Every year the 114 year old Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary adds about 100 new terms and definitions into its lexicon. Among the more interesting entries in this year’s crop are words and phrases like “sexting”, “energy drink”, and “f-bomb”.
Tasked with finding the approximate origins of each of their updates, the editors behind the oft-controversial additions at Merriam-Webster have accredited the first usage of the “f-bomb” to a 1988 Newsday story wherein beloved New York Mets catcher, and noted foul language abhorrer, Gary Carter first allegedly uttered the term.
Via then Mets beat writer Steve Marcus:
Carter rarely uses profanity, so he was taken aback when umpire Greg Bonin leveled some on him in the seventh inning Monday night in Pittsburgh. Carter was called out on strikes and told Bonin he thought the pitch was outside. “He started cursing me and said I accused him of being a liar,” Carter said. “After he started cursing, I walked away and I said, ‘Why are you cursing at me?’ He said, ‘I talk like that.’ I said, ‘OK, guttermouth.’ ” Carter said he has been thrown out only twice in the majors, both times by Eric Gregg. “That was when I used to use the F-bomb.”
So did Gary Carter really come up with the modern day “heck” or “darn”? Sadly, the always exuberant catcher also known as “The Kid” passed away earlier this year after a battle with brain cancer so we’ll never receive an exact explanation. At the very least, the posthumous credit serves not only as a new, definable term, but as a nice tribute to the “good guy” memory of a baseball legend.