February 28, 2013

I love when Ask Metafilter has already dealt with the question I have.

In this case, it's that I need a good substitute for the word "clusterfuck." I can't just use that word in class, but it does often seem to be the mot juste, and I need a synonym.

I'm glad to see it's come up on Ask Metafilter... not that there is a good answer. Debacle? Trainwreck? Imbroglio?

I think clusterfuck is unique. 

136 comments:

chickelit said...

The word has (according UD) a military pedigree: clusterfuck.

My how lefties want to diminish the lexicon

minimus said...

A goat roping.

Bob Ellison said...

"Hot mess".

Sorun said...

Fustercluck. They'll know what you mean.

edutcher said...

Charlie Foxtrot.

Always be a lady.

Hagar said...

Circular firing squad

Pete said...

From James Lileks: Clusterfarg.

bpm4532 said...

That's "President Clusterfuck" to you, though I don't think he'd ever rise to the rank of colonel.

Synova said...

I think that clusterf*ck, besides being really good at evoking the idea of everything going spectacularly and disastrously wrong, also is unique in implying that it all was a sublime group effort.

Other things like the "goat" variations or, I think, imbroglio or trainwreck or debacle don't really have that "joint effort" connotation.

FUBAR almost does it because it encompasses the totality of aspects involved in whatever it was that f*cked up.

The terms don't fit when it's just one (vital) element that went wrong.

Maybe debacle. Maybe imbroglio. I don't know.

Could add "group effort" or even "orchestrated" as an adjective to inform "debacle"...

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

One of the UD definitions suggested...

"A polite term using the same initials would be compound fiasco."

I think that's actually pretty good.

Brew Master said...

Epic Fail?

Your student will identify with it.

toady said...

Goatrope is good.

Among. those who know, there are no virgin goats here.

edutcher said...

There's always SNAFU.

Father would have approved.

James Pawlak said...

"Obamalich"?

TerriW said...

We once watched a crappy kid's movie with hamsters or Guinea pigs or somesuch and their term in the movie was "cluster storm."

Lem said...

Rape rape.

Mark said...

http://translate.google.com/#auto/la/cluster%20fuck

Jay Vogt said...

Nothing approaches the eloquence if clusterfuck.

Circle jerk or gobsmack might at best hint At what you want.

But really! Why avoid saying what you really want say in the first place?

Mark said...

For some reason the phrase "target-rich environment" resonates.

"Their antagonists enjoyed the target-rich environment presented to them."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I like "Charlie Foxtrot," but it doesn't work when you're talking to teenagers. They'll ask you to say what you mean, and then you are back where you started.

edutcher said...

Target-rich environment is an aviation term meaning plenty of things on the ground to blow up.

The connotation is good, rather than bad.

edutcher said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I like "Charlie Foxtrot," but it doesn't work when you're talking to teenagers. They'll ask you to say what you mean, and then you are back where you started.

Considering they've probably seen all the Rambo-Predator-Terminator-Die Hard movies ever made, I'll bet they know it.

But again, these are Ann's students - mid 20s and older - not a bunch of high school kids.

chickelit said...

Pete said...
From James Lileks: Clusterfarg.

That's good. Clusterfark works too and would resonate with the youth.

Anga2010 said...

I think "Train Wreck" works better than the CF because as you observe the cars pile up upon each other, momentum doing it's inexorable job to ruin everything that comes behind the first, you realize that a really bad initial decision has been made.

phx said...

Clustermuck

Tom said...

Just say Cluster. Short and sweet and makes the point in a non offensive way.

Rocky Comfort said...

I like "dumpster fire". It has the out-of-control nastiness connotation, without the potty-mouth overtones.

Jay Vogt said...

You could go with that sci-fi show's alliteration. Clusterfrack.
It would be hard to miss your point. However, if I was saying that to adults. I'd be more embarrassed than if I just went with the original.

Chip Ahoy said...

Rugby match, hockey game, bumper cars, chile roast, bingo ball hopper, pool tournament, Woodstock, a 1968 Democratic convention, a Madison teacher's union protest.

Swede said...

We say "goat rodeo" when the chaplain's around.

rcommal said...

Whoa. This exact term came up, entirely coincidentally, at a homeschool intersection of differing folks early this afternoon today, in real life, with reference to a different topic. So the experience is not on topic, exactly, but on the other hand, a discussion about the point regarding what other word could be used in as precise a fashion of meaning as "clusterfuck" without actually *using* that word absolutely DID ensue.

