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  #1  
Old 10-07-2001, 04:45 PM
epraz epraz is offline
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F***in A

OK....so what does the A in "f***in A" stand for?



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NOTE ADDED BY CKDH (28-Oct-2011): This thread was originally posted in General Questions Forum, back in 2001. In 2003, the question was answered by a Staff Report, found here: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...in-of-fuckin-a

Please be aware of the dates as you read, there's not much point in responding to a 9-year-old joke.
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Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 10-28-2011 at 07:10 AM..
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2001, 04:53 PM
heptapod heptapod is offline
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I have no idea because I'm at a loss for how to pronounce the *** characters. Are they vowels? Consonants?
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  #3  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:11 PM
Violet Violet is offline
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WAG: asshole.
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  #4  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:12 PM
atypicalcarl atypicalcarl is offline
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I'll take a WAG and say it's based on the letter "a" being used as a grade or rank - as in "grade A milk."
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  #5  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:17 PM
mancunian mancunian is offline
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Is this related to the movie Aliens???
I always thought the "a" was like "yeah" (in agreement) hence "fuckin yeah", dunno for sure though.
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  #6  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:21 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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"Fuckin' A, Bubba!" WAG is that it means "I see the trueness of your statement, and if my assesment is incorrect then I would willingly submit to an undesireable ransom to be extracted from me; for example, my dear friend Bubbothy, fuckin' me up the ass."

But I've wondered about the etymology myself.
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  #7  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:27 PM
heptapod heptapod is offline
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Oh!!! Fuck! Why didn't he fucking say fuck in the first fucking place? That makes things a fuck of a lot clearer. Fuckin' a, man.
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  #8  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:33 PM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by heptapod
Oh!!! Fuck! Why didn't he fucking say fuck in the first fucking place? That makes things a fuck of a lot clearer. Fuckin' a, man.
I agree that there was no need for him to censor his own honest question in the OP but come on, is this really necessary? You knew what he was trying to say and you're acting pretty immature for this forum if I may say so.

As for the OP, I remember having a good theory on this a few years back but for the life of me I can't think of it, and google is turning up nothing. This might take awhile.
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  #9  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:42 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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"Effin' A" means "Fucking Asshole."
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  #10  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:48 PM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by friedo
"Effin' A" means "Fucking Asshole."

I don't think it does...Think about the context it's used in. It is generally used as an agreement and not an insult. You frequently hear:

"Check out the break in those waves, this is gonna be great!"
"Fuckin' A bro!!"

But you never hear:

"You smell funny"
"You fucking a!"


See what I mean?
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  #11  
Old 10-07-2001, 05:50 PM
El_Kabong El_Kabong is online now
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Ahem, I've always understood that "fuckin' A" was a contraction of "You bet your fuckin' ass". It's used as an affirmative, sometimes phrased as "fuckin A right". Sorry I can't provide a cite, except that the phrase is used repeatedly by the owner of the bar where de Niro and Wlken's characters hang out in "the Deer Hunter".
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  #12  
Old 10-07-2001, 06:37 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cisco
"Check out the break in those waves, this is gonna be great!"
"Fuckin' A bro!!"

But you never hear:

"You smell funny"
"You fucking a!"


See what I mean?
Well, we must live in alternate universes. I always hear it in the context of an insult.

"What a fuckin' A."
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  #13  
Old 10-07-2001, 07:08 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by friedo
Well, we must live in alternate universes. I always hear it in the context of an insult.

"What a fuckin' A." [/B]
My WAG is that it originated as an insulting swearing phrase that morphed into a “good” phrase, kinda like the word “bad” turning to mean good. Looks like the guys at Princeton WPRB college radio are claiming responsibility for the insulting meaning:

