The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 November 2005

Always mind the bollocks

h2g2 (like Wikipedia, except that it has DON'T PANIC in large friendly letters on the start screen) has compiled some information on the Origins and Common Usages of British Swear-words, and a couple of them struck me at an odd angle. On the ever-popular F-word:

In 1999, Conservative Future — the youth wing of the Conservative Party — started using the logo 'CFUK'. Sadly, this got them into trouble with the clothing company French Connection UK, who had recently rebranded themselves 'fcuk'. It is strange to think that there may be an entire generation who, like Norman Mailer, cannot spell the word.

For the grammarians in the audience:

Curiously, the past participle of 'shit' was once 'shitten', as shown in Chaucer's General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales where he refers to the 'shitten shepherd and clene sheep'. Though we might expect this to have evolved into 'shitted', the more common form of the word in the past tense is in fact 'shat'.

Not to be confused with "Shat" or "The Shat", once known for his portrayal of Iowa-born explorer James T. Kirk.

(Suggested by this Tinkerty Tonk compilation; please don't blame Rachel.)

Posted at 9:16 AM to Say What?