What The Feck?

Published July 5, 2013 by M E McMahon


I learned a new word.  Don’t ask me why it took me so long to meet this word, I don’t understand it myself.  I’ve read a massive number of books, and I’ve done a bit of traveling in my younger days.  But, I’ve never seen or heard of the word “Feck” before yesterday.

One of my Irish Blogging Buddies, Tric, wrote a very funny piece that used the word Feck; the way she used it left no doubt that it was a word used to replace the F-Bomb. Now, I’m in love with this word.  You might wonder why I am so excited about learning a simple little four letter word.  Well, let me explain.

I hate the word F***!  I always have and I always will.  It’s offensive beyond belief, it’s crass and it’s vulgar.  I cringe when I hear the word used; I flinch when it appears in a book and I definitely forbid it’s use in my home.

As a writer, refusing to use the word F*** presents a challenge when developing modern day characters.  After all, these days, the word is bandied about in every other sentence by the younger generation.  So, I’ve avoided creating characters that have to use the F-Bomb in my writing.  And, that’s okay, I can live with that.

Well, you might say, the word means the same as the word F***.  But, much to my delight, I found this is not the case.  Although the word is used to replace the F-Bomb, it’s meaning is much different.  According to my buddy, Wikipedia, Feck’s definition is as follows:

It is “employed as an attenuated alternative (minced oath) to fuck or express disbelief, pain, anger, or contempt in a given situation, however it does not mean to have sex with in the same way that fuck does, and those aware of this use consider it a lesser expletive than fuck.”

So, the word Feck opens up a whole new world of possibilities for creating an interesting character.  I would most likely have to make them Irish or Scottish to make the use of the word ring true.  And, who doesn’t love those rascally characters?

So, thank you Tric, for introducing me to a new word, one that I will sprinkle in my conversations and writing from this day forward.  Maybe when people hear or use the expression “What the Feck?” they will start to use it themselves and the F-Bomb can become a thing of the past.  Well, I can dream, can’t I?

Author’s Note:  If you need to see how to use this word to great effect, click here: “Thank you and Feck You!”  Tric shows us the way.


21 comments on “What The Feck?

  • I am delighted to be of assistance in your education! Here in Ireland it has a myriad of uses. Anything from “he is an awful feckin eejit” to “I had a feckin brilliant holiday”, to “for fecks sake Cranky (Ms M. E. McMahon) I can’t believe you never heard this word before.”.and of course plain and simple “feck!”. I don’t actually think there is a way of using it incorrectly. 🙂


  • I have an Irish friend who uses this word and it never sounds offensive, so it could be a good replacement. Im a bit of a prude when it comes to swear words, not saying I never swear but cringe when I hear people using in every day language. An old wise friend told me to only use those stronger words when you are really angry, then they are at there full potential and let you let off steam. I use them on my own and not directed at people. Might be a good thing as writing for children I would hardly need them.


  • Do you believe the F with a “u” is so offensive because of it’s tie to sexual activity, or rather that Feck, rolls out of the mouth with less punch and therefore, does not carry the same aggressiveness/attack feeling as the ‘u’ one does?


  • Very cool. You know what I have never liked is when you are watching a movie with kids and the movie drops the F bomb in without warning or need. I hear and think there is no reason that was needed in the context of the movie. If I am watching a movie where I know it is going to be dropped often, then I am more prepared and don’t have my kids there with me. Take care, BTG


  • This made me chuckle 😉 I watch a lot of Irish indie films… have you ever seen The Garage and Killing Bono… and TV comedies… have you seen Mrs. Brown’s Boys… so Feck is part of my vocab as is F***. I watch a lot of Brit Flicks too. I do use the word F*** quite a bit, I try to tone it down in polite society and in my posts (stars have been added to F*** in my comment to reflect your sensitivity to it) because I know people find it offensive, but occasionally I use it outright. Sorry. Swearing is a part of me, my identity. I try to be considerate, but sometimes… excuses excuses and being authentic to self and all that. I grew up around Italians, so swearing is normal and a part of self expression. My swearing in Italian is much worse than my English version of it. F*** became meaningless to me after I watched an Antipodean film version of Candid Camera. There was one particular scene where the man being punked by Candid Camera spoke with every other word being F*** and F***ing. It didn’t refer to sex, it referred to surprise. I laughed, cried with laughter, and began to realise that for some swearing is not swearing at all but just words, exclamations of surprise. Some people find Omg offensive. Blasphemy. Still we all share this planet and it is important to do so with consideration. But sometimes consideration of the sensitivities of others leads to censorship which leads to suppression which leads to oppression. Not you, you’re wonderful, just sayin’ is all.


    • You are 100% right and I am not one to censor. It is a personal thing and I just avoid the word at all costs. As a writer, some must use the word to properly portray the type of character they are developing. I just try to weather through (if it’s good) and understand the need for them to write the word.

      But, again, it’s a personal thing and everyone has to do what they feel is right for them!


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