Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (2023)

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (1)

The Real Housewives of New Jersey is very often on in my house, blaring from a television or phone or tablet. I hear it more than I see it, and it is a fantastically fun show to listen to, if you have an ear for regional dialects. My god, the vowels these people use! It’s like a chorus of airhorns.

One word that the Housewives use, sometimes to excess, is “friggin’,” as in, “These people are friggin’ animals.” With that friggin’ word constantly ricocheting around my apartment, it’s impossible for me not to wonder: where does it come from? And what about all the other soundalike words we use to say “fucking” without actually saying it? What determines whether someone says “friggin’,” “frickin’,” or “freakin’”?

“Fuck,” or “fucking,” dates back as far as the early 14th century, but it’s not until the late 15th century that historical linguists have lots of examples to toy around with. There is a whole group of words that are etymologically related, throughout all the Germanic languages (English, German, Dutch, Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic). “They’re all short words beginning with an “F” and ending in some kind of stop consonant, with something in between,” says Jesse Sheidlower, a lexicographer and author of The F-Word, a history of the word “fuck.” These words all meant something like “to strike” or “to thrust,” which led to a sexual meaning.

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (2)

But though the word is pan-Germanic, English was the real “fuck” pioneer, responsible for the earliest examples of words that are definitely “fuck.” Most of the other Germanic languages now have some kind of variation with its own sexual connotation, but English was first.

The use of the word as an exclamation (as when you stub your toe) or as an intensifier (as in “New Fucking Jersey”) is much newer. “The earliest clear example of ‘fucking’ as an intensifier is from the 1890s,” says Sheidlower. Certainly expletives and profane language are harder to track than most words, given that people are often reluctant to write them down, but Sheidlower was confident that if the word was used in this way earlier than the 19th century, we’d know about it by now.

Here’s where things start to get goofy. A word that is similar to (either in sound or meaning) but is not quite a profanity is called a “minced oath.” We don’t really know how old minced oaths are; examples from centuries past tend to be more like puns or double entendres than what we’d consider now a minced oath. (“Frickin’” is a minced oath, because it has no real meaning of its own but is used because of its sound similarity with “fucking.” A Shakespearean joke where a character says “country,” with extra emphasis on the first syllable, is a pun, sort of.)

(Video) Tom Brady's Wicked Accent

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (3)

According to Google’s Ngram, which tracks the frequencies of printed words over time, the major three minced oaths for “fucking”—”freaking,” “fricking,” and “frigging”—all came about at around the same time, starting in the 1920s with minimal use and then really taking off in the 1950s and 1960s. Nobody seems to know why this happened, except that minced oaths have to be born after a word is firmly entrenched as a profanity. In other words, “fucking” has to be common before anyone would know what you were saying when you say “fricking.”

Was there also something about the culture of the mid-20th century that encouraged the use of these minced oaths? Probably! But any explanation would involve working backwards to come up with a guess; there isn’t any data about that kind of thing.

In any case, by the late 20th century, minced oaths for “fucking” were standard. And weird. The entire idea of a minced oath is bizarre, a pure example of how completely arbitrary language can be.

“You want people to know exactly what you mean, but you don’t want to be on the record having actually said it,” says Benjamin Bergen, the author of What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves. “We don’t think that anyone we’re talking to doesn’t know the word, we don’t think they’re going to think we don’t know the word when we say something different, but we’re all party to this agreement.” “Frickin’” is an unspoken contract we’ve all signed, saying that one word is forbidden, but a similar word can stand in while in polite conversation.

You might notice we haven’t talked much about “friggin’” yet, and that’s because “friggin’” is not quite like the others. From the 15th century until the late 16th century, “frig” was an innocent verb in English, meaning to move rapidly, to rub, or to chafe. It was its own word, entirely unlike “freaking” and “fricking,” which are, essentially, made up words which sound like “fucking.” (Yes, “freak” is its own word, but “freaking,” as a verb or expletive, is entirely unrelated and born much later.)

By the late 16th century, “frig” had taken on a sexual meaning, referring specifically to masturbation, and usually female masturbation. The earliest examples were kind of punny, used by wordy playwrights and writers as a way to talk about sex cleverly. But soon the masturbatory meaning eclipsed the nonsexual meaning. “Frig” was a very common expletive, if a fairly mild one, until around 1850, when it suddenly dropped off in popularity. Until, that is, the word was reborn.

(Video) Dr. Evil — sharks with laser beams attached to their heads — HD

A century later, “frigging” was dug out of the closet, now used as a minced oath for “fucking.” This is, to say the least, not how minced oaths usually work—they’re typically minced oaths, not reconstituted ones. “Frigging,” previously profanity in its own right, lost both its edge and its original meaning and became wholly acceptable as an anodyne substitute for a completely different swear word. “By the mid-20th century it’s become a minced oath, so it’s not considered offensive anymore, really,” says Bergen.

