General English


  • noun an expulsion of intestinal gas from the anus. Not really a slang term, but often included as such because of its vulgar overtones. (For the etymology see the verb form.).
  • noun a term of abuse, sometimes dismissive, now sometimes almost affectionate, heard especially in the expressions ‘old fart’ and ‘boring old fart’ (B.O.F.). Fart in this sense suggests someone inconsequential, ineffectual or otherwise worthy of mild contempt.
  • verb to ‘break wind’, expel intestinal gas through the anus. The word is a descendant of an old Germanic verb ferzan which in turn comes from an Indo-European root perd- or pard- (giving modern french péter among others). In English fart has never been genuine slang, but is sometimes considered to be so because it is taboo in polite company. This was not the case until the 18th century.
  • acronymBOF

Origin & History of “fart”

Fart is a widespread and ancient word in the Indo-European languages, and goes back to a prehistoric Indo-European *perd-, which may originally have been an imitation of the sound of a fart. Its other offspring besides fart include German farzen and furzen, Swedish fjärta, Danish fjerte, Russian perdet’, polish pierdzieć, Greek pordízō, and Welsh rhechain.