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

I was reading an article on MSDN where I found a mention to google-fu. It says, “To search for C++ delimeters and code snippets is going to take a little Google-fu on the reader's part.” what does google-fu mean?

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Apr 7 '11 at 19:07

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  • 1
    Dear rahul, welcome to English Language & Usage! This is a nice question. I took the liberty to edit it for capitalization: remember that the first word of each phrase has to start with a capital letter, as does the first person singular pronoun I. – F'x Apr 7 '11 at 19:04
  • MSDN could have done better by saying Pro Google search skills instead of referencing the ancient martial arts in this context and saying google-fu. – DL Narasimhan Dec 8 '16 at 13:23
  • Think of this statement "I am google-**fuing C**++ delimiters and code snippets" – DL Narasimhan Dec 8 '16 at 13:23
up vote 35 down vote accepted

Google-fu is defined as "skill in using search engines (especially Google) to quickly find useful information on the Internet."

It is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reference to kung-fu, which is generally perceived as requiring a high degree of skill to master in the western hemisphere.

In the example sentence you provided, the author is suggesting that the expected results are somewhat difficult to attain and you will need to use diligence when searching.

I used a bit of Google-fu to research this answer.

  • thank you for answer. so i can replace with "skill"? – katie Apr 7 '11 at 19:02
  • Absolutely - skill is one alternative, also see diligence. – HaL Apr 7 '11 at 19:04
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    @rahul - proficency might be closer – mgb Apr 8 '11 at 4:24

It means “mastery of Google” or “Googling skill”. It is modelled after kung fu:

kung fu (noun): a primarily unarmed Chinese martial art resembling karate.
ORIGIN from Chinese gōngfú, from gōng ‘merit’ + fú ‘master.’

It's a pormanteau of "Google" and "Kung-Fu," meaning to have high skill or art.

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    I don't believe it's exactly a portmanteau: see above, the Chinese word reportedly has meaning in itself. A portmanteau is made from parts that don't have standalone meaning, doesn't it? – F'x Apr 7 '11 at 19:00
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    In this case it is because it doesn't matter what the Chinese "fu" means - in English it is meaningless outside of the entire term. – The Raven Apr 8 '11 at 7:25

Google fu is a slightly jokey term referring to the ability to utilise google's search functionality better than your average user.

urban dictionary

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