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The Etymology of Some Obscenities

Damn, perhaps suprisingly to some readers, entered English in the 13th century.  It derives by way of Old French damner from Latin damnare.  The Latin verb's predecessor was the noun damnum, which originally had the meaning "loss" or "harm", and such meanings are reflected in the English relative damage. However, damnare soon came to mean "pronounce judgment upon", in legal parlance and in the theological sense. This meaning also appears in another relative, condemn.   The legal sense was lost in the 16th century, but the theological sense remains and gives the word its obscene or vulgar attachment. 

Fuck, which is sometimes described as an Anglo-Saxon word, is in fact not that old in its current form.  It does not appear in writing until the early 16th century.  However, there is a personal name which pops up in records from the late 13th century (according to John Ayto), John le Fucker, which indicates that the word was around at least at that early time in some form.  It's possible that it was not recorded in writing prior to the 16th century because it was in fact considered obscene. No matter what its written status, few etymologists disagree that the word is of Germanic origin, although no one can say precisely whence it came. The word first appeared in Scotland, perhaps indicative of a Scandinavian source; there is, after all, the Norwegian dialectical fukka "copulate" along with the Swedish dialectical focka "copulate, hit" and fock "penis".  Oh, and by the way, this word is simply not an acronym; the widely popular explanations that the word derives from Fornication Under Consent of the King or For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge are absolutely incorrect.

The verb shit started out in Old English as shite (from *scitan, where sc- is pronounced sh-).  It probably attained its current form by influence of shite's past participle, shitten. It goes back to the proto-Germanic root *skit-, which gave birth to German scheissen, Dutch schijten, Swedish skita, and Danish skide as well.  *Skit- derives from the Indo-European root *skei- "split, divide, separate" (which also gave English schism and schist).   The sense here is of "separating" excrement from the body.  This word is NOT an acronym formed from ship high in transit.  

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