Story Tools: E-MAIL | PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

New edition of Canadian Press handbook includes infamous four-letter word

Last Updated: Sunday, August 14, 2005 | 10:22 PM ET

In a sign of how commonplace profanity has become in our society, the newest edition of Canada's venerable editors' handbook, The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling, includes for the first time one of the most notorious four-letter words in the English language.

In the edition being published Monday, editors will now find the expletive right between FTP and Fudgsicle.

"We found the word was creeping into our news stories on a fairly regular basis, probably because people are saying it more and more in public, and various media pick it up on their microphones and recorders," said Patti Tasko, editor of Caps and Spelling.

Its entry in the 40th anniversary edition of the 215-page guide - the only vulgarity included other than "damn" and its variations and s.o.b. - is designed to give editors guidance. In short: avoid it for the most part. And if it must be used because it adds a valuable news element to a story, spell it out. No f and three asterisks. No "eff word." No freakings, friggings or firkings either, for that matter.

The addition to Caps of what might well be the English language's best-known curse word would have been unnecessary 20 years ago because it just didn't appear in print that often. Now it's routinely listed in dictionaries and commonly heard in movies and popular TV shows. It's used to convey annoyance, despair, anger, incredulity and lust. It's a verb, a noun, an adjective, an adverb - even verbal punctuation.

"It's much more socially acceptable than it used to be," says Katherine Barber, the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. "I hear children using it a lot. I hear them walking down the street saying it, and I mean young children who are only nine or 10 years old. Maybe children that age have always been running around yelling it, but I don't think so. Somewhere along the line it has lost some of its power, but that doesn't mean that it's not still offensive to certain portions of the population."

The word that rhymes with duck is only one of dozens of new or changed listings in Caps, the manual used by thousands of editors in journalism, public relations, government and business. Many of the new entries are technology-related, from BlackBerry to Xbox.

More Canada Headlines »

Crown appeal in Pickton case anticipates defence move: AG
B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal says the Crown will appeal Robert Pickton's second-degree murder convictions, partly because he has always believed Pickton planned to kill his victims.
Federal report calls for carbon tax, trading in Canada Video
A federal advisory panel is recommending creating a carbon tax or carbon-trading mechanism to help Canada reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Nechako River hits 200-year-high, floods Prince George again
The water level on the Nechako River in Prince George reached the highest level in 200 years over the weekend after a large chunk of ice shifted.
Defence will prove Munyaneza innocent, lawyer tells war crimes trial
The lawyer for Désiré Munyaneza, a former Toronto resident accused of war crimes in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, began his defence Monday in a Montreal court.
Ontario residents warned about dangers of sudden thaw Video
A conservation expert is warning residents of Ontario homes near rivers and streams to prepare for possible flooding as heavy snowfall quickly liquefies amid soaring temperatures.
Story Tools: E-MAIL | PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

2nd soldier killed in Afghan rollover identified Video
The Canadian military has identified a second soldier killed in Afghanistan over the weekend in a vehicle rollover during a mission in the volatile Zhari district of southern Afghanistan.
Obama, McCain make surges in N.H. polls Video
U.S. Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are campaigning hard with their messages to New Hampshire voters on Monday, just 24 hours ahead of the state's critical primary ballot.
Kenyan political rivals agree to meet
Kenya's president on Monday invited his chief political rival to his official residence to discuss how to end the country's post-election violence, just hours after the opposition called off planned protest rallies amid fears they could renew violence.
more »

Canada »

Crown appeal in Pickton case anticipates defence move: AG
B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal says the Crown will appeal Robert Pickton's second-degree murder convictions, partly because he has always believed Pickton planned to kill his victims.
Federal report calls for carbon tax, trading in Canada Video
A federal advisory panel is recommending creating a carbon tax or carbon-trading mechanism to help Canada reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Nechako River hits 200-year-high, floods Prince George again
The water level on the Nechako River in Prince George reached the highest level in 200 years over the weekend after a large chunk of ice shifted.
more »

Health »

Health Canada defends drug alert system Audio
Despite evidence indicating seniors are being prescribed potentially dangerous drugs, Health Canada says it can't do anything more to make its warnings about these medications more effective.
Childless men at lower risk of prostate cancer: study
Men who do not have any children — or have numerous offspring — are at lower risk of developing prostate cancer, research suggests.
Ambulance shortage prompts city alerts
Calgary EMS was down to just two available ambulances to transport patients in the city on two occasions on Sunday.
more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Bhutto's book to be published ahead of Pakistan elections
HarperCollins has moved forward the publication of a book by former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto to Feb. 12, just six days before parliamentary elections in Pakistan.
National Gallery to keep director for another year
After completing two terms at the helm of the National Gallery of Canada, Pierre Théberge has been reappointed to the post for an extra year.
CNBC, New York Times strike deal to share video, news online
CNBC and the New York Times will share business, technology and financial news and video online as part of an agreement announced Monday.
more »

Technology & Science »

Zune to launch in Canada this spring
Microsoft Inc.'s Zune portable media player, first launched over a year ago as an alternative to Apple Inc.'s ubiquitous iPod, is coming to Canada.
Scientists restore sight to blind fish
Cross-breeding blind cave fish with those from separate populations of blind cave fish can partially restore their vision, overriding half a million years of evolutionary change, say U.S. scientists.
Sony says unlocked music files in the cards for January
Sony BMG Music Entertainment said Monday it will begin selling audio downloads in the MP3 format later this month, becoming the last of the four major record labels to sell some of their music without copyright protections.
more »

Money »

CIBC hires TSX Group's Nesbitt as part of management shakeup
Stung by the fallout from the U.S. subprime mortgage crunch, CIBC announced several management changes Monday, including the hiring of TSX Group CEO Richard Nesbitt.
Federal report calls for carbon tax, trading in Canada Video
A federal advisory panel is recommending creating a carbon tax or carbon-trading mechanism to help Canada reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Rogers doubles dividend
Rogers Communications Inc. said Monday it will double its annual dividend as the company predicted stronger revenue and operating profits for 2008.
more »

Consumer Life »

10% price hike expected for made-in-China toys, executive says
Consumers could be paying about 10 per cent more for China-made toys this year owing to more stringent quality control checks, according to an industry executive.
McDonald's to launch 'coffee bar war' against Starbucks: report Video
McDonald's plans to install coffee bars to sell lattes and cappuccinos in every one of its U.S. restaurants this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Driverless cars road ready by 2018: General Motors
Cars that drive themselves could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp. executives say.
more »

Sports »

Scores: CFL MLB MLS

Roger Clemens sues ex-trainer for defamation: report
Roger Clemens beat Brian McNamee to court, filing a defamation suit against his former trainer, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Oilers try to close gap in Northwest
Sitting in the Northwest Division basement, the Edmonton Oilers will attempt to make up some ground when they host the New York Islanders on Monday night.
Gainey wants more from Canadiens on faceoffs
Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey has put out the challenge to his defensive centres: Improve in the faceoff circle or you might be replaced.
more »