Recently, I started noticing the word cuck appearing in internet discussions as a pejorative. I first encountered the word after a news media discussion on the term cuckservative last year, which was claimed to be a portmanteau of cuckold and conservative, denoting those in U.S. politics who claim to be conservative but give in to some demands of liberals.

However, upon further investigation, it seems like the derivation of cuckservative and its use likely relate to a pre-existing internet tradition employing the word cuck (rather than cuckold). Though the exact connotations seem to vary, cuck generally seems associated with a weak or emasculated male, often in a sexual and/or racial context related specifically to a white male. Unlike with cuckold, it seems the implication is not necessarily literal sexual abandonment: cuck (as in cuckservative) can also denote a metaphorical or generic weakness. It also often seems connected to political correctness.

I've seen discussions claiming a number of different possible etymologies:

  1. There's clearly a relationship to the term cuckold, but I don't know if the derivation is direct to the current popular slang term.
  2. I've seen repeated claims that the term is more directly derived from cuck fetish, apparently a type of fetish (and pornography) characterized by a female lover abandoning a male lover to seek sexual gratification elsewhere, frequently abandoning a white male for a black male. (If true, this seems obviously related to the previous derivation, but it would be an intermediate step.)
  3. Some have claimed a connection to the archaic term cucking stool, which denoted a punishment (often for dishonesty) via public shaming.
  4. Lastly, I've seen claims directly connecting the word to the near-obsolete cuck, referring to excrement.

Does anyone know when this modern slang term emerged and how it became popular? My first guess was that it was just an abbreviation of cuckold, but the racial connotation the term sometimes seems to carry makes me wonder if there's any truth to the second etymology, or if it comes from elsewhere. (The other theories intuitively seem less likely, but I've seen them and mention them for the sake of completeness.)

  • 1
    You know, if you're sending a tweet and you want to say "cuckold" but either don't want to wear your thumbs out or simply don't know how to spell it, it's quite natural to just say "cuck", and doing this would be reasonably well understood by many, even if they had never seen the term before. So you're not likely to find a single "source" (unless you consider "smartphones" to be a "source"). And, of course, once the term takes hold it's going to be used in various "creative" ways, again, without any identifiable "source".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 23:17
  • 1
    @HotLicks - while that seems like a reasonable supposition, it appears the term's popularity on the internet may have originated with 4chan, perhaps drawing on an earlier fetish term popular in online discussion forums. And the political/racial connotations seem to have been cultivated in other online communities. Tracing words to communities and/or emergence during a rough period of time is what traditional etymology does -- I wasn't expecting a single "smoking gun" source.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


According to Wiktionary cuck is a recent term derived from cuckold with the following meanings:

  • (Etymology) Clipping of cuckold. Coined in 2010 on Twitter, later spread online.

Noun cuck ‎(plural cucks):

  • (slang) A cuckold.
  • (Internet slang, offensive) A race traitor.
  • (slang, offensive) A weakling.

Usage notes:

  • Sense 2 is used in white supremacist and far right communities and contains innuendo that the target of the insult is aroused by the prospect of their partner being raped by members of other races.

According to the following site, the recent slang usage of cuck was made popular by "4chan" in its political board.

  • The term’s rise to fame on the internet can be attributed to 4chan, specifically, its /pol/ (Political incorrect) board. The new meaning however does not stray far from its official meaning; on the contrary, it simple builds on it. Online, the term is used as a pejorative for a man who is considered to have “sold out” or who sacrifices his dignity for female approval.

  • The first instance of the usage of the term goes as far back as the Gamergate controversy. After Eron Gjoni published the “Zoe post” detailing how his then girlfriend Zoe Quinn had been sleeping with video games journalists in exchange for good reviews of her games. In the eyes of 4chan, this was typical cuck behavior. Later on, 4chan users begun referring to comedian Louis C.K as “Louis cuck King” and accompanied it with criticism of his stand-up routine which they interpreted as being anti-white or promoting cuckoldry.

  • It’s easy to see why “cuck’ is such an effective insult. It’s a byword for needlessly relinquished manliness. For selling out and caving in. The original metaphor of watching your partner getting slammed by another man now simply means abandoned principles and a lack of backbone. As Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos points out, semantic shifts like this happen all the time

Cuckold (Etymology):

  • mid-13c., kukewald, from Old French cucuault, from cocu (see cuckoo) + pejorative suffix -ault, of Germanic origin. So called from the female bird's alleged habit of changing mates, or her authentic habit of leaving eggs in another bird's nest.
  • 2
    Thanks. Well, if it was "coined on Twitter in 2010," I'm not sure what to do with hits that predate 2010, including a Urban Dictionary "Cuck-wedding" term that seems to be related to my second etymology, and other uses of that term (or in a general cuckolding or fetish sense) on various forums from before 2010. This seems to lead to parts of the internet I'd rather not go to, but without a reliable source, I have my doubts about the posited 2010 Twitter origin.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 21:24
  • @Athanasius - what usage of "cuck" are you referring to ? The page you linked has different meanings, usages and expressions? What are you looking for?
    – user66974
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 21:33
  • Thanks for the edit; I think it gets closer to the etymology. As to what specifically I was interested in: I just was curious about the history and how the term became popularized. As far as I know, "cuck" wasn't a common word in the 20th century (as a shortening of "cuckold" or in any other sense), so I was interested in its emergence and when/where it collected the new senses.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 18:46

Cuck, originially, was a shortening of Cuckold, but particularily, a person who has a fetish of being cuckolded. It now, usually, means someone who isn't very masculine, who has weak backbone, similar to the stereotypical person who enjoys being cuckolded. However, as perjoratives tend to evolve, cuck has now turned into a general-use prejorative and has variations as you have mentioned - cuckservative.

Cuck and variations thereof are generally not used in real life and mainly occur on internet forums, prominently 4chan, especially boards like /pol/ and /b/.

  • Please add sources to substantiate your answer. Have a look at the help center to find out about good answers.
    – Helmar
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 23:54

Cuck was recoined and made viral by insulting anons on /pol/ for being cucks, if they were not pro-white enough.

As 4chan /pol/ had been spammed with interracial cuck porn by anti-racists for a good while, everybody already knew that definition, and when the owner of 4chan was cuckolded in the Shakespearean way, they were taught that definition as well.

The only thing that remained, was teaching the /pol/acks about the cuckoo bird and brood parasitism, and that was done along the insulting, usually when the insulted told you how you used cuck wrong.

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