Roger Fuckebythenavele was a 14th-century Englishman who was cited in court records of 1310–1311. His name has been proposed as incorporating the earliest recorded instance of the English swear word fuck.
Roger Fuckebythenavele is mentioned seven times (with minor variations in spelling) in the plea rolls of the Chester County Court for the years 1310–1311. The "serjeants of the peace" had been ordered to arrest Roger and produce him before the court, but they had failed to find him, in consequence of which he was outlawed.
In 2015, the historian Paul Booth drew attention to Fuckebythenavele's "opprobrious nickname". Booth argues that "there can be no doubt" that the element fuck in his name "has the sexual connotation". He suggests that either Roger was a man who had tried, through ignorance, to have sexual intercourse through his partner's navel (or believed that this was the correct way to copulate); or that he had engaged in frottage, rubbing his penis against his partner's navel, possibly in order to avoid conception. Booth contends that this is the earliest recorded instance of the word fuck in English.
Other early occurrences of the word
There are several other contenders for the earliest instance of the word in the English language. For example, a Bristol charter from 1373 makes mention of a wood called Fockynggroue. Various medieval manuscripts mention individuals with personal names that can also be interpreted as containing some of the earliest instances of the word fuck. None of these names have conclusively been proven to be unambiguous occurrences of the word.
- John le Fucker was an Englishman whose name contains a possible early instance of the word, appearing in an administrative record of 1278.
- Manuscripts from 1287, relating to Sherwood Forest, mention a certain Ric Wyndfuck. This name is possibly a reference to the kestrel, a bird which was at the time known as windfucker. While this epithet originally derives from the innocuous Old Icelandic word fjúka ("tossed by the wind"), it has been suggested by The Spectator that this word was used in a derogatory manner here: several later English writers, such as George Chapman, used this word as an insult.
- Booth, Paul (2015). "An early fourteenth-century use of the F-word in Cheshire, 1310–11". Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. 164: 99–102.
- Gosden, Emily (13 September 2015). "Earliest use of f-word discovered in court records from 1310". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (14 September 2015). "Historian understood to have found first use of word f*** in 1310 English court case". Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- Wordsworth, Dot (26 Sep. 2015). "The remarkable discovery of Roger Fuckebythenavele." The Spectator. Retrieved 9 April 2018.