The 7 Most Hilarious (and Wrong) Origins of Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo

You know “F&%$”. You love “F&%$”. So do we.

“F&%$” is a magic word. It creates F&%$ing jokes where there aren’t any F&%$ing jokes.

But the one thing we don’t know about “F&%$” is just where the F&%$ it actually came from. But that hasn’t stopped people from pretending they know. Here are seven theories about the history of “F&%$” that are actually a F&%$ing joke:


7. It Comes From a Road Sign

The Theory:

During the Black Plague, some king (it depends on who you ask) decided life just wasn’t quite miserable enough, so he said people couldn’t have children without his permission due to a lack of food, fresh water, things babies generally need. Kings back then were less concerned with how many people they had as long as they got the tax revenue.

So, to prove the king had said “Sure, do it ‘til it gets sore!”, couples had to put a sign in their yard with the abbreviation “Fornication Under Consent of the King”. Because passers-by really needed to know just what they were doing in the privacy of their own hovel. To save resources, supposedly they just abbreviated it.

Why It’s Retarded:

Well, first off, if somebody actually made any of these signs, you’d think there’d be some proof they ever existed. Which there isn’t.

There’s also never been any evidence that royalty in any European country banned people from doing the nasty, probably because they knew that was impossible. They had bigger problems, namely desperately trying to contain the worst plague humankind has ever seen. So, yeah, anybody asking the king to screw probably got a weird look and the go-ahead anyway.

A fun variant on this one is that “Fornication Under Consent of the King” was emblazoned on medallions for prostitutes to wear so people would know they were licensed. We’re amazed this hasn’t been turned into a pimp medallion yet.


6. It Comes from The Irish

The Theory:

We could make cheap jokes about “Catholic schoolgirls” or “Protestant whores” here, but we’ll hold those for our next St. Patrick’s Day article and just tell you that some people insisted that when adulterers were caught, they were flung in the stocks, and written above it was “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge In the Nude”. Yep, F&%$in’ got you the acronym F&%$IN written over your head.

Why It’s Retarded:

Admittedly, this one can make sense if you know your history. The entire reason being locked up in the stocks was such a punishment was the public humiliation and people throwing crap at you, and if you were sentenced to be in them overnight, well, that was a night of rape.

After all, you were there overnight, you couldn’t see behind you because your neck was restricted, you couldn’t fight back because your hands and feet were locked, and nobody would believe you anyway because you were a filthy criminal and you had some forcible anal coming anyway. Yes, our ancestors really were kinda jerks.

And, it’s true Irish adulterers probably got the stocks, and probably the rape to go along with it. But there’s no evidence anything was written on those stocks, or there was a law that something had to be, probably because Irish towns were so small that everybody already knew anyway. The moral of the story is that the Welsh got it right; sheep don’t talk.


5. It Was Invented By Archers

The Theory:

This one’s a two-fer: back in the days when archers were actually useful in war, namely the Hundred Years’ War, the French used to capture English archers and cut off their middle fingers. So to taunt the French with something other than their very existence, the archers used to show them their middle fingers and chant “We can still pluck yew!”, yew being the wood their bows were made of.

Eventually, this was corrupted into just “pluck yew” and then corrupted further still into everybody’s favorite insult.

Why It’s Retarded:

While we’d love nothing better than the history of F&%$ to begin with taunting a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys, there’s no historical evidence this was the beginning of either everybody’s favorite word or everybody’s favorite gesture.

Flipping somebody off has been around since at least the Romans, who called it the “impudent finger”.

So, while we’ve got no doubt that the English flipped off the French (really, why wouldn’t they?) and told them to go F&%$ themselves, both had been around for a long time before the English put them to good use.


4. It Comes From A Poem

The Theory:

One of the earliest recorded instances of “F&%$” comes in a poem written in the fourteenth century making fun of monks, “Fleas, Flies and Friars”, proving profanity and religion just naturally go together. Ask your reverend to salt in a few “F&%$s” during the Scripture reading, you’ll see what we mean.

Why It’s Retarded:

First of all, this poem isn’t famous for being anything other than the false climax of some word nerd’s desperate hunt for the root of everybody’s favorite word, only to be beaten out by some other word nerd later on. Secondly, it’s written in code, because it was blasting the clergy and back in the fourteenth century, the clergy were a lot more badass than they are now.

Thirdly, about the only people who could read were, er, the clergy and a few educated nobles. And finally, it wasn’t even written as “F&%$”. Its awesome and we wish we knew that during our high school Latin classes. “Salve puella! Puella fucci!” But none of this adds up to it being invented by a P.O.’ed monk. Just used by him. Like an altar boy!


