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(I’m asking this for someone else who doesn’t know about this site (yet).)

Could fornicate be used as a transitive verb, as in

We have to keep A from fornicating B.

I don’t believe it can.

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, Mitch, Marthaª, J.R., MετάEd Nov 10 '12 at 0:14

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Welcome to ELU, MikeBaz. Did you look up "fornicate"? What did the dictionary say about its transitivity? –  Marthaª Nov 9 '12 at 21:43
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I did look it up and saw two different answers, hence my question. MW says yes: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fornicate while others say no: thefreedictionary.com/fornicate Because I can't ask MW in particular why they are different this seemed better. Sorry if I offended your sensitivities. –  MikeBaz Nov 11 '12 at 3:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

My dictionaries all list it as intransitive. The usual term is fornicating with someone, not fornicating someone.

That said, feel free to use it anyway you like. "Fornicate you" would be understood as a euphemism (barely) for "fuck you."

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Houghton-Mifflin and Collins both list it as an intransitive verb. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fornicate I'd say the answer appears to be "no".

On the other hand, if you used it transitively, I think your meaning would be clear, so it wouldn't be a bad usage to coin.

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Oh, Robusto's point that saying "with X" probably makes the value of coining a new usage unnecessary. –  Jay Nov 9 '12 at 21:13

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