A trick question that went around on my playground (and has been showing up in books of childrens’ folklore since the 1970s), is not so much a trick question as a regular riddle. It just happens to be slightly risque:
What word starts with an F and ends in U C K?
No way to tell how far this goes back, but it appears in print as early as the 60s. I’d guess that it became popular in the 50s; usage of (and jokes revolving around) the infamous f word took off a lot around the late 40s/early 50s.
|Like so many other things on this site, the growth of the word probably has roots in the military Using that word as an adjective, noun, etc wasn’t new in the 1940s, either, but a lot of the ways we use it now became much more common and widespread due to use by soldiers in World War 2, who were often noted for being very creative with that particular word. World War 1 soldiers were no slouches with it, either, but the big hit word of that war was “bloody,” which had previously been used mainly by the lower classes but seeped its way into all walks of society after the war. Having had the door opened for them by the previous generation, it was World War 2 that helped the f bomb come into its own. In fact, you might say that they didn’t just liberate Europe, they also liberated the F word. They truly were the greatest generation!|
But I digress. Anyway, there’s no way to know how old the firetruck joke was by the time is started appearing in print, but I’d say it goes at least back to the 1950s, and possibly as far back as the firetruck itself. See the book to the left of the text above for more on the history of swearing.