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The F-Word: Second Edition Paperback – April 27, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. There's some great reading here among the hundreds of citations, from the colorful dialogue of Gore Vidal to the military's creative use of intensifiers to boost morale. Of special interest are the acronyms and abbreviations incorporating the Word; after reading the entry for "BUFF," you might think twice before complimenting your gym-going friends.

The care and attention each entry receives makes The F-Word a pleasure to use or browse, whether looking up an obscure phrase from an Iceberg Slim book or finding new insults for your next flame war. Ross MacDonald's illustrations are cute and funny (but not pornographic) and help to defuse some of the tension that might result from exposure to undiluted profanity. The F-Word throws much-needed light on one of the most-used English words; if you want to learn to swear correctly, RTFM--Read the [ahem] Manual. --Rob Lightner

Review

"It's fanf--kingtastic." --Time Out New York

" . . .a great service for the English language." --Seattle Weekly

"Hard to read without smiling." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Reference; 2 Sub edition (April 27, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375706348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375706349
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sir Charles Panther VINE VOICE on February 23, 2001
A big huzzah to the courage of Random House for publishing this crass, uncouth, vulgar, disgusting, arguably sexist, yet interesting and entertaining little book. More than anything it's a novelty, a fun thing to keep on your shelf, lend to a buddy, and from which to draw the perfect quote or phrase for your next dinner party with the Royal Family. This being said, one has to recognize the impressive research and work done by editor Scheidlower; it is comprehensive.
Prospective readers need to keep in mind that this is a dictionary, and as such is structured exactly like any other dictionary, with all of the standard formatting and notation. This makes reading this book slow and jerky, ultimately affecting overall enjoyment. Interesting and useful within the individual entries are chronological notations, providing historical information on the origins and evolution of your favorite f-----g phrases.
The foreword by Roy Blount, Jr. provides the book a touch of literati legitimacy, but is ultimately rambling and unfocused. Sure, it's interesting, but he's not saying anything we don't already know.
The book concludes with a far too brief "Guide To The F-Word In Some Other Languages." Inspired concept, extremely poor execution. No, we don't need hundreds of pages exploring f--k in other languages, but if you're going to provide this little goodie, go the extra mile and complete the work. Yeah, German, French, Spanish, Latin, even Esperanto, Hebrew, and Basque are listed, but where are Sicilian, Corsican, Boer, Swahili, etc.? I've just gotta know!
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Wow, these effin' publishers are really airing our taboos. I just finished reading Jim Dawson's history of farts ("Who Cut the Cheese?"), and now I'm reading Jesse Sheidlower's equally informative and fun dissertation on the word f-k (can I write it out here?), only this time it's being published by a big time effin' publisher. Good bathroom reading, and it's about time we owned up to our favorite words (and pastimes), and if the bluenoses don't like it, eff 'em!
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This book contains probably more than anyone could possibly want to know (but at least have at one point contemplated during drunken conversation with friends) about a word that..., still has the power to shock and/or offend.
The fact that this book does exist and has been so thoroughly researched before being released confirms what most people have suspected for quite some time; that words indeed are losing their force as a means of communication. This (drastically overworked) term, once found predominantly in hard-edged movies ("Scarface" being the most obvious example to come to mind) and hardcore rap/heavy metal music is now found in mainstream, widely acceptable films such as "High Fidelity" and cool '60's-style pop music acts such as the ridiculously brilliant Dandy Warhols. We have to face up to the fact that the shock value of the word is gone (although writing it out in an Amazon review will still result in its censorship).
That being as it may, I know there are still those who consider themselves to be guardians of the English language (a lot of them being English teachers) who still take offense at the proliferation of the word...
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The F-Word: Second Edition adds nice aesthetic touches and adds more uses of the infamous taboo word F***. An excellent book that I highly recommend to everyone whether or not you become easily offended.
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Verified Purchase
I bought this book after hearing about it from someone and I thought it was hysterical. Sorts of ridiculous, but a nice addition to a little library on my bookshelf!
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This book contains probably more than anyone could possibly want to know (but at least have at one point contemplated during drunken conversations with friends) about a word that, judging by some of the horrified reviews I've read before posting my own, still has the power to shock and/or offend.
The fact that this book does exist and has been so thoroughly researched before being released confirms what most people have suspected for quite some time; that words indeed are losing their force as a means of communication. This (drastically overworked) term, once found predominantly in hard-edged movies ("Scarface" being the most obvious example to come to mind) and hardcore rap/heavy metal music is now found in mainstream, widely acceptable films such as "High Fidelity" and cool '60's-style pop music acts such as the ridiculously brilliant Dandy Warhols. We have to face up to the fact that the shock value of the word is gone (although writing it out in an Amazon review will still result in its censorship).
That being as it may, I know there are still those who consider themselves to be guardians of the English language (a lot of them being English teachers) who still take offense at the proliferation of the word. I'd like to see these elbow-patched, corduroy-jacketed souls buying a copy of this book and assigning a student who was misfortunate enough to be heard uttering the expression the task of reading the book and submitting a 10-page report on it. F***, I'm tempted to do it just to see if I can get it published somewhere.
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