http://www.wprb.com/old_site/history/60s.html
Quote:
"It happened sometime in 1961, maybe 1962, but no later than that I am sure. I defy anyone to find an earlier use of that lyrical profanity (don't confuse the phrase with 'A-okay' made so popular by the astronauts). Of course, since then the phrase has captivated the English-speaking world, being of particular attraction to those serving in the military. No doubt the prevalence of war in the national conscience and consciousness since then has accounted for the rapid dissemination of the phrase. It wasn't long before the phrase rivaled and then surpassed other gems, like 'snafu' and 'bubkus.' You have to admit that 'Fucking A' flows so easily off the tongue. It has the natural flavor of apple pie to it. It's difficult to appreciate it for what it is‹a truly seminal expression, the ultimate primal scream, the shadow of humanity's deepest frustrations leaping off the wall of Plato's cave into the concrete world.
"It was all due to Studio A. In those days, everything at WPRB was broadcast out of Studio B‹an intimate glassed-in box only large enough to hold a DJ and a few sycophants. Studio A was larger, but its console never worked. If it weren't for the fact that the large conference table in Studio A was a perfect place to set down those big boxes that pizza come in (even then!), Studio A would have been of no use whatsoever.
"Two members of the engineering staff, Minet and Auslander, decided to change this, though I'm not sure why. They espoused the Che Guevara school of electronics. Their modus operandi was to plug in anything on the fritz and hope that it exploded, because the sparks would pinpoint the problem. (They applied this principle to my roommate's malfunctioning stereo and in 30 minutes transformed it into scrap metal.) That's why the console in Studio A was so fascinating to them. It exploded with the persistence of a Mexican fiesta, which may have explained their predilection for working at it late at night with a case of cheap beer at hand.
"During one of these late night escapades, Minet was on his back under the console monkeying with some wires, while Auslander was standing up, hovering over the monster with his eyeglasses way down on the tip of his pimply nose, hoping to see the damn thing pop. I could see them through the window out of Studio B while I was on the air. I'm not sure exactly what happened next. Whatever it was, the lights flickered momentarily and Minet screamed 'FUCKING A!!!' so loudly that even with my earphones on I could hear him. And he continued yelling the words over and over, while he hopped around holding his right hand. So, when Auslander, who now was totally cracking up over his buddy's misfortune, pushed open the door to Studio B to share the merriment with me, those fateful words went out ever so clearly over the air, making my engineer blanch. And, as Minet continued to yell and Auslander continued to prop open the studio door with his doubled-over body, those words continued to go out over the air, until the engineer came to his senses and flipped the switch. Of course, we never heard a word of complaint, proving that no one, not even the FCC, was listening.
"I don't think Minet, after his pain subsided, ever used the words again. But Auslander did, all the time, and so did everybody else, me included. Soon, it was all over campus. From there, it conquered the nation. Tomorrow, the world, as they say.
"Of course, nobody knew what the 'A' was, except for the few of us there that night. But it didn't matter what 'A' was. It really had nothing to do with any 'A' in particular. The phrase lassoed the Zeitgeist; 'A' really stood for everything so maddening and so frustrating that it couldn't be put into words. What happened to Minet that day was just a happy accident, something like Newton and the apple. I mean, if he had yelled 'Fucking B,' who would have noticed? Auslander probably would have given a little chuckle and that would have been it."

--Stephen Pribula '63
Of course that is a neat story, but years of reading the SD proved to me that great neat stories can be great neat lies. Anybody from the Princeton can confirm that?

Today's younger people use the phrase as an agreement:

http://bookbuzz.com/panati/dirtydeed.htm
Fucking-A, on target; absolutely accurate.

http://www.csupomona.edu/~jasanders/slang/csrpf.htm
Used to agree, say yes, yeah, etc. Used in place of "Hell yeah" or "right on". Did you hear Dave got an A? Fuckinaye dude! That's sweet, eh? You're getting a new car? Fuckin' A! [Mendocino College, Ukiah, CA, 1999]
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  #14  
Old 10-07-2001, 07:44 PM
brachyrhynchos brachyrhynchos is offline
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I generally associated "f***in A" with an enthusiastic "Alright!" or "Amen!" In total agreement with some statement, such as:

Guy1: "That guy is totally nuts with his contrail conspiracy theory."
Guy2: "Fuckin' A, bubba!"

verses

Guy1: "That guy is totally on the mark with his contrail conspiracy theory."
Guy2: "Yer a fuckin' A-hole."