Depending where you live, though, you might never hear “friggin’” from anyone except the Real Housewives. Where do people say “freakin’” compared with “friggin’”?

Jack Grieve, a linguist at Aston University in England, has created a truly magical tool to look at just this kind of thing. His WordMapper collects about a billion tweets geotagged in the U.S. from late 2013 to late 2014, and plots the 10,000 most commonly used words. You can search any word and see its geographic frequency and distribution. For our purposes, we’re using the “hotspot” feature, which adjusts for relative frequency—meaning it controls for the amount of people in each county, so New York City doesn’t just show up as the hotspot for every word.

The data isn’t necessarily foolproof as a way to tell how people speak; after all, it only measures Twitter users, and it’s only looking at how they type. But it’s still a good indicator of where people say certain things, and when it comes to minced oaths, it’s got some pretty weird data.

Let’s first try “fucking,” as a sort of control. What it gives us is basically a population map of the United States: major cities tend to use “fucking” more often, whether they’re New York, Miami, or San Francisco.

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (4)

We tend to get slightly different results if we leave the final “g” off these words, and not every version shows up in Grieve’s top 10,000 list. There’s an entry for “frickin” but not “fricking,” for example.

(Video) How Does Peanut Take His Starbucks Coffee? | Unhinged In Hollywood | JEFF DUNHAM

“Freaking” and “freakin’” both show up. With the “g,” we get the highest use throughout Texas, and, for some reason, in both major American mountain ranges, the Appalachians (well, the western part of them, anyway) and the Rockies (Utah and Wyoming, especially). “Freakin” is slightly more popular, including those regions but also bleeding into Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (5)

“Frickin” is totally different. The map for this word shows the highest frequency in the Upper Midwest, especially Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, with significant popularity also southward in Nebraska.

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (6)

“Friggin” is, again, a different story. (“Frigging,” with the “g,” isn’t popular enough to make the map.) This strangest of minced oaths has the highest frequency of use in Upper New England, specifically in Maine and New Hampshire, with a weird little pocket out in South Dakota and Nebraska.

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (7)

I also tried some different spellings, just for fun. “Fucken” makes the grade, with very high frequency all around the Pacific Coast, from Washington to Oregon, California, and into New Mexico and Arizona.

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (8)

“Fricken’,” too, shows up on the map, with an expanded map similar to the one for “frickin’.” This time, it hits Michigan, through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and to the Dakotas.

Where Do People Say Friggin', Frickin', And Freakin'? (9)

The obvious question, when presented with these clear regional boundaries for our favorite “fucking” substitute, is, well, why? The unfortunate answer is the same one you often get when you ask linguists why people speak the way they do: we have no real idea.

(Video) Mac DeMarco // "Freaking Out The Neighborhood"

“We do have some good explanations for regional patterns in the vowels and other aspects of sound systems of American English dialects. But when it comes to idiosyncratic, fast-changing lexical items like soda or friggin’, it’s hard to track the origins,” says James Stanford, a linguist who studies the dialect of New England at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Could it be because Mainers and other New Englanders use a dialect rich in archaic English words, like a variation on “aye” that’s sometimes spelled “ayuh”? Sure, maybe. But also maybe not. It’s not really possible to find out.

Stanford, though he doesn’t know why it’s the case, agrees that “friggin’” is remarkably popular in northern New England. “I’m around Northeast students all the time here, and I think I hear them say friggin’ quite a bit (but the unvarnished f-word is the most popular),” he writes. “But we haven’t done a quantitative study.” As usual, we have a much better sense of where, when, and how people speak. As to why Mainers say “friggin’” and Minnesotans say “frickin’,” well, that remains a freakin’ mystery.

Read nextIn 1912, Thousands of Women Rallied Against 'Useless' Christmas GivingMembers of The Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving were known as Spugs.

pop culturelinguisticslanguagefeatures

(Video) I was left speechless 😤 #couple #couplecomedy #shorts


What is friggin slang for? ›

(frɪgɪŋ ) adjective [ADJ n] Frigging is used by some people to emphasize what they are saying, especially when they are angry or annoyed about something. [informal, vulgar, emphasis]

Is frigging a rude word? ›

"Friggin'" is an angry word. From here, it's a really slippery slope to the f-bomb, so please be careful.

Where does freakin a come from? ›

Definition: an expression of anger or surprise, used as a euphemism for the f-word Freakin' A Origin: The f-word has come a long way in history, and its most recent transition was to the word freaking which is more acceptable in spoken language, then freaking lost is 'g' through clipping and now some time later it's ...

What does the German word Frickin mean? ›

Frickin' is quite commonly used where it is inappropriate to use the "F" word. They share the same meaning, it is merely saying it without saying it. #1.

