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SHARP LANGUAGE: A Literary Definition Of F**K

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SHARP LANGUAGE: A Literary Definition Of F**K

SHARP LANGUAGE: A Literary Definition Of F**K

This week's Times Literary Supplement reviews a number of new dictionaries in some detail. Included in the discussion is a particularly sharp passage discussing the word 'fuck', as follows:

"All seem uneasy about fuck, although that taboo is much eroded, as the lexicographer Jonathon Green observes. Collins has no entry for fucking or other variants, and none has the common United States variant don't fuck with me or don't fuck me about. All agree that fuck works as an intensifier, without adding much to the meaning. But perhaps that underestimates how eloquently it can be used. This protean anti-word, the marvel and despair of grammarians, can serve as almost any part of speech, in almost any position, including the infix. It is so popular that it sells clothes by metathesis (French Connection UK) and even beer by bowdlerizing pun (Castlemaine XXXX). It can be an intensifier. But, when a raw recruit brings faulty equipment to his sergeant, who fails to make it work, saying: 'I'll tell you what's wrong with the fucking thing: the fucking fucker's fucking fucked', who will dare to call this answer meaningless? Again, what is intensified in 'she's a good fuck'; or 'fuck it'? Finally, there is 'fuck off', which Kingsley and Martin Amis 'often had occasion to agree...was very funny. One naturally admired its brutality and brevity - but it was also terribly good.' Bollocks (noun, singular: 'utter nonsense')."

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