When spoken, I haven't had a problem distinguishing the two although I suppose the former could get confusing when written, lacking the verbal intonations. Even did the Google search and many many MANY porn pages later, I found:
Fuckin' A

If GIGObuster's source is correct, then the expression morphed into good by the following decade.
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  #15  
Old 10-07-2001, 08:07 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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When in doubt, go to Lighter.

The college story is not correct.

All cites which follow are from Lighter, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Vol. I:

l. 1947, Mailer, *Naked & Dead* 21[referring to WWII}, "You're fuggin ay," Gallegher snorted.

2. 1961, Peacock *Valhalla* 181[referring to 1953]: Fucking A.

The above are examples of usage meaning "yes indeed, absolutely(correct)." Almost certainly WWII military origins.

1955, Sack *Here to Shimbashi* 18: "That was a mighty freaking-A loud sneeze," declared the sergeant major.

1960, Sire *Deathmakers* 211[referring to WWII]: You can fucking-aye say that again." Used to mean "very well" in this instance.

Lighter says "origin unknown" and adds: perhaps abstracted from a phrase such as "you're fucking A-number-one right!"

While A was used in print since 1940 or so to mean=ASS, there is no evidence that the expression "fucking A" meant anything to do with ass.
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  #16  
Old 10-08-2001, 07:29 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Aha. Now that I'm currently caffeine deprived, this popped into my head: "Fuckin' absolutely!"
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  #17  
Old 10-08-2001, 07:50 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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F a B, it has two holes.
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  #18  
Old 10-08-2001, 10:11 AM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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The phrasing of the 1945 example, "you're fuggin ay," cited by samclem (the earliest reference we've seen) suggests that the phrase evolved from "You bet your fuckin' ass," as suggested by El_Kabong.
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  #19  
Old 10-08-2001, 10:13 AM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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1947, I meant.
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  #20  
Old 10-08-2001, 10:56 AM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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I'm pretty sure Tom Wolfe used in in "The Right Stuff" when quoting one of the astronauts (Grissom, probably). The conversation would have been in the 50's and was presented as typical military speak, although the book was written later.

--Cliffy
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  #21  
Old 10-08-2001, 11:05 AM
Amp Amp is offline
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I always thought the A stood for Awesome, as in Fuckin' Awesome.
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  #22  
Old 10-08-2001, 11:07 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by heptapod
Oh!!! Fuck! Why didn't he fucking say fuck in the first fucking place? That makes things a fuck of a lot clearer. Fuckin' a, man.
Hate to sound prudelike, but isn't that sort of language discouraged (nay, strongly discouraged) outside The Pit?
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  #23  
Old 10-08-2001, 11:38 AM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Amp
I always thought the A stood for Awesome, as in Fuckin' Awesome.
Doubtful, since "Awesome!" is an exclamation of recent mint, while the earliest "Fuckin' A!" cite we've found is from the 40's.

(To clarify: Of course the word "awesome" is ancient, but its use as a one-word exclamation is recent. Derived from surferspeak, if I'm not mistaken.)
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  #24  
Old 10-08-2001, 02:10 PM
BlueMoonofKentucky BlueMoonofKentucky is offline
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I wish that I could find a cite. Not that I haven't tried...

Fuck'n A = Fuck'n Affirmative.
It is Affirmative. Another way of saying "damn straight" or the like. Fuck'n Affirmative.

It comes from military circles and found broad usage after WW2.
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  #25  
Old 10-08-2001, 02:29 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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Yes!! Oh my god, vindication. Whenever I saw the word "Fuckin' A" i always would sort of wonder what it meant and eventually I thought it stood for affirmative. Which I was going to post, but then BlueMoonofKentucy posted it first. So I'll just have to back him up. It's always just made the most sense to me.
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  #26  
Old 10-08-2001, 03:24 PM
Tymp Tymp is offline
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Hmm... I always thought it was "fuckin’ ay," indicating emphatic agreement. This spelling really leaves no question of the meaning. An alternate spelling would be "fuckin’ aye," which means the same thing and sounds very much like "fuckin’ a" when spoken with certain accents.

