'socking' as a substitute for 'fucking'? [intensifier]

susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Hi,

I found the word "socking" in a British book and am wondering whether it is a substitute for the stronger word. It appears to be, but want to be sure. And is it used a lot?

". . . went quickly to the front room, where, I suddenly realized, to my left there was a socking great hole. Half a wall missing. An archway had been cut in the dividing wall . . ."
(Catherine Alliott, The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton)

Thanks!
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This use of socking as an intensifier sounds a bit dated to me. Here are some of the OED's examples.
    1896 Dialect Notes I. 425 That was a socking big fish.
    1942 Tee Emm (Air Ministry) II. 67 A socking great Wellington has just gate-crashed the range.
    1951 J. B. PRIESTLEY Festival at Farbridge III. iii. 548 A teeny drink before lunch, and it turned out to be a socking great double gin and Dubonnet.
    1976 D. FRANCIS In Frame iv. 65 A brooch I had..with a socking big diamond in the middle.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Socking can be used as a euphemism (as can many other words) but I honestly don't think it is here - it's often used as an informal intensifier with "great" or "big". It doesn't sound that dated to me - but then I'm quite dated myself:(.
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Hello Kuchillo, se16teddy and Loob,

    Thanks so much for your input. So it's not necessarily f**k*** then, but rather an intensifier of the likes of "big." :) Thanks again!
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree that it is not (usually) a euphemism for "fucking". There are a few similar words, such as "whacking". I think it's even possible that it is the other way round, as this use of "fucking" is relatively modern, and that fucking is used in this way based on the model of using inoffensive "-ing" words as intensifiers.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I can't remember the last time I heard someone use socking like that (sorry, Mrs.L). My default word is whacking; I've also heard thumping.
    I've never thought of it as a euphemism for fucking.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Another is stonking. Anything at all in that line is going to sound like a euphemism, but there's no strong reason to suppose it is. Oh, then there's strapping, as in a strapping great lad, and hulking used the same way. It just seems to be a common pattern for intensifiers.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It is not unusual for "sucking" to be used to describe a hole for various reasons. I have no idea why the author would change "sucking" to "socking" so it seems unlikely, but it's a possibility.
     
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