Do Americans say friggin? ›

“Friggin” is, again, a different story. (“Frigging,” with the “g,” isn't popular enough to make the map.) This strangest of minced oaths has the highest frequency of use in Upper New England, specifically in Maine and New Hampshire, with a weird little pocket out in South Dakota and Nebraska.

What is the slang word for freaking? ›

synonyms ▲ Synonyms: effing, flaming, flipping, fricking, frigging. You're getting on my freaking nerves!

When did the F word become vulgar? ›

Historians generally agree that "fuck" hit its stride in the 15th and 16th centuries as a familiar word for sexual intercourse, and from there it evolved into the vulgarity we know today.

Is Frick the same as the F word? ›

F-word euphemisms

Frig, frack, frick, fork, and fug, d'fuq, fux, and WTF (or whiskey tango foxtrot) are all popular substitutions, especially for the spoken f-word.

What can I say instead of the F word? ›

News Across the U.S.
  • Balderdash!
  • William Shatner!
  • Corn Nuts!
  • Dagnabbit!
  • Son of a monkey!
  • Barnacles!
  • Holy cow!
  • Poo on a stick!
Jul 19, 2019

Who made up the word Frick? ›

The origin is ultimately and undoubtedly in a famous partnership of Swiss comedy ice skaters, Werner Groebli and Hans Mauch, whose stage names these were.

What does frigging cold mean? ›

frig·​id ˈfri-jəd. Synonyms of frigid. : intensely cold. frigid water. : lacking warmth or ardor : indifferent.

What is the German word for Shrek? ›

The name "Shrek" is derived from the German word Schreck, meaning "fright" or "terror".

What does the F sound like in German? ›

The German language normally uses ⟨f⟩ to indicate the sound /f/ (as used in the English word fight) and ⟨w⟩ to indicate the sound /v/ (as in victory). However, ⟨v⟩ does occur in a large number of German words, where its pronunciation is /f/ in some words but /v/ in others.

How do you say silly girl in German? ›

silly little girl {noun}

Dummerchen {n} [coll.]

What is the most used swear word in the US? ›

Key Findings
  • 'Fuck' is America's most commonly-used swear word, with 11.62 uses for every 1000 posts on Twitter.
  • With 48 curse words per 1000 tweets, residents of Georgia use the most profanities of any U.S. state, with Minnesota (15 per 1000 tweets) swearing the least.

What is the most mispronounced word in America? ›

In both June and October of 2022, the editors of the tome have released their own lists of the most mispronounced words in the English language, which include such whoppers as “victuals,” “awry,” “epitome” and, yes, “acai.”

Is it OK to say frickin? ›

Yes, "fricking" or "freaking" are basically milder substitutes for the "F-word". They are thus LESS offensive than that word. But this does not make them inoffensive. Listeners will generally assume that you were considering using the more vulgar word but substituted this milder alternative.

Is bloody a swear word yes or no? ›

Bloody is a common swear word that is considered to be milder and less offensive than other, more visceral alternatives. In 1994, it was the most commonly spoken swear word, accounting for around 650 of every million words said in the UK – 0.064 per cent.

What was the first cuss word ever said? ›

Fart, as it turns out, is one of the oldest rude words we have in the language: Its first record pops up in roughly 1250, meaning that if you were to travel 800 years back in time just to let one rip, everyone would at least be able to agree upon what that should be called.

What movie first used the F word? ›

Then in 1970, Robert Altman's comedy M*A*S*H became the first major studio film to use the f-word, a passing comment during a football scene.

What does the G word mean? ›

(euphemistic) The word goddamn.

What is the German F word? ›

Ficken means to f*ck, mit jemandem ficken = to f*ck someone etc. Germans use ficken only in a sexual sense. Most f-expressions in English are translated using some form of Scheiß or Arsch.

In what city do people swear the most? ›

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — Columbus is the most foul-mouthed city in the United States, according to a recent study by Preply. Preply surveyed more than 1,500 residents in 30 major U.S. cities to determine which cities swear most frequently.

Is fart a curse word? ›

When used in an attempt to be offensive, the word is still considered vulgar, but it remains a mild example of such an insult. This usage dates back to the Medieval period, where the phrase 'not worth a fart' would be applied to an item held to be worthless.

What age should you say the F word? ›

Although there's no hard-lines or consensus on a certain age, the general recommendation will be: Never use the f-word if you are under the age of 13. Strongly avoid using the word if you are under the age of 18.

What is the biggest f word? ›

floccinaucinihilipilification in American English

(ˌflɑksəˌnɔsəˌnaihɪləˌpɪləfɪˈkeiʃən) noun. rare. the estimation of something as valueless (encountered mainly as an example of one of the longest words in the English language)

What does it mean to call someone Frick and frack? ›

New Word Suggestion. Two people, usually employees of a company, who are deemed to be incompetent, lazy, or wasting time continuously by doing things other than working.