How freakin' weird, by virtue of the coincidence, is that?

St. George said...

Koyaanisqatsi

JAL said...

kerfuffle cubed?

rcommal said...

(Haven't read any comments on this thread, by the way: previous comment was purely in reaction to the post, which I just saw.)

rcommal said...

And, frankly, I haven't clicked over to Metafilter either. I'd have used the word "yet" except that I'm not sure I actually will. Yet. Otherwise occupied, therefore busy.

Nathan Alexander said...

Soup Sandwich.

virgil xenophon said...

Yeah, it's hard to find another word, phrase or acronym that does the job as well. FUBAR, as has been said, comes close, but no cigar. (I've always preferred FUBB viz FUBAR myself because "beyond belief" tops "all recognition" in my book, lol) Of course, one could fall back on the old phrase "Like a Chinese fire-drill" but I'm sure today's students would find that to be, how shall we say, culturally "insensitive." lol.

Chip S. said...

Here at the coffee house some of us have stopped using the word "clusterfuck" at all, replacing it with the phrase "gay marriage comment thread".

rcommal said...

One very firm conclusion to which I came is that snafu [SNAFU] is not *at all* an appropriate synonym. (Still haven't done the clicks yet: full disclosure etc.)

Erika said...

I like this thread.

St. George said...

Toasted ice.

Mark said...

72 virgins. With machetes. And they're pissed.

rcommal said...

And now having read only the first comment on this thread, I want to weigh in: FUBAR doesn't cut it as a synonym, either--based on what *I'm* referring to, which is today's early afternoon conversation.

Petunia said...

How about FUBAR?

Mark said...

edutcher, I was thinking about being on the wrong side in a "target-rich environment" situation. That's pretty much what a clusterfuck is.

Mark O said...

You are such a naughty girl.

rcommal said...

FWIW, I'm thinking that "clusterfuck" is more a sui generis label, when properly employed, as opposed to its various *kissin' cousins,* which by definition are more generic.

kk said...

I use "clusterhug" when necessary.

Ann Althouse said...

"How about FUBAR?"

I can't imagine saying that conversationally.

Ann Althouse said...

"Hot mess".

That could work conversationally, in class.

Tibore said...

From Wiktionary:
"Derived terms:
fustercluck"


Fustercluck?? Ow, my soul...

Synova said...

The more I think of it, I may start using "compound fiasco."

tiger said...

It IS a unique word - but then most words *are* unique.

What I want to know is how exactly it came into being and defined the way it is.

I think it has something to do with the way the word 'feels' in the mouth saying it:'clussss-ter fuque' - medium sound in the beginning with the soft 'f' and then a hard sound at the end.

Yeah. I think that's it.

Personally I've been using 'train wreck' - where appropriate (actually I've been saying 'what a farking trainwreck' mostly) - the past six months. It real covers a lot of ground and everyone knows what I mean.

tiger said...

"Bob Ellison said...
"Hot mess"."

This one always sounds like someone is having a... *ahem* ...GI tract problem - most likely from really bad Mexican food.

Tibore said...

"tiger said...
"Bob Ellison said...
"Hot mess"."

This one always sounds like someone is having a... *ahem* ...GI tract problem - most likely from really bad Mexican food."


To me, it sounded like someone talking about drunk celebrities...

tiger said...

'St. George said...
Koyaanisqatsi'

Ah you made me laugh.
Out loud.
You bastard! ;)

Chip S. said...

"Hot mess" reminds me of this. It may look like a CF, but it's a damn tasty one.

Bender said...

If SNAFU and FUBAR are appropriate to use in polite company, given the risk that someone might ask what they mean, then Charlie Foxtrot is fine.

Lydia said...

clusterbotch or clusterfud

Chip S. said...

"Contango" should be a synonym for CF.

Can we get that started?

Dante said...

Gang Rape.

I can't think of a generic word or phrase to describe sub-human group action against an (innocent, helpless, different) individual.

It's ugly, and it's real. Like the kid at school that gets picked on by everyone.

There is the word "Outcast," "Pariah," but it refers to the person affected, not the group action. The group has protected itself by subtly pushing the blame on the victim, as opposed to where it belongs on the group.

I've even heard witty statements such as "Well, if many are saying something, you must be wrong." Hammer that nail down.

How about making up a new word.

