(It starts with tasty stuff, but eventually there will be some distasteful stuff. Be prepared.)

Yesterday it was Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies, which drew a giggle from me (because I have a dirty mind), So let’s start with fudge and brownies, the foodstuffs.

Fudge. From NOAD2:

a soft candy made from sugar, butter, and milk or cream; chiefly N. Amer. [notably in hot fudge] rich chocolate, used especially as a filling for cakes or a sauce on ice cream

And from Wikipedia:

Fudge is a type of confectionery which is made by mixing sugar, butter and milk, heating it to the soft-ball stage at 240 °F (116 °C), and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. Fruits, nuts, caramel, candies, and other flavors are sometimes added either inside or on top.

… Hot fudge in the United States and Canada is usually considered to be a chocolate product often used as a topping for ice cream in a heated form, particularly sundaes and parfaits. It may also occasionally be used as a topping for s’mores. It is a thick, chocolate-flavored syrup (flavored with natural or artificial flavorings) similar in flavor and texture to chocolate fudge, except less viscous.

… The flavours often found in sweet shops and gift shops are: Clotted Cream Fudge, Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla Fudge, Maple Syrup Fudge, Honeycomb Fudge, Peanut Butter Fudge, Salted Caramel Fudge, Butterscotch Fudge, Penuche Fudge

(Neither source mentions that in the U.S. unmodified fudge usually refers to chocolate fudge. In fact, some speakers insist that anything called fudge must be chocolate.)

An assortment of fudges:


Brownies. From Wikipedia:

A brownie is a flat, baked dessert square that was developed in the United States at the end of the 19th century and popularized in the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the 20th century. It is a cross between a cake and a soft cookie in texture and comes in a variety of forms. Depending on its density, it may be either fudgy or cakey and may include chocolate chips, nuts, or other ingredients. A variation made with brown sugar and chocolate bits but without melted chocolate in the batter is called a blonde brownie or blondie.

Brownies are typically eaten by hand, often accompanied by milk or coffee. They are sometimes served warm with ice cream (à la mode), topped with whipped cream, or sprinkled with powdered sugar and fudge. They are common lunchbox treats, and also popular in restaurants and coffeehouses.

A plate of fudge brownies:


The euphemism. From a 10/17/13 posting with a Zippy featuring Oh Fudge Lucilles Candies in Brants Beach NJ:

Lucilles — note: no apostrophe — makes and sells fudge (among other things, like salt water taffy), but the name Oh Fudge alludes to the cutesy euphemism fudge for fuck.

NOAD2 notes that it’s an exclamation but provides a non-euphemistic source:

exclam. dated nonsense (expressing disbelief or annoyance) SOURCE: Early usage was as a verb in the sense ‘turn out as expected,’ also ‘merge together’: this probably gave rise to its use in confectionery. In the late 17th cent. the verb came to mean ‘fit together in a clumsy or underhanded manner,’ which included facts or figures being cobbled together in a superficially convincing way: this led to the exclamation ‘fudge!’ and to sense 3 of the noun [‘a piece of late news inserted in a newspaper page’].

A late stage in this development can be seen in this excerpt from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial By Jury:

JUDGE. Though all my law be fudge,
Yet I’ll never, never budge,
But I’ll live and die a Judge!
ALL. And a good Judge, too!

From a G&S site:

Fudge is a colloquialism dating back at least to 1700, when it meant a lie. By Gilbert’s time it also meant anything ridiculous or highly unreliable. As a verb it means to obscure the truth. Knight says the word was not applied to candy until the end of the nineteenth century.

The cites in OED2 for the interjection fudge! ‘nonsense!, bosh!’ are not recent (the latest is from Trollope in 1876) and all British. So there’s textual evidence for the interjection in this sense in BrE of some vintage.

But modern AmE has another interjection fudge, used like fuck ‘to express dismay, disbelief, resignation, surprise etc.’ (on the interjection fuck in Jesse Sheidlower’s The F Word, 3rd ed.). It’s clearly a euphemism for fuck, based on phonological similarity, and probably has no historical connection at all to the interjection in NOAD2 and OED2.

fudge ‘shit’. From my 1/9/16 posting “More on the Bundy Bunch”:

One commenter [on the armed occupation and ensuing standoff in Oregon led by rancher Ammon Bundy] even managed to combine the Send Snacks theme with the homoerotic Occupy Me theme by writing

Hopefully someone packed some fudge.

playing on fudge packer, referring to a man who plays the insertive role in anal interourse with another man, used in a semantic extension to refer to gay men in general.

GDoS under fudge:

(US) excrement, usu. in association with homosexual practices; usu. in combs. below [1979 Pete Hamill: “fudgy smell”; 2004 Guardian: “They discover they share a taste for coprophagy – that is eating shit, ‘oily soil’, ‘acrid fudge’.”]

pack/stir fudge to perform anal intercourse [1972]

fudge-packer a derog. term for a homosexual man; thus fudge-packing [1986]; also fudge-nudger [1999]

fudgepot (US gay) the anus [1999]; also fudge tunnel [2002]

The initial sense development is metaphorical, based on visual similarity (and since we have the Guardian quote above, on taste as well; some men into coprophagy report that shit tastes like bitter chocolate, not at all unpleasant — though the smell is another matter; and no, kids, don’t test this out, the practice is seriously unsafe).

Then we get the metaphor extended to V + direct object fudge phrases, referring to anal intercourse, then the corresponding nominals in AGT -er and PRP -ing (referring to someone who engages in this act and to the act, respectively), and then with the AGT nominal extended by metonymy to faggots in general. With the result that a particular guy referred to derisively as a fudge-packer might not engage in anal intercourse at all; what allows for the metonymic extension is just the belief that butt-fucking is the characteristic sexual practice of faggots.

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