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Thanks to Gary Carter, the word “F-bomb” is now in the dictionary

Aug 14, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

Gary Carter Reuters

I was happy as heck to see that the word “F-bomb” has been added to the dictionary. Given that I try to avoid profanity as much as possible on this here blog, it comes in handy.

But via Rob Neyer, we learn that its place in the dictionary has something to do with the late, great Gary Carter:

Kory Stamper, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, said she and her fellow word spies at the Massachusetts company traced it back to 1988, in a Newsday story that had the now-dead Mets catcher Gary Carter talking about how he had given them up, along with other profanities.

Thanks, Kid. That’s f-bomb fantastic.

  1. mianfr - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    “Now-dead”? These are the people in charge of preserving the language and that’s how they respectfully acknowledge the passing of the originator of the word?

    “The now-dead John F. Kennedy loved his cigars.”

    “The now-dead Mother Teresa dedicated her life to helping those unwanted by society.”

    Seriously, this was someone who had literally every word at her disposal, and she chose this?

    • bravojawja - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      “Now dead” isn’t in quotes, so it might not have been the editor of the dictionary who said it. You’ll have to ask the AP writer, though that person also had every word at his/her disposal, too.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      Is it disrespectful to say that a dead man is dead?

      • mianfr - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:38 PM

        Not if you want to take the black and white/autistic view of the world, but there is such a thing as tone in writing.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        As the Pythons demonstrated for us all those years ago, there is more than one way to express the concept.


  2. umrguy42 - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    It’s interesting when they can trace these things to one person – we now know where “f-bomb” came from (theoretically), and also “my bad” (forget his name, but I remember them talking about it last year or so when a pro basketball player passed away, he’d started it because English wasn’t his first language).

    • cur68 - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      Manute Bol = My Bad.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Awesome Cur. You literally made me laugh out loud with the “word” post. I gave you a thumbs up for it as well.
        Please know I occasionally work in the word “yo” at the tail end of my sentences.
        As in “what up yo?” Not that it matters…but those two words were NOT what I was refering to. Anywho…you did make me laugh (as usual).

  3. sabatimus - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    I remember the first time I heard that “bling” was officially going to be added to the dictionary. I felt like giving somebody the finger.

    • Old Gator - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      Not that it’s directly relevant – nothing ever is, especially during an election year – but there’s a wonderful account of the eighteenth century purging of the French dictionary, which required some serious, if misguided, detective work, in Dominique Laporte’s A History of Shit. Think I’m just being crazy Ole’ Gator again? Hah! Google it….

      • sabatimus - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        I never type “lol” (i just did ;p, and strangely enough I do use perpendicular smileys), but I laughed out loud at the “especially during an election year”.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      I felt the same way when I learned the Oakland, CA school disctrict was going to start teaching Ebonics in English class.

      • 1jarhead - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        I generally enjoy seeing your input inthe comment section, but that comment does sound a bit ignorant. Ebonics is very much a language that (when used properly) follows its own set of rules, very much like the english that you, presumably, use on daily basis. I remember learning about it in Linguistics class. it may not follow the same rules as you are used to, but it is not just a mish mash of words without any rhyme or reason.

      • - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        That Ebonics thing in Oakland Schools has got to be 20 years old. When I heard about it I was outraged because everyone else was outraged. But since then I’ve gotten older and learned to appreciate different things.

        I’ve noticed the English language is never static. (I would assume other languages also evolve) There are a few (ok, a lot of) general guidelines as far as grammar for official print, but other than that the language is always changing. I like it when new words are invented. Old words are re-hashed and used in different ways, when profanity becomes legit, and most of all, when one culture adopts a word or phrase from another culture and starts using it.

        English is pretty fun if you ask me, especially when you start incorporating slang from all of it’s users.

      • cur68 - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:35 PM


  4. mrfloydpink - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Another day, another narrow minded comment from stlouis1. You do realize you come off as a racist, right? With your constant railing against Obama and Ebonics and so on…

    • sabatimus - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      His comment, taken at face value, is not inherently racist, though “ebonics” definitely may be construed as a pejorative term. But that’s an interpretation. Did he mean it that way?

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        No sabatimus. I did not mean it that way. I do appreciate Jarhead and Sportsdrenched take on it though. Great stuff really. Prescisely the type of conversations I find productive.
        I just think Ebonics makes the user sound ignorant. That’s all.
        It has absolutely NOTHING to do with race. I know lots of young people (my nieces included)…who regularly use it. The race baiting by some folks is bordering on lunacy.

      • - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        Your ignorance depends on what situation you use the language. Would I use slang while public speaking or at the office? No, and I think people who do use it in the wrong situation are in fact ignorant, not only of the language but of situational awareness.

