Motherfucker (sometimes abbreviated as mofo, mf, or mf'er) is a vulgarism which, in its most literal sense, refers to one who participates in sexual intercourse with a mother, possibly his own.
Like many widely used offensive terms, motherfucker has a large list of derivative terms. Motherhumper, motherfugger, mother f'er, mothersucker, motherlover, mofo, motherflower, motherkisser and many more are sometimes used in polite company or to avoid censorship. The participle motherfucking is often used as an emphatic, in the same way as the less strong fucking. The verb to motherfuck also exists, although it is less common. Conversely, when paired with an adjective, it can become a term denoting such things as originality and masculinity.
Usually the word 'motherfucker' is used in place of a noun in a sentence, such as: That trig problem was a real motherfucker.
Almost always, the word does not actually imply that someone has had sex with his own or another person's mother. Instead it is understood as a swear word, related to the usage of parent word "fuck."
The word is also well known to be used as a single word sentence describing something intense. For example if a person is told an incredible tale or description of an event they may respond with "Motherfucker" said slowly.
The word appears in George Carlin's Seven Words You Can't Say On Television. In one HBO special, he comments that at one point, someone asked him to remove it, since, as a derivative of the word "fuck," it constituted a duplication. He later added it back, claiming that the bit's rhythm doesn't work without it.
The word has become something of a catchphrase for Samuel L. Jackson, who frequently utters the word in his movies, two prime examples being Pulp Fiction and Snakes on a Plane.
- The Compleat Motherfucker: A History of the Mother of All Dirty Words by Jim Dawson (Feral House, 2009; ISBN 781932 595413) is a history of the word in black culture and in American literature, film, comedy and music.
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