Cluster fuck doesn't do it, because it could mean random environmental events and not coordinated group think actions. Gang rape is close, but it implies males, and neglects the other aspects of group think that cause such disgusting behavior in people, when people act like a group of chickens pecking a sick chicken to death.

Yes, I'm serious that there is a missing element in our language here, to express the idea that someone who thinks differently, not a group, but an individual, is destroyed for it.

Jube said...

Situation normal.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

tiger,

Koyaanisqatsi

Yeah, I LOLd too. But then Philip Glass really irritates me.

bagoh20 said...

The modern term for "clusterfuck" is "GOP obstructionism", especially when caused by your own policies.

rcommal said...

"Hot mess" is more appropriate for describing, for example, so-called "accidental" displays of one's vagina or penis or of some one or another analogical thing, and sometimes even both and/or all. "Hot mess" might even be appropriate, in terms of analogy, for both many political and partisan concepts and the way in which those concepts have been put forth. All of that has been clear to see for many years.

"Clusterfuck" is something else. Full stop.

n.n said...

dysfunctional convergence (DC)

bagoh20 said...

I do like "hot mess". Not as a replacement for "clusterfuck", which is clearly a group project.

A "hot mess" is an individual who is so oblivious to their overdoing of something that they seem to be throwing firewood on their own funeral pyre. They can only be backed away from and gazed at as they consume themselves and any vestige of self-respect. It's something you don't want to be, but can enjoy watching from a distance.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Freeway pileup has good imagery. Wikipedia says Madison, Wisconsin had a 100 car pileup in January 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple-vehicle_collision

sydney said...

I vote for the "dysfunctional convergence" above.

rcommal said...

n.n.

That's pretty damn great, n.n., your DC is. It's possibly as close to "cluster fuck" as one can get, I think, without (despite?) not capturing the precise immediacy--that is, in the exact moments + situation on point and in question.

To repeat: That's pretty damn great, n.n. Consider it added to the hierarchy of some such that I will keep in mind and ponder.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

How about communal botch up? Botched abortion or botched circumcision if you want to get gender specific.

Lucien said...

"Clusterfuck" -- the (slightly) more politically correct version of "Chinese fire drill"

Mark said...

Orifice cleanser.

bagoh20 said...

I like D.C. too, and the accronym is so appropriate

gutless said...

This one is easy, "cluster fiesta".

rcommal said...

Lucien:

Oh, no: emphatically not. "Chinese fire drill" (and I'm old enough to remember that in common-enough use) is not at all a synonym for "cluster fuck." In a key way, it contains an element of the opposite to it. See: intent.

Inga said...

Flustercuck.

William said...

I saw a show on one of the nature channels about the breeding habits of anacondas. They really do cluster fuck. A whole bunch of them get together and crawl all over each other and thus reproduce. A cluster fuck is an anaconda orgy.

Levi Starks said...

You could pretend you're British, I think they're more comfortable with the word than we are.

But here's an Idea, Just tell your students that there is something you'd like to tell them, but you can't do it in a classroom setting, Then direct them to your blog, in which not being a classroom, but the whole wide world you can shout anything you please...

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck said...

Dear Professor Althouse,

If you are using this term in your law school class, I suggest a reference to People v. Mellish. The defendant, Fielding Mellish, appearing in propria persona objected to the composition of the jury.

Fielding Mellish: "I object, your honor! This trial is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham. I move for a mistrial."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP3uGDEPvzA

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kentuckyliz said...

Das Gruppe Fick

n.n said...

sydney, rcommal, bagoh20:

It describes a chaotic behavior where entities or processes follow diverse paths to circle a bowl (or sink) and are eventually consumed. Not unlike the theoretical model of a black hole, where diverse forms of energy and matter are coerced to merge and are subsequently corrupted or destroyed.

It is the same behavior observed with progressive corruption (PC).

Dante said...

I saw a show on one of the nature channels about the breeding habits of anacondas. They really do cluster fuck. A whole bunch of them get together and crawl all over each other and thus reproduce. A cluster fuck is an anaconda orgy.

Are you sure that wasn't a garter snake orgy? I can't imagine anacondas doing that. The sheer weight would crush them.

Dante said...

n.n. Despite the destruction of matter in the Black Hole, no information is lost. Amazing, isn't it? The posit of losing information was from Steven Hawkins, and it made him famous. But, he didn't solve the problem.

The human reality analogue is that eventually the truth catches up to you. Wish it were true: maybe we just don't live long enough.

edutcher said...

