To f**k or not to, well, f**k

Apparently the f-word (f…u…c…k) has proved difficult for dictionarists over the years. Slate presents complications I had never even realized existed (not for the conservative of mind):

Thus, you can’t fuck someone in the ass with a dildo, according to the current edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, and Webster’s New World Dictionary. The whore in Portnoy’s Complaint “who fucks the curtain with her bare twat” can’t do that, according to American Heritage, Webster’s New World, Random House, or Encarta. Lesbians can’t fuck each other at all, according to Webster’s New World and Encarta (though if they use a strap-on, Encarta becomes OK with it). Fucking a woman’s breasts is only possible according to Merriam-Webster. Finger-fucking and fist-fucking are impossible according to Webster’s New World, Random House, and American Heritage; Merriam allows it, but only if it’s vaginal and not anal. Only the OED, whose entry for the word I edited, defines fuck to encompass sexual acts beyond “sexual intercourse.”

The author, word-maven Jesse Sheidlower, has a new book that delves more, umm, deeply into the, well, subject. Sorry. Like, seriously, I’m sorry.

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