DAILY DIRT: Those four-letter words have a long and colorful history


Daily Dirt for Sunday, March 10, 2024

Mark Twain may have had the right outlook about this subject … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 890 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Have you ever wondered when the phrase “four-letter word” was first used as a euphemism for swear words?

Research indicates it first surfaced at some point in the 1920s, due largely to 29 of the 84 most frequently used swear words containing — you guessed it — four letters.

The most famous of those four-letter words is, of course, the one that begins with an “f”. (Unknown to many, however, the f-word was preceded by another four-letter dandy — “sard” — that dates to the 10th century and meant the same thing.

The common myth that today’s f-word derived from an acronym, either “fornication under consent of the king” or “for unlawful carnal knowledge,” is untrue. Instead, the expletive likely emerged from the Middle Dutch “fokken,” Norwegian “fukka,” or Swedish “focka,” all of which mean several things, including exactly what you are thinking right now. That’s according to historyfacts.com.According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of the modern f-bomb came in 1503, in a Scottish poem, although the word was likely used even earlier. In 1965, the f-word became an official part of the English lexicon when it was included in The Penguin Dictionary.

Mark Twain once said people have been swearing as long as they have been praying, and what is considered “cursing” or “swearing” has always depended on what was taboo at that point in time, whether it be blasphemous or simply crude. At the world headquarters of Muddy River News, the emphasis is normally on crude.

2. Over the weekend, actor Pierce Brosnan, who once played famous secret agent James Bond, said his choice for the next 007 is Sunday night Oscar winner Cillian Murphy. (For those currently wondering, that’s pronounced KI-lee-uhn MUR-fee.)

Murphy won his Oscar for his role as nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in the film “Oppenheimer,” which also won the best picture award.

Murphy, however, feels he may be a bit old for the 007 role at 47. Bond developers have hinted the next 007 would ideally be someone in his/her 30s since the role will likely demand a minimum 10-year commitment that would likely cover three films.

The names that most are keeping atop the list of possibilities are Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Rege-Jean Page.

Taylor Johnson, 33, is an Englishman whose star power has risen through his association with Marvel Comics films and has a Golden Globe to his credit for his work in “Nocturnal Animals,” playing a psychopathic drifter. British oddsmakers have him as a 2-1 pick to be the next Bond.

Murphy also has a superhero movie role to his credit. He played one of the members of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, The Scarecrow, in “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” opposite Christian Bale’s Caped Crusader.

Speaking of Batman villians, there was one funny moment at The Oscars Sunday night where two other former bad guys took to the stage and called out Batman.

Page, 35, also an Englishman, has gained much notoriety through the Netflix period drama “Bridgerton”. British oddsmakers have him at 6-1 to be the next Bond.

3. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe the following songs are turning 48 years old this year:

  • “More Than A Feeling,” by Boston: Incredibly, this power group had only one No. 1 song and it was not this one. Boston’s lone No. 1 was “Amanda”.
  • “Kiss And Goodbye,” by the Manhattans: Sadly, there are no original Manhattans members still alive. Personally, I think this was the group’s finest effort.
  • “Let Your Love Flow,” by the Bellamy Brothers: The Bellamys continue to roll on. Howard is now 78, David 73. My favorite Bellamy Brothers song will always be “Redneck Girl”. (“Redneck Girl wears her name on the back o’ her belt … “)
  • “Dancing Queen,” by ABBA: At one point, this ABBA anthem was No. 1 in 15 countries.
  • “Tonight’s The Night,” by Rod Stewart: One of The Living Legend’s six No. 1 songs. 

Steve Thought O’ The Day — The only four-letter word in my vocabulary is … Dirt.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. One of his worst takes is that Michael Keaton was a bad Batman.

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