Bender said...

If SNAFU and FUBAR are appropriate to use in polite company, given the risk that someone might ask what they mean, then Charlie Foxtrot is fine.

SNAFU has been since V-J Day. FUBAR is its Vietnam offspring.

It's been protocol to replace the verbal variant of a Roman arch with fouled.

rhhardin said...

Chinese fire drill, if things aren't actually broken yet.

rhhardin said...

I think clusterfuck carries the implication of possible permanent offspring with no plan that's working.

rhhardin said...

A duck, a plan, a canal, clusterfuck.

tmitsss said...

Clusterfuck is not a candy bar.

Aridog said...

Chip S. said...

Here at the coffee house some of us have stopped using the word "clusterfuck" at all, replacing it with the phrase "gay marriage comment thread".

Thread Winnah!

McTriumph said...

I've always wondered when "clusterfuck" ceased to mean "gang bang".

virgil xenophon said...

Just remembered, how about "Group Grope?" Or does that lack the needed aspect of the confused dysfunctional "messiness" of it all and inject sexual implications unnecessarily? And hasn't "hot mess" always had sexual overtones? Usually applied to either a) homosexuals, or b) randy women from the wrong side of the tracks, i.e., David Bowie's "Hot Tramp"?

Lezer said...

Blunderfest.

jim murray said...

circlejerk

jim murray said...

circlejerk

Nichevo said...

Professor, back to basics, before you substitute, what do you mean to convey by CF? What are you trying to define or describe? A metastasis of Murphy's Law? A bunch of people all failing together? Something that is just really bad and fucked up? I'm not seeing the crystalline perfection of CF meaning for which you fear there is no substitute.

Stephen King has a mealymouthed politician in Under the Dome say clustermug.

Hot mess: not only is it a mess, but being hot, is a) likely to stink and stain, b) going to be hard to clean up. In this wise you might try "devil to pay," short for "there is the devil to pay and no pitch hot."

FUBAR: used in Saving Private Ryan, so pre-Vietnam, or anachronism?

Goat rope: what is goat rope? Have been hearing that, don't know what it means.

Chinese fire drill: I thought that's when you stop the car at a stoplight and the driver and passenger or some other passengers jump out of the car run around and exchange seats.

I've been getting some mileage lately out of "That's going to leave a mark."

Nichevo said...

By the way, professor, you say you like to mix it up and so forth, but nonetheless your attempts to use foul language are jarring, unnatural, and IMHO lower you. Profanity or obscenity are refuges of a weak mind, a poor vocabulary or emotions out of control, and very rarely is there no substitute. Quit trying to be cool. If you want to be accepted by the in crowd, just put out for everybody and they'll like you fine.

Jourtegrity said...

We use "GF" - abbreviated version of the goat variety. a lot. Though this has been complicated by the daughters who have gone gluten-free for awhile.

Astro said...

The number 44 is an extremely unlucky number to superstitious Chinese folk.

I'd suggest 'Cluster-44'.

Oh, 44 also happens to be Obama's number as president.

Inga said...

Nichevo, you remind me of a serial killer/ rapist/ torturer with impeccable manners, clean fingernails and a killer vocabulary, with that combination of dead eyes and smiling lips.

EMD said...

Nichevo, you remind me of a serial killer/ rapist/ torturer with impeccable manners, clean fingernails and a killer vocabulary, with that combination of dead eyes and smiling lips.

That's quite the compliment.

EMD said...

You could try SNAFU, or snafu, since it has evolved beyond it's acronym beginnings to symbolize something all messed up.

There was even a video game awhile back called Snafu.

The downside is it just doesn't sound as visceral as CF.

rhhardin said...

Profanity or obscenity are refuges of a weak mind

I always heard it was strongly typed programming languages.

Rumpletweezer said...

Dennis Miller uses "goat-shtup." It's got a nice ring to it.

Tim Morris said...

It doesn't have quite the impact, but from my long ago time in the Army I'd say "Well planed train wreck" holds much the same meaning.

TMink said...

I am with Synova, Fubar works for me.

Trey

Darrell said...

When the rose-colored glasses break, you could use "an Obama" and everyone ('cept Freder and the gang) will know exactly what you mean. Feder et.al. will know, too. They'll just never admit it.

Brits--even the posh ones--have no problem using the harsh words. They do it preferentially. Instead of saying that something bothers you or is weighing you down, say it "gets on your tits." We;re bringing everything from there anyway--what works and what doesn't--so you might as well get started with that.

