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A windfucker or common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus; sense 1) in flight


If the term is a compound of wind +‎ fucker, it may preserve an old sense of fuck (to beat, to strike) which is also found in cognates (for example, Bohuslän Swedish fokka (to fuck; to thrust, to push)) but was otherwise lost from English,[1][2] and it can be compared to the regional synonym fuckwind.[1] (Wright's English Dialect Dictionary compares fuck in the latter word to fjúka (be driven (by the wind); fly) instead,[3] while Liberman says the Norse word "has no [other?] cognates anywhere in Germanic".)[1] However, the synonym windsucker is almost as old, and was rendered in older texts as windſucker using a long s, so some scholars think windfucker is a misreading of windſucker; others think windſucker is a bowdlerization of windfucker. Compare the later term windhover and the Orkney term windcuffer.

Modern attestations of the second, vulgar sense are possibly unrelated to the bird, unless of educated and/or heavily dialectal use.



windfucker (plural windfuckers)

  1. (archaic) The common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).
  2. (often archaic, derogatory, vulgar) A term of abuse.
    • 1648 May 16 – June 2, Parliament-Kite, volume II, page 9; quoted in Gordon Williams, “windfucker”, in A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature, volume III (Q–Z), London; Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: The Athlone Press, 1994, →ISBN, pages 1540–1541:
      Let Parliament Jone [nickname of a woman acting as an informant for the authorities to identify seditious or unlicensed printing presses] (the Devills windefucker) flie after me if she can; beware Lewis, I have need to mute.
    • 1667 June 17, Samuel Pepys, “June”, in Robert [Clifford] Latham and William Matthews, editors, The Diary of Samuel Pepys. A New and Complete Transcription, volume 8, London: George Bell & Sons, published 1971, OCLC 503692927, page 275:
      This Hollis [Frescheville Holles], Sir W[illiam] Batten and W[illiam] Penn say, proves a very wind-fucker, as Sir W. Batten terms him; and the other called him a conceited, idle, prating, lying fellow.
    • 1980, Nicholas Grene, “Monstrous Regiment”, in Shakespeare, Jonson, Molière: The Comic Contract, London; Basingstoke, Hampshire: The Macmillan Press, OCLC 464349093, page 117:
      Windfucker’, with all its associations, is Sir Amorous La Foole, (and Sir John Daw for that matter) to the life [in Ben Jonson's play Epicœne, or The Silent Woman]. [...] They are windbags, all talk and no performance. [...] Exeunt windfuckers, disconsolate.
    • 1987, Jack Womack, chapter 10, in Ambient, New York, N.Y.: Grove Press, →ISBN, page 167:
      We speak to the new world, await solution for the trials bespoken. For oppro to set loose over the windfuckers who troubled then and trouble now.
    • 1987 January, Cooper McLaughlin, “The Order of the Peacock Angel”, in Edward L[ewis] Ferman, editor, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, volume 72, number 1 (number 428 overall), Cornwall, Conn.: Mercury Press, ISSN 0024-984X, OCLC 317292798, page 63, column 2:
      Smart grabbed the man and pulled him close. He stuck his beaked nose close to Smitty's face. "You windfucker. You've been slopping the gin."
    • 2016, Adam Selzer, Just Kill Me, New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, →ISBN, page 254:
      What a bunch of windfuckers. But then again, I suppose that when you stay in your small town, you are probably safe from being killed for the sake of being an attraction on a ghost tour.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Anatoly Liberman (2008) , “FUCK”, in An Analytic Dictionary of the English Etymology: An Introduction, Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, →ISBN, page 87, column 1:
    [The] OED gives no etymology of windfucker but compares it with northern reg fuckwind 'a species of hawk'. [...] According to that dictionary [the American Heritage Dictionary], the Germanic verb in question originally meant 'strike, move quickly, penetrate,' [...]
  2. ^ Desmond Hawkins (6 December 1984) , “Windfuckers and Pettychaps: The Oxford Book of British Bird Names by W[illiam] B[urley] Lockwood, Oxford UP, pp 174, £7.95 [book review]”, in New Scientist, volume 104, issue 1433, London: New Science Publications, ISSN 0262-4079, OCLC 980738475, page 36:
    Gerard Manley Hopkins's poem "The Windhover" might not present itself quite so endearingly had he chosen to call it "The Windfucker", although the meaning would be unchanged. Before the word fuck began its descent into outlawed vernacular, it had had an earlier meaning, to beat or strike.
  3. ^ “FUCKWIND” in Joseph Wright, editor, The English Dialect Dictionary: [], volume II (D–G), London: Published by Henry Frowde, [], publisher to the English Dialect Society, []; New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900, →OCLC.

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