Talk:what the fuck

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RFD discussion: April–May 2006[edit]

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I don't consider these to be dictionary terms. Do any of you think they're dictionary terms? Sabbed 22:34, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Keep, common expressions; Wiktionary is not censored. --Rory096 22:37, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
Keep per Rory. I've added some notable examples to two of them. Cheers! bd2412 T 05:22, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Considering the comments below, I'm going to rethink down my opinion a notch. What the fuck is, by itself, a freestanding idiom that does not require reference to an actual query being made (e.g., I was thinking of going to the store, and finally I said, eh, what the fuck, I may as well go); who the fuck has a similar sense, in that it can be used for a purpose other than actually seeking someone's identity (I can say "who the fuck are you" to someone I know, meaning the same as "what gives you the right to say/think/do that". By contrast, when the fuck, where the fuck, and how the fuck are pretty much always used (to my knowledge) in a circumstance other than actually asking when or where or how with an amplifier. I therefore withdraw my opinion that "when the fuck", "where the fuck", and "how the fuck" should be kept (e.g. no vote on those three. bd2412 T 18:12, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Strong keep - definitely idiomatic. Jonathan Webley 15:54, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Keep - the phrase what the fuck popped into my head yesterday in the context of "things I should add to Wiktionary if not already there", which is how I ended up on (a) that page and (b) here. The "where", "what", and "how" forms are somewhat less common, but "what..." and "who..." are definitely idiomatic and more than the sum of their parts.—Scs 17:53, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

So what about who the hell, who the heck, who the freak, ...? And what about "What the?" And what about which the fuck?? Davilla 05:13, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

I want to know too. And what about what the fucking hell, what the bloody hell, what the fucken hell, what the fuckin' hell? — Hippietrail 18:27, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
What about whom the fuck? :-) — Vildricianus 07:56, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Or wherefore the heck? --Dangherous 17:57, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
I'd even consider whither the feck, whence the hell or whereof the freak. — Vildricianus 21:05, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
No joke, "whom the fuck" gets credible google hits with quotations like "Whom the fuck are you trying to impress with this?" Davilla 16:50, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
  • There's another way to look at this, like with the "pick up the phone" thing above. We should try more to break things down into their elements. Why not put this sense in the noun section of the fuck article. The function of the fuck after an interrogative pronoun has a clear intenifying function. Usage notes can tell us it works after how, what, when, where, who, and why, but not after whom or the even more archaic interrogative pronouns. I checked what the big online dictionaries do. AHD and M-W do pretty much what I just mentioned. On Collins and Encarta I couldn't find this sense under what the fuck, the fuck, or fuck. I might check for hell and heck too. — Hippietrail 16:41, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
  • It's worth noting that we do have a page on the fuck. —Scs 18:01, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Keep. I uttered each of these (who/what/when/where/why/how) upon seeing this nomination. I assure you, they are each, natural, specific parts of the language. Having just spoken them, the "fuck" in each seems to have different pronunciations. --Connel MacKenzie T C 07:04, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

RFV discussion: October 2007–April 2008[edit]

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where the fuck[edit]

