usage of word in the old west

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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Dec 30, 2001 2:27 pm

On the new HBO series, DEADWOOD, the characters routinely and frequently say "fuck." My husband and I are arguing about whether or not this actually would have been a commonly used word in those times. (I say no!)
Can you help us out with some facts?
Vicki Geba
Submitted by Vicki Geba (Wayne - U.S.A.)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 2:41 pm

Vicki, I think you are wrong. ‘Fuck’ was appearing in print in the U.S. by the 1860s (with and without dash between the ‘F’ and the ‘K’) and if it was appearing in print it was certainly passing the lips of the not-too-Victorian cowboys of the American west. I’m sure that on the trail and in the bawdy houses and saloons of Cripple Creek, Leadville, etc. no Westerner worthy of the name would pass up the opportunity to use this ancient and beloved expression.

‘The Oxford English Dictionary’ and ‘Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang’ have examples of ‘fuck’ appearing in print in its various forms starting in the early 1500s and continuing up to the present.

< 1535 “Bischops . . . may FUCK thair fill and be vnmaryit.”—‘Satyre’ by Lyndesay>

< 1680 “Through all the Town, the common FUCKING Post, On whom each Whore, relieves her tingling Cunt.”— ‘Poems on Several Occasions’ by Rochester(1950), page 30>

<a1750 “But she gave proof that she could F—K.”—‘Poems’ (1750) by A. Robertson, page 256>

<1860 “When Douglas found his chances were scarcely worth a schuck / He bade his Delegates, go home to take a little F—K.”—‘Lincoln Encyclopedia’ by Neely, page 155”> [[American]]

<1864 “Have you any sisters? If you have I should like to FUCK them. That was my business before I came into the service, and now I’m FUCKING for Uncle Sam.”—‘Civil Wars’ by George Rable> [[American]]

<1866 “Mr. Baker replied that depondent would be FUCKED out of his money by Mr. Brown.”—‘The Black Military Experience’(1982) by Ira Berlin [[American]]

<1867 “Me & my love have had this far just one hundred good square FUCKS together.”—‘Journals of Alfred Doten (1829-1903) [[American Westerner]]

<1888 “Adonis . . . gave her a most systematical FUCK.”; “Sodom . . . was the worst place for wild FUCKING of all descriptions . . . (Barring Chicago)—‘Stag Party’> [[American]]

<1893 “ FUCKER. 1. A lover. 2. A term of endearment, admiration, derision, etc”.—‘Dictionary of Slang and Analogues’ by Farmer & Henley, III, Page 80/2>

<1899 “Here goes for the fust FUCK.”—‘Memoirs of Dolly Morton.’ page 249 [[American, detailing her experiences from the Civil War on]]
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Ken G – April 11, 2004





Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 2:56 pm

Well, The Lone Ranger wouldn't have used it, I believe! The cruder ones that he dealt with could well have been using such a word since in emanated from Middle-English and OED's first note of it is in 1503. After that it seems to have garnered favor with the English and doesn't really show much use in the U.S. until the late 1800's and and after 1900. Remember, the Puritans left England due to there coarse speech and manners and came over here to rid themselves of such. It would seem that when our troops were "over there," they picked up the bad habit in both WW's from a favorite expression of the English which went somewhat like this: "Those f--king Yanks." Having had it explained to them as a term of approbation, they brought it home with them (along other things) and the word came into heavy usage when they realized they'd been had! Well, their children heard it from an early age and since then the word has gained wide acceptance, buy commoners and film makers, stars and other performers (JFKerry comes to mind)!
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 3:10 pm

Leif, If the Lone Ranger went around in public calling his best buddy Kimosabe, who knows what he was saying off-camera? (<:)
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Ken G – April 12, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 3:25 pm

I believe it was the other way around, Ken. Tonto called The Lone Ranger "kimosabe," which as everyone should know is an Indian expression of endearment (roughly translating as:"You bighandsome sweetie-pie." Due to the mores at the time this type of behavior between two movie and comic book heros could not be expressed in English. A further note, Jay Silverheels, who played the role of Tonto, actual name was Jay Roundheels. *g*
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 3:39 pm

Wait, so The Lone Ranger and Tonto were...?
Reply from Zachary Walls (Dixon - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 3:53 pm

Well, spending all that time out on the lone prairie . . . ! And he always galloped away from the wench he had just saved yelling "Hi Ho! Silverheels! Just wait'll GLAAD gets this one going! *G*
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 4:08 pm

And the Lone Ranger was really called Paul Ehrlich?
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 4:22 pm

Okay, here's TMI:

Kimosabe is supposed to mean "friend," I think.

Parody of the song "Waterloo" from the late 1950s:

The Lone Ranger and Tonto rode the trail
Catching outlaws and putting them in jail
But the Ranger shot Tonto, it seems
When he found out Kimosabe means.

Lenny Bruce, the ur-dark comic, had a routine about the Lone Ranger wanting Tonto for "an unnatural act."

I actually met the Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) and Tonto (Jay Silverheels [ne Roundheels] in 1956 at the Houston Fat Stock Show and Rodeo--along with a couple thousand other kids in the autograph line. The Lone Ranger show was on TV then, so Clayton Moore wore the Lone Ranger's black mask. In later years, Moore toured solo, appearing at fairs and shopping centers, selling his autograph, etc. However, the producers of the TV show or the network had the rights to the Lone Ranger image, so instead of a black mask, Moore wore large wraparound dark sunglasses.

There, that's it. Accept for indivdual show plots and the overall story line, I don't know anything else about the Lone Ranger.
Reply from Steven clyburn (Oxford - U.S.A.)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 4:37 pm

Better yet if you have seen the movie Robin Hood when Robin and the other guy use the big catapolt to clear the wall of the castle Christian Slater says " Fuck me they made it " . I believe that was in the midevil erra Idunno maybe 1600 or so?
Reply from Scott bowhntr (Appleton - U.S.A.)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 4:51 pm

Besides your posting, Scott, the most obvious mid-evil errors are currently taking place in the Middle East.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 5:05 pm

For more regarding first usage of the word fuck, see the online encylopedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuck
Reply from Ron Harker (Bay Of Idslands - New Zealand)
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usage of word in the old west

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 30, 2001 5:20 pm

I wonder if Jay Silverheels ever found out that tonto is Spanish for "idiot"?
Reply from Jim Taylor (Summerside - Romania)
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