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Can anyone tell me what the suffix “‑fu” stands for in the following sentence?

If you want to take advantage of some other Spring-fu, like some of its aspect-oriented features, then you’ll need to use this heavy-handed, direct object management technique.

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For etymology, see english.stackexchange.com/questions/47694/… –  Hugo May 22 '12 at 4:27

3 Answers 3

up vote 31 down vote accepted

It stands for "(advanced) skill". There are lots of similar constructions, such as "Script-Fu", "Google-Fu", and so on. Wiktionary has an article on the suffix -fu:

Etymology
From kung-fu

Suffix
1. (slang) Expertise; mastery.

  • My google-fu is weak!
  • Aragorn uses Ranger-fu to figure out that Sam and Frodo have taken a boat.
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I don't think that Spring (as a Java library) can have skills, expertise, or mastery. I guess, this use only works in your examples, as the -fu is an attribute of the subject, whereas in Liu's example, it relates to Spring. –  malach Sep 21 '10 at 15:30
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@Ralph Reckenbach: Spring-fu means mastery of the library. So if you have mastered using Spring you have Spring-fu. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Sep 21 '10 at 18:07

Like many idioms with little historical depth, the use of -fu has more to do with cultural themes than grammatical construction and meaning. The pseudo-word "Spring-fu" is a construction meant to allegorically refer to kung-fu that endows the scripting language Spring with the mysticism and complexity of a martial art --- something that requires dedication to master and has hidden benefits ("really cool ju-ju") if mastered. Consequently, the current definitions of the suffix -fu are inadequate to describe the cultural use of the suffix in this evolving context.

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What does this add to the accepted answer, and where is your research? –  MετάEd Apr 26 '13 at 4:12

Fu in Chinese means blessing or good fortune. Here it would be something like a great feature of the Java library Spring.

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I think rather than "blessing or good fortune" it is the fu in 功夫, gongfu, which is being used here. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Sep 21 '10 at 18:10
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@Mr. "...with great skill" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gongfu_tea_ceremony) seems indeed to fit the bill. You clearly have fu-fu –  Mike Woodhouse Dec 9 '10 at 10:30

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