Thursday, 21 July 2016

What does 'feck' mean?


We have been watching 'The Thick Of It' on DVD recently, because we didn't see it when it first appeared. If you ever want an insight into the inner workings of the Blair government, look no further, and be prepared for extremely bad language.

Armando Iannucci (Italian Scottish) recently said that he does not need to write a further, modernised series, because all this stuff is being played-out in public for real, and besides, Peter Capaldi is a bit busy being Dr Who right now.

I just looked out of the window to see my dapper Irish priest friend, Father Joe, walking down the street. He is dapper because he wears colourful shirts and stylish hats, and I have never seen him in priest's garb. I only call him 'Father' behind his back, but in a friendly sort of way.

He seems to be a priest without a church, and I believe the street children of Brazil are his flock. He lives in an annex of the huge Catholic church here, and I think he has a girlfriend. This may be utter slander, but he is usually with a woman who is every bit as stylish as him and they tour the charity shops with each other as if they are in Harrods. Today he is on his own.

When I used to see him on a regular basis, I wondered how he made any money, but he told me he had a meagre stipend from the Church which he had to scream for, and supplemented his income with scams like smuggling emeralds out of South America to try and sell to dealers in Hatton Garden.

I put him in touch with a gem dealer I sort of knew there once, and he went up to London with his booty to show him. When he returned, he said what a lovely man the dealer was and how good it was to see a framed and signed photo of the President of Israel on his office wall. I understood what he was trying to tell me.

After some toing and froing between London and South Africa, the jewels were deemed 'fecking worthless', and Father Joe asked me if I could think of anything else he could bring back to the U.K. from Brazil. I suggested cocaine, and he said he had already thought of that, but wasn't so stupidly bad at business to know that he would end up with a bullet in his head if he tried.

Like  every other Irish person I have met and asked, Joe could not tell me the meaning of the word 'feck'. I still don't know if it is an expletive or not, but these days (see the script of In The Thick Of It) it doesn't seem to matter.

19 comments:

  1. I think that it is, and in a Mrs Brown's Boys way. My sensibilities will not let me write the word - although I have been known to say it. Even though I believe it to be Old English.

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  2. Like Potty's answer and like him/her say that my sensibilities will not let me write it. However (says she innocently)
    'feckless' according to my Dictionary means 'clueless' 'helpless' 'aimless' 'irresponsible'. So can we assume that 'feck' means the opposite. Answers on a postcard please.

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  4. I am not Irish as you know and over the 30 years of having lived here I have learned this:
    There are significant differences between feck and fuck aside from their relative strengths as curses. For one thing, feck doesn’t have sexual uses or connotations. To feck something in Hiberno-English generally means to steal it or to throw it, often impatiently or casually: she fecked the orange peel out the car window.
    If this not good enough I will feck a book out of the library and feck it to you without stamps.

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    1. Ah, now that is getting closer. Thank you.

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  5. I don't know what 'feck' means either but I think that Father Joe would be my kind of friend too.

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    1. He has a definite charm which is hard to resist.

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  6. 12 Sep 2012 - Feck is a popular minced oath in Ireland, occupying ground between the ultra-mild expletive flip and the often taboo (but also popular) fuck. It's strongly associated with Irish speech, and serves a broad range of linguistic purposes that I'll address briefly in this post.

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    1. I've never heard of a minced oath before. Is that Polari?

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    2. Minced oaths is fine porridge material with a lisp.

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    3. Minced oaths for breakfast. Yum.

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  7. It would seem to be as popular in Scotland as in Ireland. If not more so.

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    1. In Scotland, the term 'Cunty' is considered affectionate - or so I was told.

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    2. It's quite popular in France too; especially around here.

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    3. Even more since the Brexit vote, I would imagine.

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  8. Let's clear up this myth that fuck is an Anglo Saxon word. It's not. It is Early Germanic from the 16th century, which is why there are similar words in Dutch and Swedish. xox

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  9. Neither did the word cunt exist in OldEnglish (Anglo Saxon). It is first seen in Middle English - Chaucer's language in the14th c. Please excuse my pedantry, or not.

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