Earliest-Known F-Word Found in Medieval Court Case
History researcher spots F-word dating back to 1310
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2015 2:10 PM CDT
A medieval miniature is shown in detail.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – What's in a name? Just a crass term that's endured for centuries, if this holds any water. An English history researcher says he's spotted the earliest-known "f-word" on record in court documents from 1310, the Telegraph reports. Paul Booth came upon a reference to "Roger F***ebythenavele"—likely the guy's nickname, Booth says—while analyzing court records during the stormy rule of Edward II (1307-27). The name is "written clearly, and three times, and I think that shows it's not a joke," says Booth. Looks like F***ebythenavele was summoned twice to court in Cheshire, in December of 1310 and May of 1311, and finally outlawed on September 28, 1311. A court clerk might have altered the guy's name for fun, Booth admits, but short of that he sees two explanations.

"First, that it applies to an actual event—a clumsy attempt at sexual intercourse by an 'Inexperienced Copulator' (my name for Roger), revealed to the world by a revengeful former girlfriend," he tells Vice.com. "Fourteenth-century revenge porn perhaps?" Or it might be an "elaborate way of describing someone regarded as a 'halfwit'—ie, that is the way that he would think of performing the sexual act." Before this, the earliest f-word on record was the phrase (translated from a Latin/English mix) "…they f**k the wives of Ely" from the poem "Flen flyys," circa 1475, Medievalists.net reports. The word has Germanic roots and is related to words that have "sexual meanings as well as meaning[s] such as 'to strike' or 'to move back and forth,'" writes Jesse Sheidlower in his book The F Word.
 

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