Also what the fuck, when the fuck, how the fuck, who the fuck, why the fuck. Plain old SOP: where + the fuck, etc.—msh210 17:31, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I seem to recall that we had this discussion before, and could not agree on deleting any of these. In particular, "what the fuck" has multiple meanings, one being an intensified form of "what" and another being a sort of "hey, why not"; and "who the fuck" similarly can be an intensified form of "who" or (in a sentence like "who the fuck are you") can mean "who do you think you are to be putting on such airs"? Keep those two, at least. bd2412 T 04:26, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I would rather see that as a usage note under the phrase who are you? or on the page for f*ck. Other intensifiers work in that same position with the same meaning: "Who the hell are you?" "Who the devil are you?" "Who the Sam Hill are you?" though they are not quite as common. --EncycloPetey 04:34, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
"Who the hell" may have the same connotation, but I think "who the devil" or "who the Sam Hill" are only used in the sense of an intensifier for an actual inquiry into a persons identity, whereas "who the fuck [are you] [do you think you are] [does he/she think he/she is]" is about what has possessed the subject to think they can get away with doing whatever it is they're doing. bd2412 T 05:33, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
"Who the devil do you think you are?" gets a respectable number of b.g.c. hits. -- Visviva 14:18, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but if I just say "who the fuck are you?" it can carry the same connotation as "who the fuck [or the devil] do you think you are?" If I say "who the devil are you?" it will only be understood to mean "who the devil are you?". bd2412 T 01:46, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps this should redirect to the fuck? —RuakhTALK 05:20, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
That gets my vote. In the relatively unlikely event that someone might need to look one of these phrases up, it would be because they had failed to grasp the intensifying role of "the fuck." -- Visviva 14:18, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good.—msh210 19:06, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Me three. --EncycloPetey 01:32, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Are we just talking about where the fuck, or about all of them? bd2412 T 01:57, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
I think all the ones that are simply using the fuck as a vulgar intensifier. If what the fuck can be verified to have the sense you describe above, then it would be a distinct idiom in its own right, and wouldn't be a redirect. —RuakhTALK 03:46, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Redirects aren't always the best to have, but this seems harmless enough. What and who definitely deserve entries, per BD. Do we need to point out that whom the fuck is sarcastic? DAVilla 13:35, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Verified? As in:

1960, Carlos Fuentes, Where the Air is Clear: A Novel, p. 149:
  • Even dogs know the neighborhood better than you do, so what the fuck, you just follow.
1972, R. Serge Denisoff, the sounds of social change, p. 255:
  • But what the fuck, let's face it. I want to live good. I want to make some money; I want a car, you know. How long can you fight it?
1973, Chandler Brossard, Did Christ Make Love?: A Novel, p. 36:
  • One of the boys on the street—-the immutable, time-stopped leaners in doorways, standers on the street with hands on hips or in pockets, gazers, like hidden ghost figures, after walking girls—-had told him what a pushover queers were, so he thought, what the fuck, why not; partly because at the time he had no choice, unless he wanted to eat out of garbage cans and sleep in the back seat of parked cars...
1991, Randy Wayne White, Sanibel Flats, p. 47:
  • My master's was In world history, but I figured what the fuck, why not shoot for enlightenment?
1991, Mary Robison, Subtraction, p. 100:
  • The kid thought the Atlantic was like a freeway - chancy, but, what the fuck, let's go.
1995, Martin Huxley, Aerosmith: The Fall and the Rise of Rock's Greatest Band:
  • I figured, What the fuck, let's go back to the kids again.
1997, Donald Goines, Daddy Cool, p. 115:
  • So what the fuck, let's act like real painters.”
2001, Brian Thacker, Rule No.5: No Sex on the Bus: Confessions of a Tour Leader, p. 91:
  • At the ripe old age of 78, he thought, What the fuck? I'll take up skiing.
2001, Rene Guenon, The Symbolism of the Cross, p. 116:
  • Well, what the fuck. Let's go for a little ride.
2003, Erin Runions, How Hysterical: Identification and Resistance in the Bible and Film, p. 141:
  • And whatever, if you just happen to get a little blow job out of it, hey, what the fuck, why not?
2004, Michael Turner, The Pornographer's Poem, p. 79:
  • Fortunately John sensed our discomfort, because he quickly turned to Penny and said, “Aw, what the fuck — let's just make it a foursome.” And Penny agreed.
2006, James Hunt, Into This House We're Born p. 128:
  • Like Jim said, it'll probably be our last gig anyway, so what the fuck? Let's go out with a bang!"

Cheers! bd2412 T 04:55, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, bd2412. Can we agree to keep "what..."? I don't know about "who..."; and the others, as I've stated above, imo we can convert to redirects.—msh210 22:04, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, let's definitely keep "what...". Not entirely convinced about "who...", but might as well keep it, I guess. -- Visviva 05:16, 13 October 2007 (UTC)


Reinhold Aman of the Maledicta journal of verbal aggression believes that most expressions like this one involve the substitution of "fuck" for "hell" (or similar words) as a means of heightening the intensity of the original expression (even if the new expression doesn't make any sense). I believe this substitution of the f-word began with the American GIs during World War II, and eventually entered everyday speech. 23:52, 10 July 2008 (UTC)