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 Anachronisms 
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Post Re:
Badger wrote:
I have noticed that Patrick O'Brian, normally rather careful about anachronisms, does use the F word occasionally. (One instance when a young boy obstructs officers on their way through the gun deck, he is pulled out of the way by an older seaman, and told to watch his F'ing manners...)

Jim, while in the library the other day, I noticed that the OED has the "F" word first appearing in 1680 and with an "er" ending going back to 1598. Is it possible that POB noticed it in period sources and did not consider it an anachronism?

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Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:31 am
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Post Re: Anachronisms
Yes, I think that is very likely.

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Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:39 am
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Post Re: Anachronisms
Can't believe I took time to look this up... but there is a rather long article on Etymology Online , my favourite reference for period dialogue. It wouldn't link in my post, but you can search the word from the main page. Apparently POB was quite correct.

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Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:15 pm
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Post Re: Anachronisms
Alison wrote:
Can't believe I took time to look this up... but there is a rather long article on Etymology Online , my favourite reference for period dialogue. It wouldn't link in my post, but you can search the word from the main page. Apparently POB was quite correct.


I can't connect to this Online Etymology Dictionary. The link seems to be broken. However, there is an extensive list of online etymologies at the DMOZ Open Directory Project.

Martin


Thu May 17, 2012 2:33 pm
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Post Re:
Dan Hall wrote:
Susan,

You're absolutely right about this use of the F-word being an anachronism in 1774. That usage didn't come in until the late C19th. As you say, in the C18th-mid C19th, cursing was of the blasphemous rather than the pornographic variety. ...

An exception seems to be the use of the word "bugger". It appears to have been in common use as an unfriendly or threatening expression. I remember that Dudley Pope, in his book on the Hermione mutiny ("The Black Ship", published 1963) has repeated references to the mutineers using phrases such as "You bugger, aren't you dead yet?" and "Here is one of the buggers coming up". Pope seems to be quoting verbatim from later court depositions.

Incidentally, I think that Dudley Pope is rather undervalued as a writer on maritime history. I am currently reading his big book: "The Great Gamble: Nelson at Copenhagen" (1972 - I have the Chatham edition of 2001). I am very impressed by the huge amount of carefully researched detail from various archives, collected papers, private sources and journals in a variety of libraries and national archives. He also writes very well.

Martin


Thu May 17, 2012 2:57 pm
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Post Re: Anachronisms
Martin Evans wrote:
I can't connect to this Online Etymology Dictionary. The link seems to be broken.


Hmm. Works ok for me. The address is http://www.etymonline.com/index.php .

There isn't much there on "bugger". I found, ""sodomite," 1550s, earlier "heretic" (mid-14c.), from M.L. Bulgarus "a Bulgarian" (see Bulgaria), so called from Catholic bigoted notions of the sex lives of Eastern Orthodox Christians or of the sect of heretics that was prominent there 11c."
And related, "sod" as a term of abuse is listed as 1818.
Words are in popular use for a while before they get into dictionaries... every once in a while you see a news blurb about how the latest edition of some dictionary includes these new words which we've been hearing for a while. I wonder how much longer it took, in an era without our wide access to information & global communication, for words to make it into dictionaries.

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Thu May 24, 2012 9:04 pm
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