I have never seen "fucking pay" before. what does it mean. I have read this in this sentences " Let's hope you're right. that's all I have to say. Because otherwise... you know? soneone, somewhere is going to fucking pay."

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    The phrase "someone is going to pay" means, essentially, "I am going to physically harm someone as punishment for the fact that I was inconvenienced in this issue." It's an extremely common phrase in - say - gangster or crime movies in the US. (The swear word is just an an intensifying adverb, as tChrist explains.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 7:35

2 Answers 2


The OED lists 55 terms with fuck in them. It is an extremely versatile and productive word, occurring variously as an interjection, noun, adjective, participial adjective, verb, adverb, and deverbal noun. As a non-native speaker just learning English, I highly recommend that you learn all 55 of them, because you will encounter them again and again. :)

Here in your example sentence, fucking is used as an adverb and, in particular, as a simple adverbial intensifier like really, but with a negative and coarse connotation like bloody, bleeding, or freaking*.

This particular use the OED explains under its fuck head-word (not to be confused with a fuck-head word):

Hence ˈfucking vbl. sb. Also as ppl. a. and adv., used esp. as a mere intensive.

  • A. 1568 A. Scott Poems iv. 55 ― Thir foure, the suth to sane, Enforsis thame to fucking.
  • 1680 Rochester Poems on Several Occasions (1950) 30 ― Through all the Town, the common Fucking Post, On whom each Whore, relieves her tingling Cunt.
  • 1707 [see frigging vbl. sb.].
  • C. 1888–94 My Secret Life III. 228 ― This house had but eight rooms, and two mere closets to let out for fucking.
  • C. 1888–94 My Secret Life VIII. 307 ― She was··a magnificent bit of fucking flesh, but nothing more.
  • 1893 Farmer & Henley Slang III. 80/2 ― Fucking··Adj., A qualification of extreme contumely. Adv. Intensitive and expletive; a more violent form of bloody.
  • 1922 Joyce Ulysses 580 ― I’ll wring the neck of any bugger says a word against my fucking king.
  • 1929 F. Manning Middle Parts of Fortune I. ii. 23 ― Blown to fuckin’ bits as soon as we got out of the trench, poor bugger.
  • 1930 J. Dos Passos 42nd Parallel 94 ― It was a fucking shame it was Freddy hit you.
  • 1938 Dylan Thomas Let. 31 Aug. (1966) 208 ― None using obscene words, none··to do with fucking.
  • 1939 Dylan Thomas Let. 29 Sept. (1966) 240 ― I’ll give Dent the whole fucking works.
  • 1960 D. Lessing In Pursuit of English 12 ― ‘What the f‑‑ing hell’s that for?’ my father said.
  • 1969 Auden City without Walls 49 ― I’m so bored with the whole fucking crowd of you I could scream!
  • 1971 It 2–16 June 18/3 ― The Youngbloods··are so fucking good they can do spontaneous albums.

Compare this with its sense for bloody, first for the adjectival one:

A 10 a. In foul language, a vague epithet expressing anger, resentment, detestation; but often a mere intensive, esp. with a negative, as ‘not a bloody one’. Prob. from the adv. use in its later phase.

And then for the adverbial one:

B. adv. 2. As an intensive: Very....and no mistake, exceedingly; abominably, desperately. In general colloquial use from the Restoration to c 1750; ‘now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered ‘a horrid word’, on a par with obscene or profane language, and usually printed in the newspapers (in police reports, etc.) “b‑‑y”’. N.E.D. Also in tmesis.

[The origin is not quite certain; but there is good reason to think that it was at first a reference to the habits of the ‘bloods’ or aristocratic rowdies of the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th c. The phrase ‘bloody drunk’ was apparently = ‘as drunk as a blood’ (cf. ‘as drunk as a lord’); thence it was extended to kindred expressions, and at length to others; probably, in later times, its associations with bloodshed and murder (cf. a bloody battle, a bloody butcher) have recommended it to the rough classes as a word that appeals to their imagination. We may compare the prevalent craving for impressive or graphic intensives, seen in the use of jolly, awfully, terribly, devilish, deuced, damned, ripping, rattling, thumping, stunning, thundering, etc. There is no ground for the notion that ‘bloody’, offensive as from associations it now is to ears polite, contains any profane allusion or has connexion with the oath ‘’s blood!’]

As noted at the end about also being in tmesis is relevant to fucking as well. Intensifying profanity is often used for expletive infixation; that is, it is used tmetically.

  • bloody unbelievable ≣ unbloodybelievable
  • fucking unbelievable ≣ unfuckingbelievable (or less often, unbefuckinglievable)
  • fricking unbelievable ≣ unfrickingbelieveable (or less often, unbefrickinglievable)
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    Guys, the question is about the use of "pay" in this sense. (As you pointed out "f-ing" is just an intensifying adverb.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 7:34

In that context, "fucking" is simply an interjection. The sentence is "someone, somewhere is going to pay." "Fucking" is there for emphasis.

  • A similar example- "I'm gonna make sure as hell he pays". Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 6:47
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    This is the wrong answer. It is not an interjection. It as an intensifying adverb. An interjection would be like “Fuсk! Now what am I going to do?”
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 7:04
  • My question is about " f---ing pay" not just one part.
    – user77755
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 9:02
  • Vocabulary isn't everything. The point is that the phrase is 'going to pay', not just '<intensifier> pay'. Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 19:14

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