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The F-Word
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The F-Word

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  266 ratings  ·  37 reviews
There's something special about a lexicon in which more than half the entries begin with the same letter. The F-Word earned its title the hard way: editor Jesse Sheidlower and the staff of Random House combed vast numbers of books, magazines, films, and other works for references to the most beloved, least printable word in the English language and all its variations. Ther ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published September 20th 1999 by Faber & Faber (first published October 3rd 1995)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 24, 2009 Eastofoz rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dictionary lovers
An excellent dictionary of the F-word. It includes a brief history and then in dictionary form it shows the myriad of expressions that are an off-shoot of it. It also indicates the origin of the expression, an example in a sentence as well as the year it became popular (when known).

A dictionary AND potential party pleaser, what more could you want ;)


This is a very enjoyable book. Thank you C, for corrupting this good Catholic boy.:)
If you love words, history, how our outlook changes over time, or just like the word fuck and it's many variants, this is a book for you.

I remember having a close friend over for dinner. He is a Monsignor and now works at the Vatican. I said that sometimes the f-bomb is a cathartic release, to which he agreed. There is no other word with the power of release
Jonathan Burt
What intrigued me about The F-word was that it was written by Jesse Sheilder, former Principal North American Editor of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary). Obviously, he is familiar with a lot of interesting words, so if he felt a need to write a book about this one, I am not one to second guess.

One downfall of reading via an e-reader is not being able to easily flip through a book before setting out. Thus, I did not know that The F-word is primarily a dictionary of F-terms.

The first 40pp or s
Julie theriault
it was interesting
Joyce Dunklee
I didn't truly read it. I read the foreward which went through all the information I wanted to know: etymology, etc. After that, the entire book is a dictionary of uses of the word.....who cares?
Dec 27, 2007 Lewis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: literate potty-mouths, copyeditors for adult publications
Shelves: reference
Best. Reference book. Ever. Great historical and literary citations. You'll learn some new and useful expressions and settle once and for all that argument over whether fist f*** is one word, two words, or hyphenated.
Still think this is one of the greatest F***ing dictionaries! Looked up an expression and just kept flipping pages and next thing I knew two hours had disappeared. What more can you ask from a book?
In this book, the reader learns a bit about the history of the F-word (yes that f-word); where it came from, when it first appeared in the English language, and some of the more interesting times it has been involved in historical events. The rest of the book is a dictionary of various forms and sayings that include the F-word.

I knew the book was mostly a dictionary from the beginning. What I did not know is how boring that dictionary would be. I was expecting a bit more of an explanation beyond
Phillip Edwards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As a former undergraduate linguistics instructor (and someone who once used the expression "absofuckinglotutely" to illustrate the morphology in infixes), I found this very interesting, but truthfully, I wasn't aware when I started reading it that it was a dictionary. I was expecting interesting anecdotes about the various uses of the word throughout history and possibly some information about changing standards over time of what and what does not consititute vulgarity. Instead, after a short in ...more
Juliet Jeske
A mini-dictionary about the most scandalous word in American English. I don't know if goodreads even allows the use of the word in a review so I will simply refer to it as f*ck. This edition also includes words derived from f*ck used in other English speaking countries, such as Australia, The United Kingdom and Canada.

It is not a joke book, it won't cause you to fall over in fits of laughter, but if you honestly need a reference book for all things f*ck this is it. Extremely well researched and
Bob Hartley
It's okay. I like swearing as much as the next degenerate intellectual but I think this is a bit disappointing. The titles of the entries are in Comic Sans. The illustrations don't really illustrate much; they're few and far between and are a bit shit. The illustration for clusterfuck is a bunch of bananas smoking, and the one for mindfuck is a fella with a screw going in one ear and out the other. I also think there are plenty of words missing, e.g. fucktonne, flikker, goose, while some of the ...more
I love the introduction, it's all about the history of the F word and how it's use has changed and continues to become less and less taboo. Linguists, etymologists and f-bomb-lovers alike can enjoy this book. The bulk of it is a catalog of any and all f-word variations, and each entry includes references. Some of them go back pretty far. It's interesting. My least favorite thing about this book is the foreward by Lewis Black, because he improperly infixes in "unbe-f*cking-lievable", breaking up ...more
Ryan Trimble
You don't really "read" this book—it's a dictionary. But it's abso-fucking-lutely—to use an entry from the book itself—hilarious and spot-on.
Interesting, both as a linguistic study and a repository of stories and anecdotes concerning the use of the forbidden f-word.
This was fun for like 2 minutes. A complete waste of time.
Cassie Shannahan
This ended up being more of a dictionary than a thing to read, but it was interesting.
This book is basically a dictionary of all manner of use of that one word, some of which I can truly say I had never heard before! There is a great chapter on the historiography/etymology of the word and where it has been used, and the possible origins (still unknown) in late medieval England. The author is Editor-at-Large for the Oxford English Dictionary--meaning he's no slouch--and this is an updated edition of a previous volume. If you love words (and the cathartic use of this one!), I highl ...more
Well, I read this book on a dare from a friend. For someone who never swears, this was a very entertaining book.....I can see how it would be a great read for a certain "crowd" who want to get all philosophical about rebellionisms and such. I actually did enjoy the book.... I like to know "stuff" and I do everything I can to gather more information into my encyclopedic reading this...I have enough for the Letter F.
A dictionary-style compendium of every thinkable use of one of the most versatile and expressive words in the English language. Seriously! Though eventually I ended up skimming some of the entries (the author uses exhaustive numbers of examples of every variation of, for example, motherf***er) the book gave me a great appreciation for this word and its illustrious history and appreciate it as more than a simple vulgarity.
Nov 28, 2008 Aldean rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: unshockable word-lovers
I laughed when I first saw this book in the book shop, but upon perusal I was surprised and impressed to see that, while certainly amusing, it is also a serious work of thorough scholarship. Both entertaining and enlightening, this volume will never be without a place on my reference shelf (although perhaps I will have to find an out-of-the-way spot for it once the children become literate...)
As an avid user of the "F word", I knew I had to read this book. Though it's a reference book, I found both the foreword and the introductions quite entertaining and informative. The only meaningful thing I got from this book however, besides a interesting but brief history of the word, were a few new insults to call my friends while drinking beer and playing blackjack. For that, Two Stars!
In the late 1990s I began getting into dictionaries. As I investigated them, read them, and studied them, I came across this book. When I answer Lipton's 10 Questions, the F Word is what I respond is my favorite curse word. This book, mine was the first edition edited by Jesse Sheidlower, is a wonderful reference of the word.
Julia Shumulinsky
Most of the book is a dictionary, however the intro includes a lot of good information on the origin, growth, and status of the word. Once you get through that (before page 1), the book has pretty much fulfilled its usefulness as anything other than a reference guide.
Amazingly interesting, entertaining and in depth in its analysis of the F-word, wheter you want its origin or new expressions to pepper up your repertoire of colourful language. This effing book is the right one for you!
I had no idea there were so many acronyms that utilize this word. This will definitely spice up the entertainment value for text messaging.
The absolutely only downfall is that I didn't realize this was primarily a dictionary. But a book all about the f-word? It's just too awesome. :)
John Brooke
Dec 31, 2012 John Brooke rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All contemporary writers
Recommended to John by: An admirer.
Shelves: inspirational
This little, rich book has been a "F"ing usueful reference and inspiration in writing my fiction and reportage..
A forget-me-not from Tammy. The epigraph reads, "If I'm going to corupt you, I may as well go all the way."
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“Now I must leave you as you enter the world that is Fuck. You are fucking lucky to be here. It's almost utopian.” 19 likes
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