Try "fire at an ammo dump" 'til then. You'll sound butch as a bonus. Or say "like the LA cops looking for a pickup." The kiddies enjoy the "ripped from the headlines" approach.

dbp said...

My wife and I use CF to denote clusterfuck, mostly when the children are in the room. Mostly.

dbp said...

FUBAR and CF don't really mean the same thing. FUBAR usually means some kind of equipment which is so badly damaged that it is not possible to fix it. A CF is a situation where the task at had is not being done or being done very inefficiently due to lack of leadership or poor organization.

Promomto3 said...

Cockup is close but I'd suggest the modifier "systemic" in order to convey the group dynamic.

It's slang and mildly profane too, of course, but probably would pass muster in more venues.

caplight45 said...

When one person screws up they are said to have "f*cked up. Hence when it is a group of people screwing up and the multiple screw-ups have a multiplicative effect it is a "cluster f*ck" with "up" being understood though not expressed.

There are some words that are not replaceable with polite speech. It is the use of profanity that gives the necessary edge. As such they may not be usable in polite company. I would say that cluster f*uck, bull shit and chicken sh*t are three such terms.

edutcher said...

Nichevo said...

FUBAR: used in Saving Private Ryan, so pre-Vietnam, or anachronism?

In WWII and Korea, it was SNAFU. In 'Nam, FUBAR.

As with a good bit of "Ryan", lousy history.

By the way, professor, you say you like to mix it up and so forth, but nonetheless your attempts to use foul language are jarring, unnatural, and IMHO lower you. Profanity or obscenity are refuges of a weak mind, a poor vocabulary or emotions out of control, and very rarely is there no substitute. Quit trying to be cool.

Second that.

dbp said...

FUBAR and CF don't really mean the same thing. FUBAR usually means some kind of equipment which is so badly damaged that it is not possible to fix it. A CF is a situation where the task at had is not being done or being done very inefficiently due to lack of leadership or poor organization.

Don't know where you heard it, but your CF is the way I heard SNAFU used even as a kid and it's how SNAFU was used in WWII.

bobber said...

Cluster blank.

Kept me out of HR, so you can say it in a corporate setting and not be sent to be reeducated.

Darrell said...

Cluster love!
Who can object to that?

Aridog said...

edutcher said...

Ref: Nichevo said..." FUBAR: used in Saving Private Ryan, so pre-Vietnam, or anachronism? "

In WWII and Korea, it was SNAFU. In 'Nam, FUBAR.

As with a good bit of "Ryan", lousy history.


I passed on this FUBAR assertion the first time, as no harm no foul, but you doubled down on it incorrectly answering a fair question.

Question: Do you ever back-check anything, just in case, before asserting it as hard fact in a comment? Especially one purporting to answer a question about a military acronym?

Like maybe check FUBAR in OED?

I'd suggest that publication of the term in 1944 is WWII era, not Vietnam for origination.

Maybe it's just me.

Darrell said...

edutcher is right about FUBAR/SNAFU. SNAFU is the one closest to CF.

edutcher said...

Aridog said...

Like maybe check FUBAR in OED?

Why would they be the authority?

Just askin'

I'd suggest that publication of the term in 1944 is WWII era, not Vietnam for origination.

Maybe it's just me.


You do like a fight, sir.

I never heard FUBAR until about 1970. I've also seen several books attributing it to the Vietnam War, particularly those that had a section devoted to the slang and acronyms of the conflict.

I grew up with SNAFU.

Darrell said...

There are some 1960s WWII movies that use FUBAR--well at least one. I don't care enough to dig up the title, but I remeber the use. Think it was said among Brit officers--perhaps mentioning that it was another thing they picked up from Americans and not meant in a good way.

edutcher said...

Hmmm,

That you say movies made in the 60s makes me wonder if they just used what was contemporary out of ignorance.

Not disputing what you say, just wondering.

Molly said...

Chip: "Contango" already is a word with a very specific meaning, and the meaning is nothing like clusterfuck. It's like suggesting, "Let's call it 'infield fly rule'."

Maybe I'm not totally with the program about what you would use the term for, but what about "bag full of cats" to describe a situation where nothing is accomplished in a loud and destructive way.

Aridog said...

edutcher said ...

Why would they be the authority?

