Clusterfuck is a military slang term, referring to a situation, where multiple things had gone off the rail, presumed to be the responsibility of inept officers, who are decorated with oak leaf clusters.
An alternate, politer way of saying “clusterfuck” is by using the NATO phonetic acronym “Charlie Foxtrot”.
Nowadays, the term is generally used in situations, that have gone wrong in multiple different ways.
Origin of the term
The term was most likely coined during the 1960’s by hippie poet, Ed Sanders as Mongolian “Clusterfuck”.
A Mongolian “clusterfuck” is a phrase that refers to the obscure method of solving a problem, by assigning more, incompetent people to it.
Fitting as how the U. S. military officers receive oak leaf clusters as decorations, the term had gotten adopted into army lingo.
Spread of the term
The military had used the phrase in the most diverse and creative ways, consequently embedding it deeper and deeper into the actively spoken language, making it a common expression, in times of great distress.
Urban Dictionary has a large amount of definitions and entries written on the term “clusterfuck”, the first one originating from 2003.
- Merriam Webster – Clusterfuck
- Quartz At Work – The difference between a snafu, a shitshow, and a clusterfuck