"To fully understand the legal power of fuck, the nonlegal sources of its power are tapped."


Christopher Fairman
Ohio State University - Michael E. Moritz College of Law
Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 59, March 2006
Center for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies Working Paper Series No. 39

This Article is as simple and provocative as its title suggests: it explores the legal implications of the word fuck. The intersection of the word fuck and the law is examined in four major areas: First Amendment, broadcast regulation, sexual harassment, and education. The legal implications from the use of fuck vary greatly with the context. Drawing upon the research of etymologists, linguists, lexicographers, psychoanalysts, and other social scientists, the visceral reaction to fuck can be explained by cultural taboo. Fuck is a taboo word. The taboo is so strong that it compels many to engage in self-censorship. This process of silence then enables small segments of the population to manipulate our rights under the guise of reflecting a greater community. Taboo is then institutionalized through law, yet at the same time is in tension with other identifiable legal rights. Understanding this relationship between law and taboo ultimately yields fuck jurisprudence.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 78

Keywords: Cohen, Pacifica, First Amendment, psycholinguistics



5 Responses:

  1. jwz says:

    This paper is truly fantastic.

    Of particular interest to the lawyer-lexicographer is the suggestion of an Egyptian root petcha (to copulate). [33] During the last Egyptian dynasties, legal documents were sealed with the phrase, “As for him who shall disregard it, may he be fucked by a donkey.” The hieroglyphic for the phrase -- two large erect penises -- makes the message clear. [34]

  2. Tape says:

    "Understanding this relationship between law and taboo ultimately yields fuck jurisprudence."

    IHNC, IJLS "fuck jurisprudence"

  3. Richard says:

    Oldie but goodie: Prosodic Structure and Expletive Infixation (McCarthy, 1982)

  • Previously