Why does saying something sucks mean it's bad?

Inspired by a recent thread where somebody essentially said their local weather sucks. And a warning that this post (and undoubtedly the resulting thread) will contain some crude language.

There are obviously exceptions but I think it’s safe to say the consensus is that receiving oral sex is good. So why do we use it as a metaphor to say something is bad?

Let’s use football as an example. As a Bills fan, I would say yesterday’s game really sucked in order to express how much I disliked it. But wouldn’t it make more sense for a Packers fan to be saying yesterday’s game really sucked in order to express how much they enjoyed it?

Do other languages use this metaphor? If so, does it have a positive or negative meaning?

Because telling a guy that he sucks something is bad due to long-standing homophobia.

Therefore, anything that sucks is bad and anything bad sucks.

If my bank account was sucking up money, I’d be happy. But a blowhard sucking the oxygen out of the room, that’s bad.
Bank account sucks = good
Blowhard sucks= bad

But when the metaphor is used, it’s always about receiving oral sex not giving it. When I say the weather sucks, I am not saying I am the weather. So I don’t suck; I am sucked by the weather.

Yeah, I know. You are being sucked by the weather. Therefore, the weather is gay, and hence, bad.

Why aren’t you wishing someone well when you say “Fuck you” or “fuck this”?

The OP is assuming that the origin of this use of the word “sucks” comes from oral sex. This is probably the most likely explanation, but it’s not the only possible one, and I have been unable to find a definitive cite for the origin.

From here:

There’s also “sucks raw eggs” as an early use. An egg-sucking dog was a bad thing.

Just don’t try to teach it to your grandmother. She already know how.

Yeah, I was going to say that I assumed the phrase to be derived from “sucks eggs”, which dates back to at least the 1500s.

You seem to be starting with the assumption that there’s a homophobic intent and then working backwards from that. I don’t feel the weather is generally seen as something masculine. And the metaphor is widely applied to other gender-neutral concepts like people saying my job sucks or the economy sucks or this movie blows.

Okay, I can see this. Sucking as a literal act was applied metaphorically to the idea of sucking the good part out of something (like an egg) which was seen as a negative. The use of sucking as a sexual term was a separate meaning.

I’m pretty sure that IS the intent. Why else would it be considered bad?

Maybe it’s not a conscious intent any longer.

Is there any difference between “The Patriots sucked yesterday!” and “The Patriots sucked a bunch of dicks yesterday!” in the aspect of the insult?

My understanding agrees with manson1972.

Same for, “This blows.”

The phrase “sucks” go back long before our current interpretation of “sucks dick.” The term “sucks eggs” has been around for a very long time. The OED cites early usage of “sucks” primarily by children. Here is a thread from 2010 that answers this question.

So, is it safe to say that ONE of the interpretations is that “sucks” and “is a cocksucker” are exactly the same in literal meaning, though no longer the same in intent?

That note reminded me of Lord of the Flies: when Piggy complains that his asthma is bothering him, one of the other boys taunts him with “sucks to your assmar.”

Edit: I said the same damned thing in the 2010 thread. :smiley:

Precisely. My late colleague told me that when he escaped from Germany in 1939, age 16, one of the first things he saw in London was a large sign painted on the side of a building that said “Fuck Hitler”. He know enough English to understand what it said, but he could not imagine why anyone would wish a pleasurable act to Hitler.

There metaphors acquire a life of their own. My son is about to publish a book that could have been titled “Why Software Sucks”. In fact it will have a more prosaic title, something like, “The Trouble with Software”.

I understand what you’re saying but I still disagree. You’re begging the question.

I feel that when most people use the word suck, even as a sexual term, they’re thinking of it in a heterosexual perspective rather than a homosexual perspective. So an expression like “the weather sucks” wouldn’t work as a homophobic insult because the context isn’t there.

I think it’s a simple case of an abbreviation. Sucks (cock). People were more careful at that time to avoid being heard saying “a bad word” out loud, and everyone just knew what it meant. Until they forgot.