terms, this phenomenon is call the "fucking infix" or, more generally,
infix." Probably the first (and most colorful) linguist
about the fucking infix was James D. McCawley (1938 - 1999).
An infix is a word or component placed inside another word in order to alter its
meaning. In English, prefixes and suffixes are common, but infixes are pretty rare.
Some languages quite commonly use infixes.
Since the linguists have thought about this, they have come up with some linguistic rules
that govern how you'd place "fucking" inside an English word. (This work is part of the
study of prosody, which is the study of patterns of intonation and accent of speech, and
how it affects meaning.)
- The fucking infix is nearly always placed before a stressed syllable. Thus we have
"fan-fucking-tastic" but never "fanta-fucking-stic", and "abso-fucking-lutely" but not
"ab-fucking-solutely". "Un-fucking-believable" is a counterexample that has seen lots
of discussion -- the rule would dictate that we'd say "unbe-fucking-lievable", but
nobody says that!
The number of syllables in the base word is important -- there needs to be at least 3.
It usually won't work with a 2-syllable word. An exception might be words that have
two equally stressed syllables, like "sawhorse" -- "saw-fucking-horse". Although, when
you'd have an opportunity to say that, I would never know. Two-syllable words with the
accent on the first syllable probably never lend themselves to being augmented with an
expletive infix. Consider "coffee", "dongle", "printer"... the infix would sound very
awkward with these!
The use of expletive infixes seems to be actively evolving, in all English-speaking areas.
Some sources claim that "fucking" is the only English word that can be used in this way,
but there are several other examples that come to mind: "bloody", as in "kanga-bloody-roo",
and "damn", as in "guaran-damn-tee" or even "guaran-goddamn-tee".