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"A F" is short for "as fuck". It popped into my lexicon a few years ago, when I started hearing it in Youtube videos. (See this video as an example, although this wasn't where I first heard it.)

The earliest entry in Urban Dictionary I can find is from 2011.

Looking at USA Google Trends for "A F", "A. F." and "as fuck" show "A F" has been used for something (possibly Air France?) since at least 2004, which is pre-Twitter, but post MySpace. It also shows an uptick in "as fuck" from around November 2009, which might coincide with the introduction of "a f" as an intensifier. The "a. f." line is pretty low.

Google Trends chart of "a f" vs "a. f." vs "as fuck"

This seems impossible to search for in Google Books, because A F are initials. Using the ngram viewer with "A F_ADVERB" gets no hits.

It doesn't appear in the OED online, and Greens Dictionary of Slang lumps it in with "as fuck". I'm at a loss for where to look.

Is there any evidence out there that "A F" was coined before the advent of social media? Perhaps in military slang?

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  • I definitely think it’s new. Whether it arose from social media or texting is hard to say. (I assume text messaging is not considered part of social media) – Jim Apr 18 at 5:48
  • I agree, texting would be separate. – Matt E. Эллен Apr 18 at 6:05
  • I would say that it's texting-speak – Hot Licks Apr 18 at 13:34
  • It's obviously used only in writing and would not work unless everyone knew that it meant as fuck. Ergo, no, it was not in writing before that. – Lambie Apr 18 at 13:36
  • I only ever became aware of it a few years ago, as I became aware of what I'll call "meme speech." Note that the Google NGam Viewer only goes up to 2008, which I'm pretty sure predates the advent of this usage. – Robusto Apr 18 at 13:44
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According to Green’s Dictionary of Slang as fuck (intensifier) earliest usage examples are from the 70s’:

(also a.f.) a general intensifier, the coarse synon. for ‘as anything’.

  • 1973 [Aus] Tharunka (Sydney) 8 Nov. 28/1: Ecstatic devotees wave bits of greenery and incense, chant stupidities, and grin like Cheshire Cats having orgasms at everyone clogging the exit corridor, getting sworn at stepped on fucked at yelled at kicked at all the time as patient as fuck, waiting for the Great Yellow Hope, Him, the Fucking Godhead.
  • 1977 [UK] A. Bleasdale Who’s Been Sleeping in my Bed 22: I want me end away as well, but they’re all as fertile as fuck on our estate.

According to the following extract from Dictionary.com the abbreviation AF was used at least from 2009, often in the combined expression “savage AF”:

... AF, often lowercased as af and standing for as fuck. As fuck is an intensifying phrase used since the late 1970s. It’s been abbreviated, and mildly censored, as AF in text messages and on social media since the late 2000s.

Together, “savage AF” have been doubling down on the intensity since at least 2009, when savage AF debuts on Twitter. Early uses of savage AF describe something as extremely good, a use that continued into the 2010s.

  • Black Cherry @EatVitaminC Last nite was savage af! On everythinnggg!! 10:33 PM · Apr 10, 2010
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