Kestrels hold a special place in Yorkshire folks thanks to Ken Loach’s popular film adaptation of the novel ‘Kestrel For A Knave’ named ‘Kes’. So, when we learnt of the sweary fact about these birds we had to share it with you guys.
The iconic film ‘Kes’ follows a boy from Barnsley, Billy Casper and his relationship with his Kestrel, Kes. The film was praised for giving a rare and authentic portrayal of the underrepresented world-class communities and still remains one of Yorkshire’s most popular films to this day.
It came to our attention that back in the 16th century these majestic birds had another name. Their name back in the day was windfuckers and fuckwinds – we know, we can’t believe it either.
Etymologists have said that there is a misreading behind these names. They believe that the archaic long S character < ſ > was often used to be used in place of < s > at the beginnings and middles of words, and so it’s possible that that long S was simply misread as a lowercase F < f >.
This would mean that in the Kestrel’s case it would have been called wind suckers not the more obscene windfuckers. But, this page out of Randle Cotgrave’s 1611 Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues shows The French word crecerelle—shows that there was no sucking involved at all.
But, how had they become to be known as windfuckers and fuckwinds at all? Experts have said it could be because of their ability to hover in one place whilst they hunt when the movement looks incredibly like those nighttime antics.
It is worth mentioning that the F-word wasn’t always as naughty as it was today and back in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was a rough word, but not quite the swear word it is today.
There you have it, you can be forgiven for shouting windfuckers and fuckwinds next time you see those graceful creatures in the sky.