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A similar variant on this theory involves the recording by church clerks of the crime of "Forbidden Use of Carnal Knowledge." Another theory is that of a royal permission.During the Black Death in the Middle Ages, towns were trying to control populations and their interactions.There may be a kinship with the Latin futuere (futuo), a verb with almost exactly the same meaning as the English verb "to fuck".From fūtuere came French foutre, Catalan fotre, Italian fottere, Romanian futere, vulgar peninsular Spanish joder, Portuguese foder, and the obscure English equivalent to futter, coined by Richard Francis Burton.One reason that the word fuck is so hard to trace etymologically is that it was used far more extensively in common speech than in easily traceable written forms.There are several urban-legend false etymologies postulating an acronymic origin for the word.
Andrea Millwood Hargrave's 2000 study of the attitudes of the British public found that fuck was considered the third most severe profanity and its derivative motherfucker second. According to linguist Pamela Hobbs, "notwithstanding its increasing public use, enduring cultural models that inform our beliefs about the nature of sexuality and sexual acts preserve its status as a vile utterance that continues to inspire moral outrage." Hobbs considers users rather than usage of the word and sub-divides users into 'non-users', for whom the word "evokes the core sexual meanings and associated sexual imagery that motivate the taboo", and 'users' for whom "metaphorical uses of the word fuck no more evoke images of sexual intercourse than a ten-year-old’s ‘My mom’ll kill me if she finds out’ evokes images of murder," so that the "criteria of taboo are missing." Because of its increasing usage in the public forum, in 2005 the word was included for the first time as one of three vulgarities in The Canadian Press's Canadian Press Caps and Spelling guide.The word is considered obscene, but is common in many informal and familiar situations.