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We should presume that the phrases "fuck your mother", "fuck your mother smelly cunt", "mother-fucking bastard" existed in the Chinese alt-cultural vocabulary for centuries in various dialects, having a high frequency of usage when the need for profanity arises. May be, I need to verify with people who speak the language/dialects. It is accepted that the term mother-fucker in English originated in the United States around the 1970s and not earlier than the 1960s. And that it was popularised by African American gangsters.

I am proposing that the English term mother-fucker came into existence due to the confluence of Chinese and African-American cultures. I am theorising that its existence is due to among other such confluences, the interaction and/or cooperation between Chinese Triads and African American gangs which started to occur in the 1970s.

Imagine the scenario - a botched co-operation between an African-American and their Chinese counterpart - so the Chinese gangster yells at his African American partner "Fuck your mother". Or a racist Chinese grocery store owner, shooing away Blacks he feels are not in his shop to spend money. So, the African-American yells back, "Fuck your mother, you mother-fucker." And the phrase took off.

I am arriving at this scenario, because of my personally having witnessed a verbal altercation between a Chinese. Malayalam and Sinhalese man in the far-east in the 1970s. where the Indian men each yelled back, "Fuck your mother, you mother-fucking bastard", in response to the Chinese man's yelling "Fuck your mother". I mean, these three men were actually friends but they somehow got into this amazing deprecation match. Which means, I personally witnessed the English term mother-fucker used in one instance in the early 1970s, not in the US, but in the far-east, by three English-speaking Asian compatriots of different ethnicity in a recreational verbal-bantering match.

Certainly, my observation and theory would be disagreeable to many African-Americans who claim that the term is purely of African-American origin.

So, what triggered the existence of the term in English? Did African-Americans use the term in the 19th century? Is the term purely of African-American origin?

  • users with less than 150 reputation can't create new tags. The tag 'profanity' is new. Try using an existing tag instead. Could someone help tag is this as "profanity"? – Blessed Geek Oct 2 '12 at 9:48
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    Blessed Greek, there are too many questions in your question. Please narrow it down to one or two main questions which the core of your question is about. – Alenanno Oct 2 '12 at 10:15
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    three early quotations from OED: 1918 Let. in Jrnl. Amer. Hist. (1995) 81 1585 You low-down Mother Fuckers can put a gun in our hands but who is able to take it out? 1941 G. Legman in G. W. Henry Sex Variants II. 1172 The superlatively derogatory colloquial epithet, mother-fucker. 1956 Amer. Speech 31 111 This linguistic vacuum is being filled by a new obscenity symbol, mother-fucker. – jlovegren Oct 2 '12 at 16:31
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    What is the Chinese for "motherfucker"? Is it literally "mother" and "fornicate"? I suspect what you witnessed was a coincidence because I live in Seoul and my friends very often product literal translation of Korean words. IF the men were friends, it would make sense that their idiolects would influence each other. Similarly to your observation, the Mandarin (and Korean) for "girlfriend" is literally "girl" and "friend". So far as I know these originated separately. – acattle Oct 3 '12 at 2:02

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