Thursday, February 12, 2009

No Fricative Way!

David Wiseley from Waters, Michigan, wrote:

I was in one of the big box home improvement stores and saw a new tool made by Stanley. It is a newfangled type of wrecking bar. Someone in their public relations or marketing department must have been asleep at the switch when they named it. They call it the Fubar. As you probably know, FUBAR comes from the military and is an acronym for "Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition" But of course no self respecting military guy would have used the word "fouled." I think you get the idea. The same is true with the word SNAFU, another militarism short for "Situation Normal, All Fouled Up."

Later last week, Mark Maynard contributed another military term that used the F-word. It’s DILLIGAF, an acronym for “Does It Look Like I Give A Fig?” Once again, “fig” is a polite substitution.

Mr. Wisely suggested that I might want to expand on such military acronyms in a future program, but the producer will allow no such thing. Since we’re all adults here, I’ll devote this column to some of them. My source is Jesse Sheidlower’s groundbreaking book, The F Word, 2nd Edition.

• ASAFP: As Soon As F***ing possible
• BFD: Big F***ing Deal
• FIGMO: F*** It, Got My Orders
• FNG: F***ing New Guy
• FTA: F*** The Army
• FUBB: F***ed Up Beyond Belief
• FYFI: For Your F***ing Information
• GFO: General F***-Off; also GFU, General F***-Up
• JANFU: Joint Army/Navy F***-Up
• NFG: No F***ing Good
• NFW: No F***ing Way
• TARFU: Things Are Really F***ed Up

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wash my mouth out with soap.

SIDEBAR: Does swearing corrode society?

SIDEBAR: The psychology of swearing

Now available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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