3. It Comes From Some Poor Bastard’s Name

The Theory:

Supposedly, somewhere around the twelfth century, a guy named “John Le F&%$er” somehow turned up. No. Seriously. The guy’s name was “John Le F&%$er”. That’s up there with Max Fightmaster for manliest damn name ever.

Why It’s Retarded:

Or it would be, anyway, if we had any proof John Le F&%$er ever actually existed. Which we don’t; the guy who claims to have seen the name has never offered up any sort of citation.

Odds are pretty good it was just a “variant” (i.e. misspelling) of “fulcher”, which means “soldier”.

Besides, surnames don’t just magically appear. They tend to reflect some aspect about the person that made your ancestor distinct way back in the day.

That’s why Smith is such a ridiculously common name; there were lots of people hammering out horseshoes and swords and whatever else a smith makes back in the day. So, John Le F&%$er would have to have come from a long line of F&%$ers. Hell of a name to live up to, maybe he’s happy he doesn’t exist.


2. It Comes From The Greatest Town Name Ever

The Theory:

A seventh century document, translated from the Saxon, makes reference to a town called, and we swear we are not making this up, “Fuccerham”.

Roughly translated, “hamlet of the F&%$ers”. Theories about how the town got this name range from an awesome stud horse being there to the people living there being buttheads even by Viking standards.

Why It’s Retarded:

Just like surnames, town names don’t just drop from the F&%$ing sky. They generally denote something special about the town. For example, a lot of towns in England ending in “-caster” or “- chester ?”

That’s because they used to be Roman military garrisons. So for “Fuccerham” to be named that, it meant F&%$ers were already around and in abundance well before the town was named. We can think of a few “Fuccerhams” right off the top of our heads.


1. It Comes From Some Ancient Word We Don’t Know

The Theory:

Well, we’ve had fun with historical sources, urban legends, and all that other crap. What do the word nerds have to say? That it’s probably tied to the Indo-European root “peuk”, meaning “to prick” (Hey, we just figured out another etymology!) Looks like we’ve got an origin!

Why It’s Not Retarded So Much as Controversial:

Etymologists can’t quite bring themselves to pull the trigger on this one. There are just too many questions, like how come none of the other words it’d be related to, like “expunge”, “punctuate” or “pugilist” have any sexual meaning unless you’re a sick F&%$.

There are other candidates, like the Old High German word “pfluog”, meaning “to plow”, but that theory rests on a book written a couple of thousand years after the fact by some psychiatrist and a vase, which strikes us as a foundation of B.S., especially since we read that in Wikipedia and there’s not any sources tagged to that explanation. Somehow, we don’t think the history of an awesome word boils down to some F&%$ing crockery and we’re not willing to wing it based on Wikipedia’s say-so.

It also doesn’t sound or work much with the Indo-European word we’ve got for F&%$ing, either, so that’s a problem as well. In short, ask an etymologist about the history of F&%$, and he’ll tell you it’ll come from the Germans. Maybe. Kinda. They think. That’s what you get when you study the soft sciences!

Oh, and before you ask: The word “F&%$” was used in this article exactly twenty-nine times. We’re very proud.

Leave a Comment

  1. Phil says:

    In number 5, it was the middle finger and the first finger they cut off, not just the middle (if you've ever used a bow you use 2 fingers, one either side of the arrow) Which is why the two-fingered-salute is an insult in the UK and Australia but not anywhere else in the world, whereas just the middle finger is an insult everywhere!

  2. Blukuman says:

    It comes from the period of time in the middle ages when people had to ask for permission to fornicate. They had to put a sign on the door of the house when they had the permission, it said "fornication under consentiment of the King"

  3. Lalli says:

    My dad used to tell me this story about the history of “F&%$”:

    When men went to prison, they were occasionally allowed to have lady visitors to do the dirty with. The rooms they were locked in while they did those deeds had a sign on the door that said “For Use of Carnal Knowledge.”

    In his eyes, of course it made sense that it came from those darn dirty criminals.

    Silly silly.

  4. Bob says:

    The idea of longbowmen having their fingers cut off is retarded. There is clear proof that longbowmen, being the artillery of the day, were almost never captured. On those rare occasions that they were, then, as serfs, they were usually simply executed, having no value in terms of ransom or prisoner exchange. The idea of chopping off their fingers is one that came around much, much later. Besides which, F.u.C.k has been around much longer than the developement of the English longbow.

  5. Steve says:

    I'm glad someone is finally expelling the myth that it stands for "Fornication Under Consent of the King". Every time I see that given as the origin I cringe. Not only is it so unlikely that any king would be stupid enough to think they could limit when people bumped uglies, but a sign would be utterly pointless in a time when VIRTUALLY NO ONE COULD READ!