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The F-Word Hardcover – September 4, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195393118 ISBN-10: 0195393112 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (September 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195393112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195393118
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.1 x 5.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Sheidlower's 'The F Word' has provided inordinate delight and distraction from my normal working day."--The New Yorker


"It wasn't so long ago that the dear old F-bomb was barely uttered outside of private conversation, let alone written into literature or film or television. Here to educate you on its illustrious lineage--not to mention its present and future--is The F Word, a handsome, concise and erudite history of the term."--Very Short List


"Funny, yet surprisingly informative... The F Word is an encyclopedia for all things, well, f***ed."--Entertainment Weekly


"God bless lexicographers, you know? The F-Word is no thin bathroom book, either, but a meticulously researched 320-page hardcover reference tome, robust enough to sit alongside the OED." --SF Weekly


"The F Word is a gem in its lexicographical expertise and its scholarly explication. There will be nothing better, at least until Jesse Sheidlower produces a fourth edition."--Jonathon Green, editor of Chambers Slang Dictionary


"A thoroughgoing exploration of the most celebrated verb/noun/adjective/adverb/interjection/infix in English, with ample citations of its use over the past five and a half centuries."--John McIntyre, You Don't Say blog


"Sheidlower's introduction undertakes a swift and no-nonsense debunking of some common myths about the word...This is vulgarity at its most erudite."--Inside Higher Ed


"The detailed lexicon of the word's many uses and compounds is fascinating."--Milwaukee Shepherd Express


"Investigat[es] every possible combination, situation, and divagation in which the most notorious expletive in English can be found. For a word that can't be printed in most newspapers, it's certainly leading a rich, full life." --Erin McKean, Boston Globe


"A must for anyone interested in the most notorious of English obscenities. This is not one of those pro forma 'revisions' that correct a few errors, toss in a few added items, and add a new preface; the text of the dictionary is twice as large as the second edition, over a hundred new words and senses have been added, and it now aims to cover the entire English-speaking world. This book makes me proud to be a part of a civilization that could produce such a thing." --Stephen Dodson, The Millions


About the Author


Jesse Sheidlower is Editor at Large of the Oxford English Dictionary. Recognized as one of the foremost authorities on obscenity in English, he has written about language for the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Slate, and Esquire, as well as American Speech and the Journal of English Linguistics.

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Customer Reviews

I did not finish the book.
Amazon Customer
The most vulgar, most obscene and most verboten slang word in the English language now has an entire book devoted just to it.
Mark C. Goniwiecha
Sheidlower manages to educate and entertain in a style all his own, making this book a joy to read.
Tara Marie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ettore Schmitz on September 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb idea, masterfully executed, and I can think of no other who could have brought to the task the panache and erudition that Jesse Sheidlower has. This new edition of The F-Word is considerably larger than the previous one (I believe it is about twice the size), so even if you already own this book you've no excuse for not buying it again.
Educational without a hint of boredom, and containing more linguistic imaginativeness than should be possible with such a little word - this is a book to give to all and sundry in your life.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tara Marie on January 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Jesse Sheidlower's Third Edition of The F-Word is a polished and brilliantly researched historical dictionary of a very important word. Sheidlower manages to educate and entertain in a style all his own, making this book a joy to read. The introduction is long, but well worth reading each word... in fact, I won a friendly debate with someone who insisted this word originated as an acronym! The entries and citations are astoundingly comprehensive; The F-Word is freakin' fabulous. I am writing this review from BFE, with gratitude to Jesse Sheidlower for including "BFE" in his book, along with so many other entries which I was unaware existed.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christian R. Unger on January 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This title is a dictionary and contains many uses of the titular word and stand-ins that can take its place. There were a few that I did not know but by and large there were no surprises, which in itself might count as one but still, I did expect to learn something.

The introduction definitely held some potential, but then was all too short. Certainly, it covered a fair bit of ground but could have done so much more. Actually trace usage across languages or influences from other languages are either missing or glossed over. Granted it makes excuses on these fronts but given I am fluent in German I know there is more that could be talked about. And similarly, there could have been more exploration of taboo words and across other cultures. This however is not that book, and really that was what it left me wondering about.

Rather, this contains some uses I suspect most English speakers will know, intuitively perhaps :) . Also, despite claims to greater awareness outside of American uses, it definitely lacked some uses we have in Australia, and although these were not so missed, it did draw this US focus into focus.

Overall, this book is a gimmick, possibly a primary reference for a very select audience, but not something one would refer to often, and thus defeating its primary purpose. Certainly not a complete waste so much as a missed opportunity, not just for the reader but also the editor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark C. Goniwiecha on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Scholarly exploration of "the most immodest word"

"'Tis needful that the most immodest word / Be looked upon and learned."--William Shakespeare in "Henry IV, Part II"

Remember when then-Vice President Dick Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to "Go f*** yourself" on the floor of the United States Senate? (on June 22, 2004). Leahy took it all in stride and joked about the incident in 2007: "When it comes to the vice president, it's always better to be sworn in than to be sworn at."

Now we have the acronym, "WTF" (shorthand for "What the f***?")--regularly seen on facebook and in twitter and text messages.

The most vulgar, most obscene and most verboten slang word in the English language now has an entire book devoted just to it. "The last taboo has fallen," trumpeted "U.S. News & World Report."

Numerous word-usage examples are provided and documented beginning as early as the 1500s and 1600s, with the original shocking connotation of an act of copulation.

More recent examples--historical, popular, literary and academic--come from "Time," "Newsweek" and Frank Zappa--"SNAFU" ("Time," 1942, "a laconic Army term for 'situation normal, all f***ed up'"), "FUBAR" ("Newsweek," 1944, "fouled up beyond all recognition"), "Eff" (Ernest Hemingway, 1945, "Just tell them to Eff off."), and "Mr. Bufu" (for butt-f***er), from Frank Zappa's 1982 hit song "Valley Girl."

Contains an elaborate foreword by Roy Blount, Jr.--plus the excellent introduction by Sheidlower sheds light on our contemporary slang state of mind, the early etymological provenance of the "f word," a chronological exploration of the "f word's" appearances in dictionaries, and an exploration of euphemisms for and phrases containing the "f word.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Ivsin on March 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I admit, I am one of "those people" who has been known to thumb casually through a dictionary, "just for fun". A good dictionary is essentially a fascinating collision of menu and short-story collection, and not just a simple reference.

"The F Word" is an intense version of that experience: many entries are quite rich in history, and it is easy to treat this dictionary as if it were, in fact, an impressively focused work of postmodern fiction.

But it is, in fact, a dictionary. And one that appears to be the product of a significant amount of research. It has occupied a prominent position on my shelf for a couple years now, and I find myself still coming back to it over and over again.

Also: it makes for a fantastic presented for any profane word nerds in your life.
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