NOW YOU KNOW: First Use of F-word Found in 16th Century Book Written by a MONK

Published on February 10, 2014

A new book that traces the origins of expletives claims that the first written use of f-word in English was by a monk who was cursing his religious leader.

Melissa Mohr documents in her book Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing that the profanity first appeared in 1528.

It was said to have been written by an unnamed monk who was venting his frustration at his abott in England while reading his monastery’s copy of De Officiis, an essay by Marcus Tullius Cicero that was broken up into three books and considering the ‘moral authority’ of the middle ages.

The monk wrote in pencil in the margin of the book: ‘O d f—in abott.’

Mohr says the context is ambiguous and the word could have been meant literally or metaphorically.

However she suggests the monk was using it as an ‘intensifier’ to convey dismay at the religious leader.

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