As a statement of my authority in these matters and to give credence to my assertions, I’d like to point out that I am wearing fuzzy socks.
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  #27  
Old 10-08-2001, 07:40 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tymp
Hmm... I always thought it was "fuckin’ ay," indicating emphatic agreement. This spelling really leaves no question of the meaning. An alternate spelling would be "fuckin’ aye," which means the same thing and sounds very much like "fuckin’ a" when spoken with certain accents.

As a statement of my authority in these matters and to give credence to my assertions, I’d like to point out that I am wearing fuzzy socks.
Fuzzy socks!!?? Well, that settles it folks! I defer to the poster with the fuzzy socks.

--Nott, whose cat has fuzzy socks.
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  #28  
Old 02-27-2003, 07:24 PM
aeropl aeropl is offline
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Can't there be a possibility it evolved into something different, including different uses in different regions?

When I was growing up, it was always used in the context of "fucking asshole." It was used in this context:

highschooler: I just spilled oil on my shirt, fuckin A dude!

I've never heard it in the context of agreeing or affirming something.



Quote:
Originally posted by Cisco
I don't think it does...Think about the context it's used in. It is generally used as an agreement and not an insult. You frequently hear:

"Check out the break in those waves, this is gonna be great!"
"Fuckin' A bro!!"

But you never hear:

"You smell funny"
"You fucking a!"


See what I mean?
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  #29  
Old 02-27-2003, 07:34 PM
slipster slipster is offline
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Just to complicate matters, people sometimes use the expression "fuckin' A" to express confusion or uncertainty, much the same as they might say "what the hell?" of "huh?"

In such circumstances, "A" seems to be a phonetic rendering of "eh?"
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  #30  
Old 02-27-2003, 07:40 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Seems the Straight Dope answered this one recently here. This thread is mentioned specifically.
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  #31  
Old 02-27-2003, 08:03 PM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
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I'd figured it had to mean "Right on" or something similar ever since I saw The Deerhunter, when Axel used it constantly and always in a positive way.
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  #32  
Old 02-27-2003, 08:37 PM
antechinus antechinus is offline
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Is that how it is spelt, or is it "fuckin' eh", which is what I have allways assumed it was.

[kiwi accent]Sumilar to the way a Kiwi funishes a suntince eh bro'?[/kiwi accent]*

Thus turning it into a rhetorical question.


*please dont take offence Kiwis.
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  #33  
Old 03-01-2003, 07:52 PM
abdul abdul is offline
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WAG = wild ass guess? Just guessing...
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  #34  
Old 03-01-2003, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by antechinus
Is that how it is spelt, or is it "fuckin' eh", which is what I have allways assumed it was.

[kiwi accent]Sumilar to the way a Kiwi funishes a suntince eh bro'?[/kiwi accent]*

Thus turning it into a rhetorical question.


*please dont take offence Kiwis.
We'll try not to. We really will.

And yes: WAG = "wild ass guess".
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  #35  
Old 03-05-2003, 12:10 AM
Angelofthemist68 Angelofthemist68 is offline
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Fuckin A

Quote:
Originally posted by friedo
Well, we must live in alternate universes. I always hear it in the context of an insult.

"What a fuckin' A."
I have always used "Fuckin A" as another way of saying"Right On"
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  #36  
Old 10-27-2011, 07:42 PM
mayray09 mayray09 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cisco View Post
I don't think it does...Think about the context it's used in. It is generally used as an agreement and not an insult. You frequently hear:

"Check out the break in those waves, this is gonna be great!"
"Fuckin' A bro!!"

But you never hear:

"You smell funny"
"You fucking a!"


See what I mean?


ummm actually im very experienced on this phrase being as that i use it everyday and it is not used in agreement it is actually used from fustration and i say freaking a instead of fucking a but same thing anyway imma use ur example

"You smell funny"
"freakin a"

YOU SEE WAHT I MEAN!!??

Last edited by mayray09; 10-27-2011 at 07:43 PM..
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  #37  
Old 10-27-2011, 07:46 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Poster A: Worst zombie reanimation ever
Joey P Agreeing with Poster A: Fuckin' A!

