Since uncontaminated resources were scarce, supposedly many towns required permission to have children.

However, there is no clear past lineage or derivation for the Latin word.

These roots, even if cognates, are not the original Indo-European word for to copulate, but Wayland Young argues that they derive from the Indo-European *bug– ("be", "become"), or as causative "create" [see Young, 1964].

Some of these urban legends are that the word fuck came from Irish law.

If a couple were caught committing adultery, they would be punished "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge In the Nude," with "FUCKIN" written on the stocks above them to denote the crime.

Some English-speaking countries censor it on television and radio.

Andrea Millwood Hargrave's 2000 study of the attitudes of the British public found that fuck was considered the third most severe profanity and its derivative motherfucker second. According to linguist Pamela Hobbs, "notwithstanding its increasing public use, enduring cultural models that inform our beliefs about the nature of sexuality and sexual acts preserve its status as a vile utterance that continues to inspire moral outrage." Hobbs considers users rather than usage of the word and sub-divides users into 'non-users', for whom the word "evokes the core sexual meanings and associated sexual imagery that motivate the taboo", and 'users' for whom "metaphorical uses of the word fuck no more evoke images of sexual intercourse than a ten-year-old’s ‘My mom’ll kill me if she finds out’ evokes images of murder," so that the "criteria of taboo are missing." Because of its increasing usage in the public forum, in 2005 the word was included for the first time as one of three vulgarities in The Canadian Press's Canadian Press Caps and Spelling guide.

Otherwise, the usually accepted first known occurrence of the word is found in code in a poem in a mixture of Latin and English composed in the 15th century.

The poem, which satirizes the Carmelite friars of Cambridge, England, takes its title, "Flen flyys", from the first words of its opening line, Flen, flyys, and freris ("Fleas, flies, and friars").

Journalists were advised to refrain from censoring the word but use it sparingly and only when its inclusion was essential to the story.

The Oxford English Dictionary states that the ultimate etymology is uncertain, but that the word is "probably cognate" with a number of Germanic words with meanings involving striking, rubbing, and having sex or is derivative of the Old French word that meant "to fuck". Paul Booth claimed to have found "(possibly) the earliest known use of the word 'fuck' that clearly has a sexual connotation": in English court records of 1310–11, a man local to Chester is referred to as "Roger Fuckebythenavele", probably a nickname.

None of these acronyms was ever recorded before the 1960s, according to the authoritative lexicographical work The F-Word, and thus are backronyms.