Why ‘F*ck’ Is the Word of the Year

Meghan Daum in Words That Matter:

Ah, fuck! What an indispensable, multitasker of a word it has become! No longer relegated to that marginalized category once known as profanity, fuck now wears many syntactical hats and is a staple of Trump-era vocabulary. In addition to being a fun way to embed a little malediction into words that otherwise might be chalked up as run-of-the-mill resistance jargon (“inter-fucking-sectional,” “patri-fucking-archy”), fuck is enjoying a long tenure as a synonym for shit. Not giving a shit (which sounds downright 1980s) has now evolved into “not giving a fuck.” By extension, you can now describe something as “[adjective] as fuck” (abbreviated for tweeting purposes to “AF”) You can be tired as fuck, sick as fuck, angry as fuck, and so on. I guess if you find yourself in an especially tragic situation (for instance, banned from Twitter), you can be fucked as fuck.

Can you imagine if Rhett Butler had said to Scarlet O’Hara, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a fuck”? Instead of embodying the essence of male privilege, he’d come across as someone with a top-rated podcast. Or a person with a lot of Instagram followers — a fuck-ton of followers, even.

There’s a linguistic satisfaction to saying fuck. The word has nice consonants. The feeling of curling your lower lip around your lower teeth to make the “f” sound is a reliably good one. There’s a deeper visceral satisfaction, too.

More here.