Oh, I donno ...Perhaps because they cite the first printed publication in Yank magazine 07 January 1944? So does Wikipedia, citing OED. "Yank" magazine was the U S Army weekly magazine from 1942 thru 1945.

Now, my link to OED appears broken so here is the copy & past citation from it:

"fubar, adj.
View as: Outline |Full entry
Quotations: Show all |Hide all
Pronunciation:
Brit. /ˈfuːbɑː/ , U.S. /ˈfuˌbɑr/
Forms: 19– FUBAR, 19– fubar.
Etymology: Acronym < the initial letters of fouled (or fucked) up beyond all recognition. Compare snafu phr., adj., and n.(Show Less)
U.S. (orig. Mil. slang).
Categories »

Bungled, ruined, messed up. Also: extremely intoxicated.
Often used as a euphemism for fucked up (see fucked-up adj.).

1944 Yank 7 Jan. 8/1 The FUBAR Squadron... FUBAR? It means ‘Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition’.
1957 A. O. Myrer Big War ix. 129 What's to this yarn about you being a fubar character from the word advance?
1980 Washington Post 5 June e24/3 The word fubar was coined with Congress in mind.
1990 Rolling Stone 5 Apr. 48/3, I was getting FUBAR by then.
2001 S. King Dreamcatcher xiii. 443 This was my grandfather's and it works just fine... My wristwatch, on the other hand, is still FUBAR."

I'm not picking a fight, fool, I am merely correcting an error you made...and not when you first made it, but when you directly informed another commenter incorrectly. It isn't even debatable.

By the way, when YOU first happen to hear of something does not time/date its origination.

Aridog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

But it wasn't in general use until 'Nam.

A nickname for one squadron in the war hardly constitutes usage on the scale of Kilroy or "It only hurts when I laugh".

The fact Yank had to define it meant it was unknown to most people, particularly servicemen.

Fool.

You really need to get some help.

n.n said...

Dante:

I think the data survives, in some form, but information (i.e. coherence) is indeed lost. It's a process similar to matter-energy transformation, where at minimum structural information is lost. It's conservative, yet corruptive in its essence.

Not unlike a developing human life, from conception to grave, and then outside that limited frame, where most people assume that the previous state is unrecoverable.

It's a transformative process, which exceeds our limited capacity to fully appreciate, and certainly our ability to control.

It's a chaotic process which is bounded with a "random" (i.e. fluctuating but orderly) intermediate behavior, and subject to the inviolable influence of sources (e.g. birth) and sinks (e.g. death).

Aridog said...

edutcher...you fuck up so you move the goal posts, now asserting common use didn't occur until Vietnam....rather than when it originated. In other words, you are wrong so you double down again with weasel wording. You are amazing....

Let me quote your orignal assertion:

SNAFU has been since V-J Day. FUBAR is its Vietnam offspring.

SNAFU since VJ Day. Really? VJ Day come early in your area...Time magazine used the term in its intended form in June 1942. Maybe they had to explain that, you know, 3 years in advance of VJ Day in august 1945 and all....

And you clearly say FUBAR is the offspring of SNAFU implying provenance in Vietnam....never mind it was in print in 1944. The issue isn't where usage became common but where it originated...and amazingly you are wrong on both counts.

Here is actual article in Yank where the paragraph is headed with the term/word "FUBARS" ...and then goes on to describe a unit, presuming the acronym is common knowledge....not illuminating it until the last sentence of the piece.

BTW...show me where I compared usage of FUBAR to that of KILROY, okay. I think I missed that.

Oh, wait...that was your "Oh, look....SQUIRREL" moment, right?

Aridog said...

In the Yank link, to get to the article vis a vis FUBAR you have to click forward to Page 8, as cited originally by OED.

Uncle Pavian said...

I'm confused. Since when is there anything that pops into the head of a tenured professor at a public university that she can't say? The whole system of guaranteed lifetime employment for academicians is designed to separate inappropriate language and behavior from real-life consequences. What is there about the classroom that the vocabulary appropriate to the blogosphere has to be tidied up?

Crunchy Frog said...

As long as everyone doesn't start using "Crunchy Frog" as their CF equivalent, I'm okay with it.

Steven said...

The one you can say in polite company is "unitednations".

Mike said...

I took a cue from The Fantastic Mr. Fox (a great movie!) and try to use clustercuss in public instead.

fizzymagic said...

We came up with a great euphemism for clusterfuck: Stochastic Orgy.

Graham Powell said...

I like the term "cooperative failure".