Verb - 'to bork' is a term used by those in or around the U.S. Government to refer to a character assassination. It stemmed from then-President Reagan's nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987.

Now, when a guy gets on the Supreme Court in the U.S., he's on for life. Therefore, if you can nominate someone who is a big believer in your views, and get them on the bench, then you will have a very, very strong addition to your political power. You'll have made a lasting impact on the country as your judge, one of the highest in all the land, sends down judgement after judgement on important cases. Supreme Court nominations are probably as hotly contested as Presidential nominations.

Just like anyone else that's sat in the Oval Office, Reagan was trying to pack the Supreme Court with judges that he liked. Bork was nominated to replace Judge Lewis Powell, who retired. Not a bad choice, really; Bork is a respected right-wing scholar, a strict interpreter of the Constitution, and (IMHO) appears to be very willing to "call 'em as he sees 'em", instead of aping the party line. As usual, the opposing party (in this case, the Democrats) brought out the big guns.

Advertisements were run against Bork, with either gross generalizations or plain falsifications about his judicial record. Certain claims were made that Bork was solidly pro-business and anti-consumer, a claim that he is still trying to fight (Bork's papers about the Microsoft antitrust case, for instance). A few lurid stories about how Bork wanted to see America (back-alley abortions, etc.) circulated. Newspapers printed this information. Public tide turned against Bork, and his nomination was solidly defeated. A textbook character assassination, part of the political game.

Bork is now used by the masses to mean messed up, screwed up, irreversibly damaged, and screwed. "My computer is borked."

The etymology of this usage is murky. The most popular theory is that it may have arisen from Robert Bork's problems. On the other hand, it may be a corruption of broken (by way of the common typo, borken). Or it may be from The Swedish Chef, who has been bork bork bork!ing since 1975. Of course, the Swedish Chef's trademark bork bork bork doesn't seem to have any real meaning, but he did bork up any recipe that he undertook.

Bork is often used as a synonym for the F word, as in "all borked up" and "what the bork!?". suggests that the use of this word in a sexual sense may have come from a conjunction of the words boink and pork. But using bork to mean sex is rare. Bork is usually an ambiguous word that can fill in as a pseudo-swearword or a general marker of ungoodness, without any of the explicitness and precise definitions burdening other English words.

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