languages are Germanic
in origin, the two derivations merge not too far back.

(BTW: if anyone tries to pawn off on you that hoary old myth about
"police blotters saying 'Fornication Under Consent of the King'", you
can tell them to shove off.  *New* words *coined* as acronyms didn't
exist in English until the 20th Century.  Police weren't in Britain
until the 19th Century.)

For more details about this and other urban legends, see the Urban
Legends home page, <a href="">.

Daniel "hoping nobody is offended by a simple discussion of etymology"
de Lincoln
                             Tim McDaniel
                        Reply-To: tmcd at
      tmcd at is wrong tool.  Never use this.

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