English

 
A Man Carrying Faggots by George Chinnery

Alternative forms

  • fagot (in certain senses only)

Etymology

From Middle English fagot, from Old French fagot (bundle of sticks), of uncertain origin. Unlikely from Old Occitan fagot or Italian fagotto, as these appear later than the Old French term. Compare also Italian fangotto and Spanish fajo (bundle, wad). Perhaps from a diminutive of Vulgar Latin *facus, from Latin fascis (bundle of wood). Compare also Old High German fazza (bundle, load, burden). Doublet of fagotto. See also: fag.

The senses relating to persons, though possibly originating as an extension of the sense "bundle of sticks", may have been reinforced by faygele, from Yiddish פֿייגעלע (feygele, homosexual, literally little bird), related to English fowl.

Pronunciation

Noun

faggot (plural faggots)

  1. (chiefly British, Ireland, collective) A bundle of sticks or brushwood intended to be used for fuel tied together for carrying. (Some sources specify that a faggot is tied with two bands or withes, whereas a bavin is tied with just one.)
    • 1853, Sir Francis Bond Head, A faggot of French sticks: or, Paris in 1851, page 2:
      In the depth of, winter, however, a faggot of real French Sticks — although of little intrinsic value — may possibly enliven for a few moments an English Fireside.
  2. (obsolete) Burdensome baggage.
  3. A bundle of pieces of iron or steel cut off into suitable lengths for welding.
  4. (rare, dated in US) A burning or smouldering piece of firewood.
    • 1961, Poul Anderson, Three Hearts and Three Lions:
      He clambered back on his feet and grinned at them. The waning faggot cast red light over his fangs.
    • 1965, Frank Herbert, Dune, New York: Berkley (1977), page 102:
      To the east, the night grew a faggot of luminous gray, then seashell opalescence that dimmed the stars.
  5. (now sometimes offensive, chiefly British, Ireland) A meatball made with offcuts and offal, especially pork. (See Wikipedia.)
    Synonym: (slang, obsolete) duck
    • 2008, Julie Hodgson, In My Father's Pockets, page 16:
      Today would be faggots in gravy and chocolate pudding with a white sauce. I didn't like faggots but picked at them and rolled the peas around my plate.
  6. (offensive, vulgar, derogatory, chiefly US, Canada) An annoying or inconsiderate person.
  7. (UK, Ireland, colloquial, derogatory, dated) A shrewish woman.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:shrew
    • 1591, T[homas] L[odge] of Lincolns, Catharos Diogenes in his Singularitie: Wherein is comprehended his merrie baighting fit for all mens benefits: Christened by him, A Nettle for Nice Noſes, London: Iohn Busbie, page 12; republished [Glasgow]: [Hunterian Club], [1875]:
      I appoynt thée no more continencie, than to eate while thy bellie is full, nor conſtancie, but to brawle rather than burne: a filbert is better than a faggot, except it be an Athenian ſhe handfull: you know that Coſmoſophos, euer ſince your laſt mariage, how doth the father of your ſonne in law?
    • 1796, Theobald Wolfe Tone, Autobiography:
      she wants me to go to bed to her, and I won't, ... for she is as crooked as a ram's horn ... and as ugly as sin besides ; rot her, the dirty little faggot, she torments me.
    • 1834, William Carleton, The Midnight Mass:
      The woman, in accordance with the custom of the country, raised the Irish cry, in a loud melancholy wail ...
      Darby, who prided himself on maintaining silence, could not preserve the consistency of his character upon this occasion ... "Your sowl to the divil, you faggot!" he exclaimed, "what do you mane? The divil whip the tongue out o' you! ..."
    • 1922, James Joyce, chapter 18, in Ulysses:
      he used to be pretending to be laid up with a sick voice doing his highness to make himself interesting for that old faggot Mrs Riordan that he thought he had a great leg of and she never left us a farthing all for masses for herself and her soul greatest miser ever was actually afraid to lay out 4d for her methylated spirit []
    • 1925, D. H. Lawrence, Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine and Other Essays: .. Love Was Once a Little Boy:
      To me she is fractious, tiresome, and a faggot. Yet the subtle desirableness is in her, for me. As it is in the brown hen, or even a sow.
    • 1973, Hugh Leonard, Da:
      MOTHER: To see who?
      DA: You faggot, you; don't let on you don't know.
  8. (offensive, vulgar, chiefly US, Canada) A homosexual man, especially an effeminate one.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:male homosexual
    Coordinate terms: dyke, scissor sister
    • 1914, Louis E. Jackson and C.R. Hellyer, Vocabulary of Criminal Slang (Portland, OR: Modern Printing Co., 1914) page 30:
      Drag, Example: “All the fagots (sissies) will be dressed in drag at the ball tonight.
    • 1985, Sting & Mark Knopfler (lyrics and music), “Money for Nothing”, in Brothers in Arms, performed by Dire Straits:
      See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup? / Yeah buddy, that's his own hair / That little faggot got his own jet airplane / That little faggot, he's a millionaire
    • 2004, Dennis Cooper, The Sluts, page 228:
      We're a hot looking crew that's your average faggot's wet dream, so we pull some pretty max tricks.
    • 2009, David L. Gold, Studies in Etymology and Etiology, page 781:
      Fleissner's explanation presumably implies that Dickens meant Fag as an allusion to the derogatory English words fag 'homosexual', and faggot 'homosexual'
    • 2012, Margaret Cho, quoted (mimicking Karl Lagerfeld) in On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility
      Of course I'm a faggot, darling. I'm a flaming faggot, darling. I am fanning the flames of my faggotry.
  9. (offensive, vulgar, chiefly US, Canada) A man considered weak, effeminate, timid, pathetic, emotional, non-heteronormative in some way
  10. (obsolete) A soldier numbered on the muster-roll, but not really existing.
  11. (UK, Ireland, historical) A faggot voter.
    • 1973, Ellen Reid Gold, Gladstone in Midlothian: A Rhetorical Analysis of His 1879 Campaign, page 114:
      The Glasgow Herald thought that his attack on the faggots was too serious []
  12. (UK, Ireland, dated, slang) A lazy, weak, work-shy person.

Usage notes

  • The usage to refer to the British meatball delicacy (sense 5) is not widely known outside the United Kingdom, and, due to the prevalence of the usage as a homophobic slur (sense 8) in other regions, it is likely to be misconstrued as hate speech by those unaware of it.[1][2][3][4] In contexts where the word can be interpreted as an allusion to homosexuals, this sense can be considered offensive even in the United Kingdom, despite the homophobic slur not being in widespread use there.[5]

Derived terms

Translations

Verb

faggot (third-person singular simple present faggots, present participle faggoting, simple past and past participle faggoted)

  1. Alternative form of fagot

References

  1. ^ Bradley Jolly (2020 January 21) “Meat lover, 55, banned from Facebook after he praised butcher's faggots”, in Mirror Online[1], retrieved 16 June 2023
  2. ^ Miranda Prynne (2013 November 1) “Man banned from Facebook for liking faggots”, in The Telegraph, retrieved 13 June 2023
  3. ^ Martin Fricker (2021 February 17) “History group threatened with Facebook ban for discussing local delicacy - faggots”, in Mirror Online[2], retrieved 16 June 2023
  4. ^ Chiara Giordano (2019 September 10) “Faggots and peas advert banned by Google for ‘inappropriate and offensive content’”, in The Independent, retrieved 16 June 2023
  5. ^ Ofcom bans 'derogatory' faggot advert”, in The Telegraph, 2004 July 5, retrieved 6 December 2023

Further reading