10 October 2011

"Absofuckinglutely" is an "infixation"

A post at Sentence First this week explained for me what an "infixation" is:
Affixes are normally added to the start or end of a word, where they’re called prefixes and suffixes, respectively. But sometimes they appear in the middle, as infixes...

Infixation in English is often jocular or playful, as in “Homer-ic” edumacation, or Ned-Flandersy scrum-diddly-umptious, where diddly is infixed and um is reduplicated...

Another familiar form of infixation is expletive infixation, as in absofuckinglutely, where the infix serves to intensify the expression. Less rude is absobloodylutely, and milder still but retaining the structure is absoposilutely, which borrows posi from positively.
More at the link, and further discussion at another post there:
Infixes range from the barely noticeable to the very obvious. They appear as internal plural markers (spoonsful), as vowel links between bases and adfixes (speedometer), and in chemical nomenclature (picoline pipecoline). They show up more arrestingly as intensifying expletive infixes (kanga-bloody-roos, absoschmuckinglutely, fan-fucking-tastic); as intensifying family-friendly infixes (scrumdiddlyumptious); in hip-hop’s -iz- infix (shit shiznit, syrup sizzurp); and as markers of casual vagueness (whatchamacallit, thingamabob) or “ironic pseudo-sophistication” (edumacation, saxomaphone).
You learn something every day.


  1. This brings "a whole nother" to mind for me. It seems so common in conversation, but I only recently thought about what it meant.

  2. I minored in linguistics. There was a paper out at the time by linguist titled "Fucking Insertion" that was about the grammatical structures if inserting the F word. For example, there must be equal number of syllables to sound right. Interesting.

  3. I made a little comic about this recently... http://tankhughes.com/?p=490

  4. When I was at school (many MANY years ago, we found, in the library, a Dictionary of American Slang.
    There, on the first page, was "Absofuckinglutely" defined, if i remember, as "Yes. certainly"

    I seem also to remember "To F*ck through a keyhole" being in there - but absofuckinglutely certain I can't remember what it meant!

  5. Infix notations are par for the course in symbolic logics. So far as I know, no one has proposed a "fucking" operator. I think such an operator would be monadic rather than connective. And an epistemic operator too. "Absolutely" might represent one epistemic state and "absofuckinglutely" would represent another.

  6. I took a linguistics class in college (20 years ago), and while I enjoyed it (being a word geek) I only remember two things clearly. The first was infixation, because our prof screwed up his example. He meant to say "unfuckingbelievable" but instead said "unbelievafuckingable" -- he said it twice. The other thing I remember was his explanation of aspirated consonants. For some reason (English wasn't his first language, but he was an excellent speaker, so he had to know) his example to show the difference between an initial aspiration and and ending non-aspirated consonant was "tit." He kept repeating it so we'd hear the difference. A smartass in class raised his hand and asked if that is true for "boob" too. The prof's expression never changed as he said "no, it isn't."

  7. I recall in my years of edumacation that I did play the saxomaphone, but today is my first time ever knowing I had played such an instrument!

    While I was familiar with "edu-ma-cation," a friend used it in an email to me, and I read it with this pronunciation: "Ed-dum-ma-ca-shun!" The author's use of underline under the "ma" infix syllable allowed me to avoid the "dum" syllable.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...