Who made cuss words cuss words? ›

Etymologies from various sources all tend to agree that the word probably developed from various Germanic languages.

What does Hot winter girl mean? ›

Participating in a 'Hot Girl Winter' is to take the concepts from the summer and continue to do you in the winter. It is the time of building those bridges to the next summer filled with improvements from the one of past not forgetting to build on you being happier with you than you were last summer.

How do you use frigging in a sentence? ›

I failed the frigging test.

How do you say cool in German slang? ›

Geil is one of the most common and useful German slang words you will hear when visiting Austria, Switzerland, or Germany. It generally means "cool", but can also be used for "horny", so make sure you understand the context!

What is Shrek in Yiddish? ›

SHREK means "monster" in Yiddish, and is derived from the German word "Schreck," which means "terror" or "fright." But never fear - SHREK is actually a loveable and misunderstood ogre who is currently starring in SHREK THE MUSICAL, one of our best reviewed shows ever!

What does Bambi mean in German? ›

neuter noun Word forms: Bambis genitive , Bambis plural. (inf: = Rehkitz) young deer. DeclensionBambi is a neuter noun. Remember that, in German, both the spelling of the word and the article preceding the word can change depending on whether it is in the nominative, accusative, genitive, or dative case.

What is ß called in English? ›

The German letter ß is a ligature and is also called a “scharfes s” (sharp s). But it's simpler than it sounds–it actually just means “ss”. The best thing about this letter? It sounds exactly like the “s” sound in English!

What is the funny looking B in German? ›

In German, the letter ß is known as the eszett or scharfes (sharp) S. It's a special character, similar to the German umlaut you're probably used to seeing by now. But unlike those two dots above a, o or u, the eszett is written as a capital B-shaped character with a tail: ß.

Why do Germans pronounce J as y? ›

The spelling of the German word Majonäse was Germanified as part of the recent spelling reforms in the German-speaking countries. The proximity of German 'j' to English 'y' can be seen by the fact that many words imported from English that originally began with a 'y' are spelled in German with an initial 'j'.

What do you call a pretty girl in German? ›

The phrase 'pretty girl' is translated as schönes Mädchen (pronounced: SHUO-nehs MEHD-chehn) or hübsches Mädchen (HUEB-shehs MEHD-chehn).

What do German guys call their girlfriends? ›

Nevertheless, it's quite common for a man to call his girlfriend or wife a "Maus." The term is also a favorite for small children (which, admittedly, have more in common with the tiny animals). In that case, the diminutive, "Mäuschen," is most appropriate.

How do you call a beautiful girl in German? ›

You can use schön “beautiful” and hinreißend “gorgeous” for women.

What does Friggin in the Riggin meaning? ›

"Good Ship Venus", also known as "Friggin' in the Riggin", is a bawdy drinking song devised to shock with ever increasingly lewd and debauched sexual descriptions of the eponymous ship's loose-moraled crew. The tune usually used (especially for the chorus) is "Go In and Out the Window".

What's another word for frigging? ›

damned. crap. bloody hell. damn it​/​you​/​him etc. goddammit.

What are examples of frigging? ›

Frigging is a vulgar slang term defined as emphasize upset, anger or annoyance. When you slam your finger in a door, this is an example of a situation where you might say "this frigging door!"

What is Ropers slang for? ›

(slang) An undercover informer. quotations ▼

What does Goodfellow mean in slang? ›

: an affable companionable person.

What does NUDY mean in slang? ›

(informal) Relating to nudity or nudeness; nude quotations ▼

How do you say shut up in a cool way? ›

shut up
  1. be quiet.
  2. hush.
  3. fall silent.
  4. button it (slang)
  5. pipe down (slang) Just pipe down and I'll tell you what I want.
  6. hold your tongue.
  7. put a sock in it (British, slang)
  8. keep your trap shut (slang)

What is a better word for freaky? ›

erratic. prominent. queerish. off-the-wall.


1. English Slang - FREAK
(English with Ronnie · EnglishLessons4U with engVid)
2. Ava Max - Freaking Me Out [Official Music Video]
(Ava Max)
3. "She is SCARED TO DEATH of Her Dance Teacher!" The ALDC Is MELTING DOWN (S3 Flashback) | Dance Moms
(Dance Moms)
4. I'm Something Else (Official Music Video)
5. 7 Ways The Media Sure Is Freaking Out About Bernie Sanders - SOME MORE NEWS
(Some More News)
6. My Daughter Pranks Ben Azelart For 24 Hours *subscriber dares*
(Jordan Matter)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated: 05/03/2023

Views: 5449

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.