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Reportedly coined by the hippie poet Ed Sanders in the 1960s, in the form Mongolian clusterfuck; it was frequently used in the military.




clusterfuck ({{{1}}})
  1. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A chaotic mess that might be compared to group sex, in which participants are so intertwined and intermingled that they might penetrate each other rather than their intended target. Its more precise usage describes a particular kind of Catch-22, in which multiple complicated problems mutually interfere with each other's solution. The looser usage, referring to any chaotic situation, probably prevails.
    • 1995 John Barnes, Mother of Storms
      Please note also my request that henceforth I wish to be reminded of the possibility of a clusterfuck in any contingency plan or operations proposal [...]
    • 2004: Jon Stewart, America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction
      [...] and you will still only begin to get a sense of the constitutionally mandated clusterfuck that is the modern presidency.
    • 2005: Charles W. Sasser, Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion in World War II
      It was a clusterfuck, a deadly clusterfuck. When the doughs finally got off the ground in some numbers and charged into the woods, the Krauts broke contact [...]
    • 2008: Joel & Ethan Coen, Burn after Reading
      Jesus, what a clusterfuck!. When CIA chef (J.K.Simmons) finally comments all the mess which nobody ever understood fully [...]

Usage notes

Various levels of clusterfucks can be identified, especially in offshore operations:

  • Class 0 = slight CF relating to only one vessel and minor standby. Badly executed plans or activities leading up to a class 0 CF are commonly referred to as a schwalbe (German > "Barn Swallow").
  • Class 1 = minor CF relating to one or perhaps two vessels and some standby
    • Class 1a = as above + potential to grow to a class 2 CF (this is the usual state of operations)
  • Class 2 = medium CF including multiple vessels and causing standby for at least one of the vessels
  • Class 3 = major CF including multiple vessels which are all going on standby (not related to weather, subcontractors or client)
  • Class 4 = not often seen, but possible: all vessels on standby
  • Class 5 = Also known as a Clusterfuck Beyond All Repair.(CFUBAR)


  • CF, Charlie Foxtrot, Goat-Fuck, Goat-Rape, Goat-Rodeo, Goat-Rope

Related terms

See also

Elsewhere on the web