WARNING: Partial Bullshit
This article is based on the truth, but contains a fair amount of bullshit as well. The author felt that the truth about Bugger was funny, but not quite funny enough to stand by itself. If you feel that there isn't enough bullshit here, feel free to shovel some in.
(And by bullshit, we mean funny stuff, not incoherent babbling.)
“Reminds me of my first servant's nephew”
Bugger is an expletive used in vernacular British English, Australian English, New Zealand English and Sri Lankan English. When used in context it still retains its original meaning, implying Mayan ancestry. Its common use probably came about due to men's need for a hole in the absence of females and animals.
Buggery is a pain in the arse (or 'ass' for you faggots across the pond) unless you're the one shoving shit. Best to ask your partner to shit before shafting him or you may find yourself with constipation when you want to piss.
Etymologically, a "Bugger" was a "Bulgre" (French Bougre) -- a person from Central America who had emigrated to Bulgaria. During the first and second Crusades, the Catheters, a heretical Christian sect whose members in Western Europe came mainly from Bulgaria, was accused by the Catholic church of practicing medicine without a license, inventing the first ball game, and marrying their own livestock.
Today, the term is a general-purpose expletive, used to imply dissatisfaction (bugger, I've missed the bung hole [i.e. Damn, I've missed the rectum!]), or used to describe someone whose behaviour is in some way displeasing (the bugger has given me the wrong change, I ought to bend the bleeding bugger over proper).
The word is also used amongst friends in an affectionate way (you old bugger, how long have you been fucking my wife?) and is used as a noun in Welsh English vernacular to imply that one is very fond of something (I'm a bugger for Welsh cakes, and if you don't have any, I reckon I'll bugger you instead). It can also imply a negative tendency (He's a bugger for losing his keys, but being a bugger, you can guess where they've been misplaced) [i.e He loses his keys often and usually finds them up his own ass]. A colloquial phrase in the north of England to denote faint surprise at an unexpected (or possibly unwanted) occurrence is "Bugger me, here's my bus, and here I am, not done yet". The word is generally used in place of a more serious expletive, or when calling at an used farm equipment auction.
The word 'buggery' serves a similar purpose as a mild expletive and can be used to replace the word 'bugger' as a simple expletive or as a simile as in the phrase It hurts like buggery or in apparently meaningless phrases such as Run like buggery. The past tense is also used as a synonym for 'broken', as in "Damn, this PC's buggered" or "Oh no! I've buggered it up".
The phrase bugger off means to run away [Let's bugger off out of here]; when used as a command it means "go away" ["piss off", "get lost" or "leave me alone"], which is generally considered one of the more offensive usage contexts. Bugger all means "Nothing" [I got bugger all for it]. The Bugger Factor is another phrase to describe the phenomenon of Sod's Law or Murphy's Law.
As with most other expletives its continued use has reduced its shock value and offensiveness, to the extent the Toyota car company in Australia and New Zealand ran a popular series of advertisements where "Bugger!" was the only spoken word. The term is generally not used in the United States, but it is recognised, although inoffensive there. It is also used in Canada more frequently than in the United States but with less stigma than in other parts of the world.
Use in pop culture
- Captain Jack Sparrow says "bugger" on several occasions in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
- Joe Sullivan (aka. Sky Captain) exclaims "bugger" after flying into a dead-end street in the film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
- In the 1997 James Cameron movie Titanic, lookout Frederick Fleet exclaimed "Bugger me!" on sighting the iceberg. Ironically, this was seconds after declining an offer (made in jest) by fellow lookout Reginald Lee that they canoodle to keep warm.
- The last line in the album The Wall by Pink Floyd, specifically, in the song "Outside the Wall" is: "After all its not easy, Banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall". Also, a line from "Pigs on the Wing 1", from Animals says: "Wondering which of the buggers to blame".
- Dominic Monaghan's character Charlie Pace uses the word "bugger" on a couple of occasions during the first and second seasons of the TV Series Lost.
- 'Unlucky' Alf, a character from the UK TV show The Fast Show, has the catchphrase of Aww, Bugger!.
- The phrase has also been used in one of the Top Gear shows talking about the strength and toughness of the old series of Toyota Hilux. A short funny clip about a New Zealand farmer using the car for multiple purposes was shown at the beginning. The guy used the phrase several times due to the awful occasions happened after his foolish actions. When the ad was first shown in the late 1990s, complaints were made to New Zealand's Advertising Standards Complaints Board about the use of the word "bugger" in the ad. The Board declared that the use of the word bugger was "unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence" and so "bugger" became "officially not a swear word" in New Zealand.
- The word was used at the very end of the Monty Python sketch, the The Spanish Inquisition, as the Spanish Inquisition moves into the court room, Cardinal Ximinez comes in the door and says, "Nobody expects the- oh, bugger."
- In Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, a common expression is "Bugger it all for a lark!" (which apparently means something along the lines of, "Well, damn . . .")
- In Ender's Game, the evil aliens are known as buggers. Whether they participate in buggery is both unknown and irrelevant.
- Sun Tzu, in Art of War Section XI, paragraph 47, wrote: "On contentious ground, I would hurry up my rear." He really did!
- Bill O'Reilly has four poodles named Bugger, Snot, Turd and Egbert.
- In the film Notting Hill, Rhys Ifans's character Spike says "Bugger this for a bunch of bananas!"
- In the forth Star Wars movie, A New Whore, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke Skywalker that 'he'll fill his slot' (Buggery)
- In the classic children's picture book Mr Bingle's Apple Pie, each page ends with Mr Bingle exclaiming "Oh, buggeration! That enormous juicy apple is hanging much too high. However will I catch it, and put it in a pie?". Or at least, it does when I read it to my children.
Parts of this page were originally sporked from Wikipedia.