The first recorded usage of this word and its etymology are still disputed. The Oxford English Dictionary gives a first citation of 1503. Other sources claim dates that are only a little earlier than this. Its first appearance in a dictionary, spelt 'fucke', is 1598 (John Florio’s Italian-English Dictionary). How so, when the word is often referred to as 'Anglo-Saxon'? It remains a bit of a mystery because most etymologists trace it back to Old Germanic languages with an original meaning of to poke, prod, or prick which, without much reflection, seems appropriate. The search for its etymology is constrained by the fact that the word virtually disappeared from all legal printed material between 1795 and 1960. During this period, it had become a taboo word, so much so that until the 1960s the use of fuck (or cunt for that matter) in print was against the law and liable to prosecution. In Norman Mailer’s famous novel The Naked and the Dead (1948) his publishers had to replace fuck with 'fug'. This prompted the famous remark, attributed to Dorothy Parker who, when introduced to Mailer at a party said, “So you’re the guy who can’t spell fuck.” Fuck and cunt both made their re-appearance in print in the UK Penguin edition of the D. H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960. Penguin was prosecuted under the Obscenity Publications Act but was famously acquitted by a jury in 1961. In mainstream cinema, it was not heard until the 1970s and was included in the Oxford English Dictionary for the first time in 1972. In Martin Scorcese’s film Casino (1995) the word fuck is used over 400 times. As a word, it is gloriously versatile, ranging from an act or object of sexual intercourse to an exclamation of almost any kind, as in 'fuck me', which is only rarely an invitation to have sex. It can mean go away as in 'fuck off', damn you as in 'fuck you', nothing as in 'fuck all', or simply broken or tired as in 'fucked'. It can also mean a chap or a fellow as in 'fucker' or simply an intensifier as in 'fucking cold', 'fucking marvellous' etc. A 'fuck-up' is a mistake or disaster, while a 'fuckwit' is an idiot. To 'fuck around' or 'fuck about' is to play the fool while 'fuck-face' can be an insult or a term of endearment, depending on the context. The list goes on and on and there are too many variations to list them all. These days, fuck generally abounds in literature and movies but is generally bleeped out in pre-recorded, public broadcast media before 9 pm when children are still around. 'Fuck', it would seem, has 'abso-fucking-lutely' become an extremely common and popular everyday word.