Friday, June 9, 2023



Kate and I have started watching the Arnold Schwarzenegger series FUBAR, we like it, worth watching. Arnie has always been a favourite of mine (I can imagine friend Steve M rolling his eyes and groaning).

Here are the origin of some of the expressions used in the title and the first epsiodes.



FUBAR stands for Fucked/Fouled Up Beyond All Repair/Recognition).

It dates from WW2 as military slang, the Oxford English Dictionary listing the earliest citation as being in Yank, the Army Weekly magazine on January 7, 1944: "The FUBAR squadron. ‥ FUBAR? It means 'Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition," referring to unpaid military personnel with erroneous paperwork.

Another version of FUBAR, said to have also originated in the military, gives its meaning as "Fucked Up By Assholes in the Rear". This version is based on a common belief among enlistees that most problems are created by the officers, especially those bearing the rank of general. 

The latter version is also most likely to have had its origin in the U.S. Army, where the senior officers command from the rear, as opposed to a navy, where it is not uncommon for admirals to command a fleet from one of the ships at sea, and therefore susceptible to attacks and death by the enemy. 

The same applies to air force generals, who do not fly and/or directly command airplanes or even squadrons or air wings.

FUBAR had a resurgence after the term was used in two popular movies: Tango and Cash (1989) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

The FUBAR acronym - Fucked Up By Assholes in the Rear – became used by management consultants. Their use of the term might have come about as the result of their frequent conclusions that the cause of corporate problems (inefficiencies and ineffectiveness causing poor profitability or a negative bottom line) was due not to rank and file workers, but rested rather with executives, particularly senior executives.

One possible origin of the term comes from the German word "furchtbar" meaning frightful, negative, or bad. A skilled German speaker pronouncing the word would say something which to an anglo would sound like "Foitebar". Being unable to collectively pronounce the German "rcht" spelling inflection, but knowing the words pronunciation wasn't greatly modified by it, an anglo would naturally simplify it to "Fuubar/Fubar" in common usage. 

A similar scenario had occurred with French "m'aidez" ("help me") becoming "Mayday" in WWI; with contractions not being common in English verbs it was translated as a single word.

Some similar acronyms:


FUBU stands for Fucked/Fouled Up Beyond all Understanding and was also used during World War II.


FRED, meaning Fucking Ridiculous Eating Device, is a slang term in the Australian Army used to refer to the Field Ration Eating Device attached to each ration pack.



SNAFU is widely used to stand for the expression Situation Normal: All Fucked Up, another example of military acronym slang. However, the military acronym originally stood for "Status Nominal: All Fucked Up."

It means that the situation is bad, but that this is a normal state of affairs. It is typically used in a joking manner to describe something that is working as intended. 

The acronym is believed to have originated in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Time magazine used the term in their June 16, 1942 issue: "Last week U.S. citizens knew that gasoline rationing and rubber requisitioning were snafu."

Private Snafu is the title character of a series of military instructional films, most of which were written by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, Philip D. Eastman, and Munro Leaf.



SUSFU means Situation Unchanged: Still Fucked Up and is closely related to SNAFU.


TARFU - Totally And Royally Fucked Up or Things Are Really Fucked Up - was also used during World War II.



In the Arnie Netflix series, Arnie discovers that that his ex-wife’s new boyfriend is investing money in latest entrepreneurial scheme of his ex-wife and their son, which frustrates Arnie.

Arnie, to his CIA techie Barry: “This guy is dumber than I thought.”
Barry: “He’s not dumb, he’s scoring brownie points from Ms. B.
Arnie: “He’s trying to cuckold me! He’s trying to use my son to cuckold me.”
Barry: “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”
Arnie: “It comes from the cuckoo bird. When one bird takes over another bird’s family.”
Barry: “There are a thousand online videos that would disagree with you.”

Was Arnie right or wrong?

A cuckold is the husband of an adulterous wife.

The word cuckold derives from the cuckoo bird, so called from the female cuckoo bird's alleged habit of changing mates, or her authentic habit of leaving eggs in another bird's nest, leaving it to the other birds to hatch the eggs and raise the chicks.

English usage first appears about 1250 in the medieval debate poem The Owl and the Nightingale. Shakespeare's writing often referred to cuckolds, with several of his characters suspecting they had become one.

The word often implies that the husband is deceived; that he is unaware of his wife's unfaithfulness and may not know until the arrival or growth of a child plainly not his (as with cuckoo birds).

In Western traditions, cuckolds have sometimes been described as "wearing the horns of a cuckold" or just "wearing the horns". This is an allusion to the mating habits of stags, who forfeit their mates when they are defeated by another male. The insult is often accompanied by the sign of the horns. A prank in various European and Latin American countries is to surreptitiously hold two fingers behind an unwitting victim's head, giving them cuckold horns.

During the Renaissance, from the 16th to the 18th centuries, Europe had a cultural obsession with cuckoldry. Back then, it was widely believed that women were more lustful than men, largely because they were subject to the whims of their "wandering womb". The womb, it was believed, could move independently around a woman's body, causing her to lose control. Thus, if a man were married, his wife was obviously cheating on him.

This infidelity would cause the poor husband to grow invisible horns, the ultimate symbol of cuckoldry, and the comic figure of the horned cuckold made its way into fictional songs, engravings, and theatre. It eventually became so ubiquitous as to give the impression of a "brotherhood of cuckoldry" wherein all wives were adulterous, and all husbands their hapless fools.

The mockery of cuckolds has also linked cuckolded men to the character of the fool. In the above 16th-century German woodcut, called On Adultery, a woman places a fools' cap (or Narrenkappe — literally, fool's hood, giving rise to the term "hoodwink") on her husband's ears and rubs his head with a foxtail, another symbol of foolishness.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was caught on camera making a variant of the Portuguese horn-gesture behind the Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Pique, in an official EU photograph of 2002. Afterwards, he said he was "just kidding".

In modern times certain so-called men's rights activists have begun using the term "cuck", shortened from cuckold, for a man whose wife is cheating on him. The word has entered the mainstream, particularly after Donald Trump's presidential victory saw an alt-right backlash against the achievements of feminism.

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