The Economist has broken the taboo on the word we all know but are not supposed to print – and even the Economist had to use two asterisks. Referring to Brexit, on March 19th one and half million copies of the Economist had a picture of a disheveled Britannia screaming “Oh **UK. Whatever next.”
Sex is a powerful emotion and the words for intercourse change over the centuries. Clean words morph into dirty and dirty become clean. When Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales in the 1380s, the dirty verb for intercourse was to swive. “Thus swived was this Carpenteris wyf.” With the passage of time, swive became the clean word swivel. Next time you scratch your car trying to squeeze into the narrow space left beside some over-sized SUV, just say “Oh swivel” – it wont shock the grandchildren.
**uk is the Norse word ‘to push’. When the Vikings rowed away to rape and pillage, they shouted to their friend onshore “Fuck off the boat.”
Sex inspires our art, nourishes our literature and transforms the words we use. I don’t know how many languages are spoken at Cal, but I would be interested in knowing if there is a language where the verb for intercourse is not also a dirty word.