Even the stodgiest of writers (this just means someone who has read more than one section of In Search of Lost Time) have seemed to become guilty of using a certain twenty-first century non-simile that’s caught on like a bad rash: “as fuck.” At first, there was something hard-edged and even meaningful to this turn of phrase. But now, like so many things that get oversaturated, “as fuck” is merely starting to make writers who use it in their work sound, well, ignorant as fuck. The fact that it’s even managed to creep its way into the Wiktionary doesn’t bode well for the potential it might have in finagling the heart of the dictionary, too. This would almost be as scandalous of an addition as when the Académie française decided it would be okay for French people to officially add the word “email” into their vernacular.
For now, however, it’s just the Wiktionary and Urban Dictionary that have opted to lend as “sophisticated” of a definition as they can to the expression, with the latter offering the explanation, “A phrase inserted after any adjective to make it stronger.” But does the adjective become stronger now that “as fuck” is bandied so freely and without any hesitation?
Few words have spread with a similar fieriness of chlamydia than “as fuck,” except maybe the derogatory white people terms “yuppie” and “hipster,” both of which also prove that the more you use a word the less it seems to sustain its original meaning and power. Sure, it can still be imbued with the same grammatical classifications (prepositive, anyone?) that would make it, to some, classy enough to hold water in the modern dictionary. And yes, as foreshadowed by the renewed bestseller, 1984, “as fuck”‘s abbreviated form of “AF” is a prime example of the current newspeak we’ve allowed to dominate our vernacular and manner of speech.
While “as fuck” was all very charming in its forcefulness at the beginning, writers and readers alike ought to ask themselves if perhaps a moratorium ought to be put on its use before it paves the way for even gaucher acceptable incarnations to appear in that ever waning category of “high literature.” After all, we didn’t let “as hell” from Network persist for that long after it came out in 1976. Then again, “as hell” just sounds so much more vanilla by comparison. And the writer, who loves so few things other than the words she wields, perhaps couldn’t help but favor the severity of “as fuck” over “as hell.” In any event, both versions of prepositive modifiers have only widened the gateway toward colloquial writing as being perfectly viable.