Etymology question, BFG

I am having no luck googling the origin of BFG for Big Fucking Gun. Every search I get either points to the"Big Friendly Giant" book, or DOOM the video game. Which Is where this whole thing started.

I was talking to a guy and the conversation ended up with me saying “BFG” and him claiming it was invented by DOOM. I know very well the term was in use before that, and I assumed it was going to be a 10 second google to show usages long before that.

But I am unable to bend Google to my wishes so far.

Not an etymology, so much as an origin story.

Spoiler for the faint-hearted link clicker: The term appears to have been introduced in the FPS Doom.

Google was very cooperative when I searched for “Big Fucking Gun” instead of “BFG.”

I’ve heard of BFH for big fucking hammer long before doom came around. I always assumed ID software took it from that.

Huh…I could have sworn it originated in Quake but I’m not going to argue it.

Doom certainly makes sense.

Quake 2 had The Big Gun, which was a ground-to-orbit space defense weapon that looked like a revolver the size of a skyscraper. No effing involved.

There was this in Quake 2 but looks like it was a ripoff from Doom:

Interesting. I hadn’t heard the term, but I have heard scuba divers refer (often derisively or self-deprecatingly) to a BFK–as in one of those 6+ inch blades you totally don’t need strapped to your leg because honestly a Trilobite will probably work better for cutting you out of an entanglement and you will never get to fight off a shark anyway.

BF(something) was around long before Doom. BFC was a common engineering term for Big Fing Capacitor, for example (common in large power supplies), and I had also heard of BFH for Big Fing Hammer as snfaulkner posted. So BFG for Big F***ing Gun wasn’t really a stretch for Doom. In fact, IIRC, in the game they just call it the BFG 9000 with no explanation for what the BFG stood for. It was pretty obvious to anyone who played the game, though.

That said, Doom definitely popularized the term BFG. Since BF(x) was around before then, it’s possible that someone else came up with the same acronym at some point, but it definitely was not in widespread use before Doom came out. I think it’s fair to give Id software credit for this one.

It wasn’t that obvious. In fact, it confused enough players that the name was explained in the Official DOOM FAQ, which was widely distributed on Usenet and on dial-up BBSes. The FAQ was eventually included with the game itself, even. Here’s what it says:

So technically it’s “fraggin’”, not “fucking” (but nudge-nudge, wink-wink).

That really amazes me. I know without a doubt one of my friend’s older brothers in the Air Force called the A-10 a “BFG with a seat and wings” Which, when he explained it, was of course so cool we all crammed it into every situation remotely plausible for 6 months. And the latest that could have been was '85. Over the years I became convinced that it was a term used by military dudes for a long time.

And thanks all.

This. In the early '90s my grad-school advisor referred to the unusually large laser in my lab as the “BFL.” This predates Doom.

In 1992, I started a new job as a bike mechanic. In that shop, we had a BFW—a wrench—and called it “the BFW.” This predates Doom, I believe.

Also, the US military used to issue ugly black eyeglasses frames, which were universally referred to as “BCGs” (birth control glasses). The B-52 has long been known as the BUFF: Big Ugly Fat Fucker.

Because the military has a penchant for wry acronyms and because guns are well within the military wheelhouse, I’d be shocked if “BFG” came from elsewhere. I guess it could have, but that just seems FUBAR to me. If I’m mistaken, of course, that would be a SNAFU.

I honestly thought you meant one of these and was like, “Whuh?”

In the 60s we used BFD, where “D” stood for “Deal”. (If asked in “polite company” what that stood for, we said “Big Fuzzy Duck.”

BFx for various values of “x” had to be common going back at least that far.

That is exactly the kind of thing. When you are a young and first hear SNAFU and FUBAR, and what they mean, you think it is so cool, that you are part of a club that knows the secret,dirty things. Then as you get older you start to realize that absolutely everybody knows what they mean. BFG was just one of those, and I was sure it would be easy to find proof.

I remember first encountering “BFG” in particular in Doom, and immediately getting what the BFG in “BFG 9000” meant. That was circa 1992? 1993?

That in turn was because I’d read National Lampoon’s Doon, a parody of Frank Herbert’s SF classic work Dune, in the mid-1980s, wherein Pall Agamemnides gives a “ritually flip” response of “Bee Eff Dee!” to someone, which puzzled me for a bit until I worked out that it stood for “Big F’ing Deal!”, a phrase I was already well familiar with verbally.

I’m going to hazard a guess that a general construction of “BF<X>” is fairly obvious, and in fact commonly used, once you are introduced to it.

The 60s, eh? Heh.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if this construction has roots in the military, going back to WW2 or something.

This reminds me of a former co-worker, a very soft-spoken and diminuitive young Indian woman on a software development team I was on as a young man right out of college, who referred to a rather abrasive consultant hired to join our team as “the LBF” outside of his hearing.

I wasn’t sure if this was an Indian colloquialism, so I asked another Indian colleague on the team what that meant. “Oh, that’s her nickname for him behind his back. That Little Bald Fuck.”

I actually gasped and raised my hand to my mouth. They never let me live down that reaction.

Checking around I see some references to a Gatling autocannon from the 50s and a kitted out M60 in Vietnam being called BFGs.

Problem: the sites seem to be influenced by recent terminology rather than quoting historic descriptions.

There is also the opposite measure, an RCH*, used in carpentry. This denotes a very small increment, approximately a millimeter. This was in use 30 years ago.

*Red C–t Hair