fart (English)


Was "fart" rude or neutral in the beginning of the 18th century?
In particluar, in this case (Daniel Defoe, Review of the Affairs of France: 1705. pt. 1. 27 Feb.-July 1705. pt. 2. Aug.-Dec. 1705):

  • The OED says of “fart”
    ”Now colloquial. Chiefly regarded as coarse slang between the mid 18th and mid 20th centuries. Although now very common in informal use, the word continues generally to be considered unacceptable in formal contexts.”
    Thank you, actually I've read this. My question is exactly about the beginning of the 18th century, when this text has been written. I'd like to know how did the Defoe's contemporaries perceive this text.
    It is included in Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), in which many vulgar words aren't, and there is no mark either about its register. But you might get a hint of it in the literary examples.

    FART. n.s. [fert, Saxon.] Wind from behind.​
    Love is the fart
    Of every heart;
    It pains a man when ‘tis kept close;
    And others doth offend, when ‘tis let loose.
    -- Suckling.​
    TO FART. v. a. [from the noun.] To break wind behind.​
    As when we a gun discharge,
    Although the bore be ne’er so large,
    Before the flame from muzzle burst,
    Just at the breech it flashes first;
    So from my lord his passion broke,
    He farted first and then he spoke.
    -- Swift.​
    I'm not a native speaker of English either, but I also infer from it that they used it in a colloquial jocular way, not a rude one.
    Where I'm from, it is one of the F-words that can never be said in polite conversation. Among your best friends you do what you want, depending on your rapport and how sensitive they are. Euphemisms are more common "break wind", "cut the cheese", "make a stink", "do a stink bomb." I'm sure someone from a cool left wind hippy background might disagree with me.
    Seeing @Penyafort quotes, usage may have changed a bit, but I'm surprised, I would have thought it would have been forbidden back then. I can't see poets writing that way now.
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    The Latin crepitus is more or less neutral. Defoe equates it with “fart”, perhaps implying that the latter belongs to the same (neutral) register.