This week’s prompt: “four-letter word.”
One of life’s joys is the appropriately placed four-letter word. So easily do we squirm when such things are uttered or for that matter implied in conversation or in forums such as SOC.
The thing about the words we all cringe from but at various times find our tongues getting us in to trouble is that they are all harsh sounding words.
You spit them out from between your teeth and no matter how hard you try it’s hard to say them with any softness. After all to say to someone in anger ‘go get soft’ doesn’t quite make it in terms of intention.
I once attend a lecture on the obscene words in our language. It was advertised a week ahead and was one of the most well attended lectures at the place of higher learning I was attending.
I own a DVD, which goes into the origins and uses of the famous ‘fuck’ word. It’s been around a long time and has so many meanings and I’m sure many yet to be evolved. Said in anger it can be terrifying, threatening, affronting and down right wrong.
I was always intrigued that in Shakespeare’s time such words were edited out of his scripts but he found round about ways of describing sex and all that went with it, plus the violence of some of his plays was allowed. I mean to be referred to as ‘a rhinoceros’ pizzle’ hardly strikes fear into you does it.
Though he found ways of using the ‘c’ word as well.
In Hamlet, Hamlet is saying to Ophelia:
Hamlet: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia: No, my lord.
Hamlet: I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ophelia: Ay, my lord.
Hamlet: Do you think I meant country matters?
The expression ‘country matters’ says it all.
I was intrigued once to discover a book written by a guy who had spent obviously a lot of time researching the use of obscenity in Shakespeare, to have written a book suggests there is a lot of it in the plays.
No matter where we go now days we are confronted by the use of four letter words in our everyday life.
They are with us, have been with us, are spoken in high places, in low places and places in between.
Don’t well damn the four-letter word, use it with meaning!!
Written for: http://lindaghill.com/2015/08/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-2915/
Shakespeare was very good at saying things that would make a lot of people blush if they knew what he actually meant. Personally, I find a few four letter words very offensive, but I have to confess, I’ve used the mild “shit” on occasions, but, I’d much prefer to tell someone they are talking a load of pureed bat guano–it sounds more impressive.
When my granddaughter was three, she came home from preschool one day and asked her father (in all seriousness) “Daddy, is it bugger on or bugger off?” Her father almost snorted his coffee and said, “Umm, it’s bugger off. Why?”
“Oh, one of the big kids at after school care said it to us, but I couldn’t remember which one it was.” Having sorted that out, she happily wandered off to play. I should point out that the preschool and the after school care facilities were only separated by a chain link fence.
Yes Lyn, I have had children ask similar questions though in my case it was a three year old asking what the ‘F’ word meant. Not sure at the time who was the more shocked me or him….thanks so much for your comment….yes most people aren’t aware of the meaning of so much of what Shakespeare was saying….I did have to be very careful when working what I revealed to certain ages….
I try to use all my four-letter words with meaning, Michael. 😀
I would expect no more Mandy…There’s one I love to use but here would not be prudent…
I’m glad I live alone when I’m having days of **&$#@!!!!. But on the serious side, I have a searing memory of a time I used the f-word quite cruelly to a family member–I think he was mostly shocked because I was the pristine “Christian” person…it still haunts me that I could have spoken with such violent unkindness, and so undeservedly. Great post, Michael.
Thank you Dear Widow, you must have been very worked up to utter such a word I would think….thanks for stopping by. we all say and do things we regret you know, sometimes its to get it go and stop beating ourselves up over it…
I don’t hold onto many regrets–but that’s a sharp one; as I said, he was so less deserving than others I could have shocked.
I have one major issue with the overuse of four-letter words. If every sentence is punctuated with expletives, what do you have in reserve for those rare occasions when you have a need to utter something exceptional; be it to shock or to alarm, or simply to vent extreme frustration?
I agree Keith, so many people over use it and so I have the same thought, though I think what they do is say it with greater force. Thanks for stopping by….
I’m with you. Never understood the wisdom (or lack thereof) in watering down something useful.
Excellent post, Michael. The lecture must have been fascinating. 🙂
I have written in other comments that I used to save the F word for special occasions and would have trouble using it in public. But in recent years I find myself using it a bit more and hearing it more in society and in films. Hearing it a lot more. It has lost some of its charge but not completely.
Those who use such words in every other sentence they speak need to quit it.
Yes it does get tiresome….thanks for stopping by.