Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Fuck Definition:

To denunciate something, or a general swear word without necessarily referring to sex.

Related Terms: Obscenity, Corrupting Morals

In R v White, Douglas Allan White walked around with a t-shirt on which was emblazoned with the words FUCK OFF.

White was charged with being "clad as to offend against public decency or order", then §159(2) of Canada's Criminal Code.

Judge Bice of the Ontario Provincial Court acquitted White but added:

"One must decide whether or not the words in themselves would be obscene.... While the said four-lettered word has in the past been used as a slang or vulgar expression for the act of sexual intercourse, I would venture to suggest that the same word in this day and age lost to some extent that meaning and is used as a general cuss word or swear word without necessarily referring to sex.

"In the circumstances under which the word was used on this occasion, I cannot find that it was used in such a manner as an undue exploitation of sex nor was the youth wearing the sweater attempting to deprave and corrupt those persons in the area whose minds were open to immoral influence....

"I am, of course, in no way condoning the actions of the accused by wearing the shirt and one wonders even further what depraved minds would print such words on shirts and offer them for sale."

Eight years later, fuck was again on trial, this time before Judge Greco of the Ontario Provincial Court, in R v Stewart.

Mr. Stewart appeared at a Canada Customs booth wearing a prominent button which read FUCK IRAN. He was charged under the same section of the Criminal Code, §159(2). The judge had to ask himself whether the button was a "disgusting object"?

Stewart was dismissed, Judge Greco writing:

"In early times, which times are still within the recollection of this court, the word which the Crown relies on as making the button in question disgusting meant to have sexual intercourse. It is put, however, that such meaning is no longer the sole interpretation to be given the word, and that in common parlance such meaning is not the meaning intended to be conveyed at all. Surely, with respect to the button in question the author did not intend to convey the notion that everyone should engage in sexual intercourse with Iran. Such an interpretation would be ridiculous to the last degree. One must, I believe, conclude that the word used on the button, given the present political relationship and climate which exists relative to Iran, is meant as a denunciation of that country. In other words, it is a more than forceful way of saying, Down with Iran! or, if I may, To hell with Iran!"

"It is put that the use of the word in question is quite prevalent in our society today, among certain people, that is, and that, as already stated, the meaning to be attached to the word generally has changed. The gap between its original meaning and its present-day meaning is the size of a gigantic chasm."


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