I had a friend that would respond to "Fucking A" with "Fuck a B, it has two holes" and then encourage the other person to continue through the alphabet with her to see how far they could make it without stopping.

Last edited by Joey P; 10-27-2011 at 07:46 PM..
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  #38  
Old 10-27-2011, 07:50 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
F a B, it has two holes.
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  #39  
Old 10-27-2011, 07:56 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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I missed that post, as soon as I saw how old it was I just scrolled down to the bottom to see what brought it back to life.
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  #40  
Old 10-27-2011, 08:02 PM
Maggie the Ocelot Maggie the Ocelot is offline
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IME it can be used as either an ejaculation of happiness or of disappointment.

"Fuckin' A! She said she'd sleep with me!" (I am very pleased that she has done so)

"Fuckin A! He came already!" (I am very displeased that he has done so.)
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  #41  
Old 10-27-2011, 08:18 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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Moved from General Questions(where it was OK in 2001) to Comments on Cecil's Columns/Staff Reports.

samclem Moderator
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  #42  
Old 10-27-2011, 08:22 PM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
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In" Deerhunter' the big guy said" Fuckin A" a lot. it was meaning more like "cool". It was not used as an expletive. It was not insulting. Unless you are a Mormon.
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  #43  
Old 10-27-2011, 08:34 PM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
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Fuckin A, it's fun to read threads that were started back before the Internet was invented. Quaint times, them.
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  #44  
Old 10-27-2011, 08:57 PM
Laggard Laggard is offline
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I always used Fuckin' A as a thing to say when pissed off. "Fuckin A! My car won't start."
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  #45  
Old 10-27-2011, 10:39 PM
digs digs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cisco View Post
...you're acting pretty immature for this forum if I may say so...
This took me by surprise, so I looked up and checked... no, I'm still at the Dope...
Then I cracked up. The facetiousness...hilarious...well played!::catches breath::
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  #46  
Old 10-27-2011, 10:41 PM
Terr Terr is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo View Post
Well, we must live in alternate universes. I always hear it in the context of an insult.

"What a fuckin' A."
Hm this is literally the first time I have seen the expression used this way.

On edit: oops I see this is a zombie thread. Never mind

Last edited by Terr; 10-27-2011 at 10:43 PM..
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  #47  
Old 10-28-2011, 05:32 AM
gamerunknown gamerunknown is offline
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I always thought it was "Affirmative" after watching the Deer Hunter (military context). My friend used it in the sense of "Fucking Awesome" but doesn't any more.

Perhaps I'll have to inform him that he should specifically use it in the "absolutely" sense rather than the "affirmative" sense now?
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  #48  
Old 10-29-2011, 01:38 AM
RearEchelon RearEchelon is offline
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"Fuckin' A" meaning "Fuckin' Asshole" just doesn't make sense. You're already saying 'fuck,' why would you then censor a much milder swear like 'asshole?' It would make more sense in this case to say "f'in asshole."
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  #49  
Old 10-29-2011, 07:08 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RearEchelon View Post
"Fuckin' A" meaning "Fuckin' Asshole" just doesn't make sense. You're already saying 'fuck,' why would you then censor a much milder swear like 'asshole?' It would make more sense in this case to say "f'in asshole."
I don't know, but this reminded me of a Halloween when I was in undergrad and one of my friends confronted his (very large) suite-mate and said

"Why'd you go and smash my pumpkin ya fuckin' jerk?"

The juxtaposition of those two words, fuckin' and jerk, was pretty hilarious.
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  #50  
Old 10-30-2011, 12:29 AM
BigT BigT is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RearEchelon View Post
"Fuckin' A" meaning "Fuckin' Asshole" just doesn't make sense. You're already saying 'fuck,' why would you then censor a much milder swear like 'asshole?' It would make more sense in this case to say "f'in asshole."
But then, why censor any other word?

I personally associate it with "fucking amazing," with the insult being sarcastic. Now I'll go check out the article and read the rest of the thread to see if I'm right.

Well, it seems that no one knows. So I invite you to try replacing "Fuckin' A" with "fucking amazing" and see how well it always fits.

Last edited by BigT; 10-30-2011 at 12:33 AM..
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