Elegant because it’s uncluttered, immediate and leaves no room for misunderstanding, surely the Holy Grail for writers.
There aren’t many reactions that can be captured in two short words and fuck used on its own can convey myriad emotions – physical pain, surprise, shock, anger, despair, amusement, pleasure – so why use a string of unnecessary words when one will do? To avoid causing offence? Nowadays?(Please refer to my reaction in the opening sentence.)
Few words work harder than fuck. I haven’t been able to think of one, so maybe the dissenters are right, I’m vocabulary challenged. But used in the right context fuck reigns supreme. Four letters of the alphabet combined into a single word that can world-build, reveal character/personality, carry emotion like no other. I am in awe. Somehow other epithets lack the same class.
However, please note the caveat ‘used in the right context’.
And there are certain words over which I do hesitate, ‘God’, ‘Christ’, or ‘Jesus’, because I don’t wish to offend or disrespect an individual’s sensitivities – but fuck isn’t and never will be one of them.
Which word works hardest for you?