Defamation Per Se

The word “motherfucker” is a dead metaphor: a metaphor which has lost its original meaning and gained another over time. While it is possible that the word once meant someone who fornicates with mothers, the last time anyone used motherfucker with that definition was in Shaun of the Dead and even that was for comedic effect. Here now, a recent attempt at stretching the word to allege a tort.

The Lovings first argue that Thomas’s comments to Michael, “[s]omething to the effect of you mother fuckers and you can go fuck yourself,” were defamatory per se. The Lovings contend that these comments impute criminal or sexual misconduct, including incest. We disagree.

The term “mother fucker” is defined as: “n. Vulgar Slang 1. A person regarded as thoroughly despicable. 2. Something regarded as thoroughly unpleasant, frustrating, or despicable.” The American Heritage Dictionary Of The English Language. This term does not impute criminal or sexual misconduct. Rather, the term imputes that the person is “thoroughly despicable.”

Lovings v. Thomas, 805 NE 2d 442 (2004).

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