Old as fuck.
September 11, 2015 7:39 PM   Subscribe

The oldest use of the f-word has been discovered, dating the word some 165 years earlier that had ever been seen. It appeared in the name "Roger Fuckebythenavele" in court plea rolls from December 8, 1310. Fuckebythenavele was being outlawed.

From the article:
Dr Booth believes that “this surname is presumably a nickname. I suggest it could either mean an actual attempt at copulation by an inexperienced youth, later reported by a rejected girlfriend, or an equivalent of the word ‘dimwit’ i.e. a man who might think that that was the correct way to go about it.”
posted by gusandrews (33 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
Who will plunk down their $5 first, I wonder.
posted by gwint at 7:44 PM on September 11, 2015 [27 favorites]


same as in town.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:52 PM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are you swiving kidding me?
posted by dannyboybell at 8:00 PM on September 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Well, fuck me.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:06 PM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Somehow fitting that the oldest known usage of "fuck" is used to describe someone who is clearly a fuckboy.
posted by sparkletone at 8:19 PM on September 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Now how on earth did that last name ever die out?

... oh.
posted by Soliloquy at 8:40 PM on September 11, 2015 [23 favorites]


Then there's his cousin Fucke Rogerebythenavele...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:42 PM on September 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


You fuck one belly button...
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:24 PM on September 11, 2015 [48 favorites]


I just started watching Deadwood and had exactly this question.
posted by rhizome at 9:28 PM on September 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


s/The oldest/An older, certainly, but still: navelfucker. What an insulting (and sterling!) lexeme.
posted by Earthtopus at 10:17 PM on September 11, 2015


the name John le Fucker appears in 1278, but this likely could be just a different spelling for the word ‘fulcher’ which means soldier
Prince John: Such an unusual name, "Latrine". How did your family come by it?
Latrine: We changed it in the 9th Century.
Prince John: You changed it to Latrine?
Latrine: Yeah! It used to be Shithouse.
posted by XMLicious at 10:41 PM on September 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


Why do you ask, Roger Fuckebythenavele?
posted by The Tensor at 11:14 PM on September 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Gomer, that's not my belly button!
Surprise, surprise, surprise! That's not my finger!
posted by TedW at 12:00 AM on September 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I teach a class on dirty surnames (yes, really) and this one so has to go into my list. Those medieval English people were not the most delicate of speech, let's just put it that way.
posted by litlnemo at 1:55 AM on September 12, 2015 [29 favorites]


You all have no idea how much this delights me, seriously. I wake up randomly at 3 am and this is what I get when I browse MeTa? Most excellent.
posted by sprezzy at 3:36 AM on September 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


WHO SAYS THE MEDIEVAL TIMES WERE NO FUN
posted by sprezzy at 3:46 AM on September 12, 2015


XMlicious, thanks for quoting one of the greatest lines in film, Latrine the Witch explains her name from "Robin Hood, Men In Tights".
posted by mermayd at 4:17 AM on September 12, 2015


so, i know courts were different back then, but this guy was being sued, so was he earnestly litigating his right to be Mr. Navelfucker?
posted by angrycat at 4:31 AM on September 12, 2015


I teach a class on dirty surnames (yes, really)

Internet law dictates that you are not allowed to post this and stop there.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:31 AM on September 12, 2015 [32 favorites]


"Roger" may have been a fake name too....given that it also means fuck.
posted by brujita at 5:01 AM on September 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fuckin' A!
posted by jonmc at 5:59 AM on September 12, 2015


I teach a class on dirty surnames (yes, really)

On-purpose dirty surnames (like Mr Fuckebythenavele), or accidental dirty surnames, as can happen to immigrants?

Fuckin' A!

Fuckin' N, in this case.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:02 AM on September 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


“Fuck” once also meant “to strike” (a usage which remains in the colloquial sense of “to fuck up” and such); to the point where “windfucker” (or “fuckwind” in some regional usages) is an archaic term for the kestrel.
posted by acb at 6:09 AM on September 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


so, i know courts were different back then, but this guy was being sued, so was he earnestly litigating his right to be Mr. Navelfucker?

They way I'm reading the article, the guy was a criminal who was being declared outlaw - i.e. not protected by the law in any way. So, if you wanted, you could just kill him on the street and that would be fine and dandy in the eyes of the law.
posted by YAMWAK at 7:46 AM on September 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Fuck" is le mot juste in so many situations. What word were people using before 1310?
posted by anothermug at 8:19 AM on September 12, 2015


it could either mean an actual attempt at copulation by an inexperienced youth, later reported by a rejected girlfriend

100 silver groats says that girlfriend did the rejecting.
posted by taz at 8:26 AM on September 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


the rejecting, yes.
posted by Namlit at 10:44 AM on September 12, 2015


Is he the distant ancestor of Johnny "I'm going as fast as I can, Ma!" Fuckerfaster?
posted by the sobsister at 11:01 AM on September 12, 2015


Hm. Relation of Mr Stiffsticker? (4:16)
posted by Namlit at 11:21 AM on September 12, 2015


litlnemo, I would like to audit your course.
posted by nicepersonality at 11:59 AM on September 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


> to the point where “windfucker” (or “fuckwind” in some regional usages) is an archaic term for the kestrel.

This is the best thing I've learned in forever.
posted by rtha at 1:02 PM on September 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Being outlawed is some serious shit. You have to just suddenly skip out into the wilderness because people can hunt you, and anyone helping you is charged with abetting. Even if you eluded capture, you still had a great chance of dying. This could happen to you for "treason, rebellion, conspiracy" and "debt". I want to believe Mr. Fuckebythenavele was some previously unknown badass usurper lord, but I have to admit I have my doubts. Just amazing you could get that for debt. Jesus.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:43 PM on September 12, 2015


Perhaps I should set up an online version of the dirty names class. It could be done...

Dip Flash, yes, on-purpose dirty names from the Middle Ages. And there were quite a few. Consider this -- surnames weren't fully set in stone yet. You could very easily become known by an unusual personal characteristic, or an embarrassing situation that no one would ever let you live down.

Also, those medieval manor court records are really fascinating. I used some of them in the research for my MA thesis/book.
posted by litlnemo at 1:58 AM on September 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


« Older Stereotype threat   |   The battle between academia and business for... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments