Player 1 asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 2 years ago

Historically, Is the F word attested to have been used a lot during the Golden age of piracy?

I knew it was a word back then. But in a tv show about pirates, they use it all the time. Was it used that much in real life too?

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    The F word comes from ancient Germanic/Nordic languages.

  • 2 years ago

    It's very hard to track the popularity of any 'unprintable' words, because, well, they weren't printable: people tended to avoid printing or even writing them if they possibly could. So even if a pirate spewed out a string of Fs, anyone taking down what he said would be likely to edit them out. Often the only place you can find really rude words printed is in records of criminal trials: if for example someone accused of murder says in his defence "He called me a f*****g c*****, so I saw red and hit him with a brick", that has to be written into the record.

    So, while the F word, which dates from the 15th century in English, certainly already existed during the "Golden Age" of piracy (which n.b. was actually extremely nasty), and may quite possibly have been commonly used in the way we use it today, it's simply not possible to say whether it was. So novelists and scriptwriters creating dialogue for low-life characters just have to make an educated guess.

  • 2 years ago

    Probably. The modern usage and flexibility of the F word was established by the mid to late 19th century, and has been fairly stable since.

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    I don't know if pirates used that particular word all the time, but I don't doubt they used it. I am reading "How to Behave Badly in the Renaissance" by Ruth Goodman. She chose the time between 1560 and 1660 for this book, so the early seadogs like Drake and Hawkins would have used the offensive speech she describes, like "a turd in your teeth" or "whoreson dog" or "polled knave" [polled meaning castrated, and very insulting because it meant you were not a man at all], and "Kiss my ****" didn't mean to "kiss the buttocks" but the hole in between them. The F word relates to sexual intercourse, and pirates were big on sex.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.