        However, If my freinds and I are goofing around and try to write a song about a bender…yeah their might be some slang (both urban & rural) and some profanity.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      You see Floyd…we differ on a lot of things. You (in my opinion) are a race baiter. You have absolutely no idea how many mixed relationships I have been in during my lifetime. From High School, through College and into my Adult life. I was married to a Women who was Indian (1/2 Comanche 1/2 Kiowa). I danced in freaking Pow Wows. Literally…danced in pow wows. I have many faults. But one fault I don’t have is dishonesty. Others have said I am very genuine. You get what you see as I call it like I see it. Not liking Obama has absolutely nothing to do with race. You do realize you can NOT like someone and it have nothing to do with race…right? Otherwise, there were a whole lot of racists during Bush’s 8 years. But that’s okay though huh? You can’t have it both ways. As for ebonics…again…NOTHING to do with race.
      I just think it makes those using the words sound ignorant. Nothing more…nothing less. Back to Obama…I really, really wish Herman Cain hadn’t stepped on his pee-pee as I would have loved to have him on the ticket. Lastly, I will state that I know of ZERO small business owners…
      (MYSELF INCLUDED) who are Pro-Obama. They/we constantly lament his policies with regards to small Business. I guess they are all racist as well huh?
      But as Obama said…as Small Business Owners WE didn’t build our business’s did we?
      That’s right…the Government did.
      Keep on race baiting Floyd. It’s suits you.

      • Old Gator - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        stlouis – I have to ride to your defense on this one. Whereas we famously disagree up and down the political totem pole, I’ve never seen you write anything here that could even remotely be described as “racist.”

        Moreover, I find “ebonics” to be less a language that the wreckage that collects at the bottom of a language, in this case English, whose users for one reason or another haven’t properly learned the rules of said language – upon which lucid communication and a shared sense of the baseline meanings of words and constructions in language depend. I agree that the continued growth of a language depends on its absorbing slang and foreign usages as it adapts to changing circumstances of culture and history.

        However, valorizing ignorance of those rules and incompetence in their misapplication – which is what “teaching Ebonics” as some sort of stand-alone language parallel to the mien of communication from which it has degenerated – is not the same thing.

      • anxovies - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        Yes, I have always found the GOP support of the interests of mega-banks and giant corporations to be helpful in my small business. Especially when the banks call in your note because of hard economic times caused by mega-banks and giant corporations. Its a sacrifice we must all pay for a stronger America. At least a sacrifice that most of us must pay.

  5. randygnyc - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    The charge of “racism” has lost all meaning in the last 4 years. It’s the boy who called wolf. I think Obama is a treasonous scumbag and want him prosecuted and executed for the murder of Brian terry. And I’m no racist.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Absolutely Randy. It is used so much it falls on deaf ears. Very similar to the kid whose Parents scream, yell, holler, curse and otherwise demean him on a regular basis. After awhile, they can scream all they want and he doesn’t hear them.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        I will beg to differ with both of you. The motivation behind complaining all the time and blaming all things on Obama can be seen in the fact that there are some very racist people in America still making a stink about his friggin’ birth certificate, and questioning whether Barak HUSSEIN Obama is indeed a sooper seekrti Islamacist.

        Notice, I did not mention that both of you two are racists for not liking Obama. However, when I hear the words of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Michelle Bachmann come in other people’s commentary, it’s not hard to think about the original intentions of those words: to confuse and obfuscate, continuously insisting for political purposes that the person in the White House as a real, live unAmerican hellbent on destroying us all.

        But I’d like to digress…. Is Friggin’ in this new dictionary? Because I think it should be.

    • stex52 - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      You realize, of course, that Bush originated that program? And I am sure you are also aware that, under the constitution, the President has the power to declare war, order nuclear attacks, suspend habeus corpus, order assassinations, and send people on suicide missions? And that he can be impeached, but that there is no other clearly defined way he can be held accountable for actions he takes in office (besides losing an election)?

      Otherwise I agree with you completely.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        Hahaha! Thanks Suze. I really wasn’t referring to how or why the program was originated.
        And yes…I agree. The President’s accountability (at the end of the day) will come Election time. But you still have to debate your record as President. And the Man won’t do it.
        Again…I know of NO Small Business Owners (myself included) who agree with his policies with regards to small business’s. His policies of course are aligned with his party. Therefore, he most certainly is held accountable.

      • stex52 - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        SLB, no problem if people want to hate the President. That is a time-honored tradition in our democracy. Just a little reminder that a treason charge is almost impossible to get against anyone per the Constitution. There was a reason for that. The founding fathers were all traitors to England. And it’s ten times as hard when applied to the President, who really has few (except budgetary) checks on his powers.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:40 PM

        Treason? No wonder I was somehwhat confused with your original post. Did I miss something? Meaning…I didn’t say anything about treason. Did someone else post such nonsense and I not see it?

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        Sorry Suze. I went back and checked all the posts. I see that Randy did refer to him as a “treasonous scumbag.” Again…I apologize.

      • stex52 - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:48 PM

        No sweat. We’ve been going around for a while now. Randy likes to stir the pot periodically.

      • Old Gator - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        Absolutely. And Paul Ryan still looks like a grackle.

      • stex52 - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Grackle?? Don’t say grackle. I hate grackles. The shoggoths of the avian world.

  6. Old Gator - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    That’s fine. Ryan is the shoggoth of the house budget committee. Tikili li! Tikili li!

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      Hahaha! I hear you Gator. However, I have a feeling when it comes to ANY conservative candidate…you would even bitch if your bread was buttered wrong. Hahaha!
      On a separate note:
      Thanks for the assistance with the above post yesterday afternoon.
      I also appreciate your take on Ebonics. We could do a whole lot better at HBT if far more people realized it’s okay to disagree with one another.

      • Old Gator - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        Definitely. What’s your opinion of Maule’s barbecue sauce? I bet we can really get into an eye-scratcher over that one….

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      I am not familiar with Maule’s BBQ Sauce. I don’t like stewed Tomatoes or Fried Green Tomatoes.
      Let’s start there.

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