Turns out, people were dropping the f-bomb way back in 1310. When British Historian Paul Booth of Keele University was flipping through a court document from the city of Chester, he made an entirely unexpected discovery: An outlaw listed by the name of "Roger Fuckebythenavele." Believed to be a nickname, this marks the oldest written use of the f-word in the English language."Fuckbythenavele," apparently, was not a complimentary nickname:
The word appears three different times in the 1310 document, suggesting that "Fuckebythenavale" was a nickname and not simply a one-time joke. "I suggest it could either mean an actual attempt at copulation by an inexperienced youth, later reported by a rejected girlfriend," Booth said of the term's likely meaning, "or an equivalent of the word 'dimwit,' i.e. a man who might think that was the correct way to go about it."I guess this makes "Fuckbythenavele" the 14th-century equivalent of "fucking moron." Poor Roger.
Personally, I am not surprised that "fuck" was in use so much earlier than thought. I bet it was in use even earlier. Think about modern-day advertising. By the time an expression shows up in national ads, it is passe in current slang. Think about "Best. Day. Ever." I've heard it in several different ads lately, for different companies. I think its day in popular culture ended a couple years ago.
Take that back to the 1300s for a second. Communication back then was dramatically slower. It probably took years for things to become part of universal popular culture, including the F-bomb. If there is an F-bomb in print in 1310, I'll bet it was a thing decades before that.