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Likewise, though there have been times when conquering forces have engaged in rape, it wasn’t by royal fiat at the behest of a king looking to further dispirit the conquered.
One last nail in the coffin of the ‘fornication under consent of the king’ origin comes from the word ‘fornication’ itself.
Here, the word that trips that proposed etymology is the least obvious one — ‘For.’ Though displaying miscreants in stocks and public shaming were popular punishments in 18th and 19th century USA, any placards left either on the prisoner or on top of the stock would list the crime succinctly.
Although German ficken may enter the picture somehow, it is problematic in having e-grade, or umlaut, where all the others have o-grade or zero-grade of the vowel.
AHD1, following Pokorny, derived “feud”, “fey”, “fickle”, “foe”, and “fuck” from an Indo-European root peig2 = “hostile”; but AHD2 and AHD3 have dropped this connection for “fuck” and give no pre-Germanic etymon for it.
Eric Partridge, in the 7th edition of Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (Macmillan, 1970), said that “fuck” “almost certainly” comes from the Indo-European root *peuk- = “to prick” (which is the source of the English words “compunction”, “expunge”, “impugn”, “poignant”, “point”, “pounce”, “pugilist”, “punctuate”, “puncture”, “pungent”, and “pygmy”).
Robert Claiborne, in The Roots of English: A Reader’s Handbook of Word Origin (Times, 1989) agrees that this is “probably” the etymon.