More hucking

In my previous posting on the verb huck and the compound noun huckfest, I noted their use in a variety of sport and stunt contexts and suggested the obvious connection to fuck. But then it occurred to me that huck might have had an independent origin and was later recruited for use as a euphemism.

There are certainly uses of huck as a euphemism, for instance in this comment on a political blog:

I usually hand them their head on a silver platter. But philosophically, I don’t give a huck. (link)

It’s important that the context doesn’t include extreme sports, the politician Mike Huckabee, or Huckleberry Finn, all factors that would bias things in favor of huck.

(By the way, huck doesn’t appear in Jesse Sheidlower’s authoritative The F Word.)

Then there are examples pretty far from euphemistic huck, with huck it big/huge used to convey something like ‘go all out’, as here:

When you get to know Bonnie it will not take long for you to hear her say, “Huck it huge!” ‘Huck it huge!’ is Bonnie’s way of saying… ‘go for it with your whole heart and don’t hold anything back!’ (link)

Tons of occurrences of huck it big in sporting and stunting contexts:┬ámotorbike aerial stunting, kitesurfing, biking, skiing off cliffs, (motorized) snowsledding, whitewater kayaking, and so on. And for plain huck as well. For instance, there’s a Facebook group “Waterfall Runners anonymous”, with the description:

We huck it. Big ones, small ones, medium ones. If there’s a runnable waterfall we run it. (link)

In some contexts huck is more specific, referring to sporting activities involving getting airborne, as here with reference to skiing:

First, repeat this phrase: “Suck it, don’t huck it. The closer you can come to keeping your skis in contact with the snow, the better off you’ll be. (link)

There are tons of t-shirts with huck slogans on them — from the world of biking (“F**k It Huck It Tuck It”) and remote-controlled aircraft (“My dad can huck!”), but mostly from ultimate frisbee:

HUCK U [cf. FLICK U]
I’m not a player, I just Huck a lot!
Disc Huckers
Huck Buddies
Nice Disk / Let’s Huck

Most of the slogans are plays on expressions with fuck. But most of them also have a more specific reference to throwing or tossing in them (as on the Go Huck Yourself site I quoted in my earlier posting), as in this ultimate frisbee t-shirt here:

The Toronto Ultimate Club’s site gives a very specific gloss:

Huck is a common term in the game of ultimate that refers to a long throw downfield, often all the way into the endzone. It is somewhat similar to the term bomb in (American) football.

and then veers off into treating huck as equivalent to fuck, complete with an etymology for it that’s in the right ballpark for fuck:

Perhaps one of the most interesting words in the ultimate world today, is the word huck. Of all the ultimate words beginning with h, huck is the single one referred to as the “h-word”. It’s the one magical word. Just by it’s sound it can describe pain, pleasure, hate and love. Huck, as most of the other words in Ultimate, has originated on campuses. Huck, from German’s “fliechen” which mean to strike.

(Please note: these quotations from TUC are all verbatim.) The piece continues with grammatical commentary, starting with the ‘throw’ sense of the word and going on seamlessly to uses in fuck-avoidance:

As a transital verb for instance, “John hucked to Shirley” ['throw']. As an intransitive verb; “Shirley hucks” [could be either use]. It’s meaning is not always the same [now to fuck uses], it can be used as an adjective such as; John’s doing all the hucking work. As part of an adverb; “Shirley pulls too hucking much”, as an adverb enhancing an adjective; Shirley is hucking beautiful. As a noun; “I don’t give a huck”. As part of a word: “abso-hucking-lutely” or “in-hucking-credible”. Or as almost every word in a sentence: “huck the hucking huckers!”. As you must realize, there aren’t many words with the versitility such as the word huck,as in these examples used as the following words;
– fraud: “I got hucked”
– trouble: “I guess I’m really hucked now”
– dismay: “Oh, huck it!”
– aggresion: “don’t huck with me, buddy!”
– difficulty: “I don’t understand this hucking question”
– inquery: “who the huck was that?”
– dissatisfaction: “I don’t like what the huck is going on here”
– incompetence: “he’s a huck-off!”
– dismissal: “why don’t you go outside and huck yourself?”

I’m sure you can think of many more examples.
With all these multipurpoused applications, how can anyone be offended when you use the word?

Use this unique, flexibel word more often in your daily speech. It will identify the quality of your character immediately. Say it loudly and proudly:
HUCK YOU!

The TUC folks seem to subscribe to the idea that huck is nothing more than fuck. But that leaves us with the question of how it came to be specialized as ‘throw, toss’ (transitive and intransitive) in ultimate frisbee, with a more general use in various sports and stunts for throwing oneself or one’s vehicle off an edge or up into the air. The rest of the development — to referring to enthusiastic or daring participation in such activities, and then to enthusiastic, all-out participation in activities in general — is easy to make sense of, but that putative first step, from the taboo word to uses involving throwing or tossing, still puzzles me.

2 Responses to “More hucking”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Just to stave off irrelevant comments. I’m not talking about just any word spelled and pronounced like huck; the OED has several entries and subentries for HUCK (as both verb and noun), but none of them seem imaginably connected to the uses of huck I posted about.

    This sort of thing happens all the time: other irrevelant lexical items that are phonologically or orthographically identical (or similar to) to the item in question are pretty much guaranteed to exist, especially for short words, and it would be silly to survey all the irrelevancies just to be able to get to point at hand.

  2. -fests « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] By arnold zwicky Continuing my earlier postings on huckfests and hucking (here and here): some words about the compound noun huckfest and the related fuckfest, mentioned in the first [...]

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