Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fuck-up n.

[fuck up v.]
(orig. US)

1. an error, a mistake, bungling, incompetence.

[UK] ‘A Note On Drumming And Bugling’ in M. Page Kiss Me Goodnight, Sgt.-Major (1973) 57: Stand to attention you raw-arsed recruit. / You’ve gone and made a fuck-up of the general salute.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 18 Apr. in Proud Highway (1997) 504: A giant Establishment fuckup by a Chancellor named Strong, who has since resigned.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 204: He don’t want no fuck-ups.
[UK]Flame : a Life on the Game 37: They ended up making a bigger fuck-up of it.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 142: Contradictions, wrong turns and just plain fuck-ups.
[US]T. Dorsey Stingray Shuffle 314: There’s been a big fuck-up, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.
[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] I have to apologise for the whole scene. What a fuck-up.
[Aus]J.J. DeCeglie Drawing Dead [ebook] How many guys you know get laid on the biggest fuck-up of a night in their life?
[US]H. Ellison Introduction in Pulling a Train’ [ebook] Doctors are lucky. Their fuckups get buried under headstones.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 18: Jimmy [...] wondered if one day she’d chalk their collaborative fuck-up down to experience.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘I’m going to keep Jack’s little fuck-up out of the investigation’.
[US]S.M. Jones Lives Laid Away [ebook] ‘This new organization doesn’t much like fuck-ups’.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Shore Leave 170: The game was up, the fuck-up complete.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 313: I kept thinking of fatal fuckups.

2. a bungler, an incompetent, a hopeless failure.

[US] in T. Shibutani Derelicts of Company K (1978) 196: A Company K man replied, ‘Oh, I’m with the rest of the fuck-ups.’.
[US]E. Hemingway letter 5 Mar. in Baker Sel. Letters (1981) 721: To me he is an enormously skilled fuck-up.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Peacock Valhalla 377: The head rollers felt that he, Hugh, was not doing his job – not if he had an inveterate fuckup in his platoon and could do nothing with him.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 90: You a fuck-up, but you my kid brother.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 173: This private eye he knew who was a real fuck up.
[UK]H. Kureishi Buddha of Suburbia 8: I don’t know anything. I’m going to be a fuck-up.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] There are no friends in this game [...] just other fuck-ups with the same needs as you.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 186: I’m the family fuck-up.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘The Detail’ Wire ser. 1 ep. 2 [TV script] You ask for men, they send you drunks and fuck-ups .
[Aus]T. Winton ‘Family’ Turning (2005) 181: You’re a fuck-up.
[SA]IOL News 🌐 He describes himlsef as ’a f**k-up waiting to happen’.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 26: ‘He another fuckup?’ ‘He alright’.
[Aus]G. Disher Heat [ebook] ‘[S]ad, fat, hairy fuck-ups who’ve decided to rat on the boss’.
[UK]M. Herron Joe Country [ebook] ‘Fuck-ups, basket-cases, druggies and drunks’.
[US](con. 1991-94) W. Boyle City of Margins 21: [H]er fuck-up of a son’s trying to throw a lay on a girl probably just got out of her training bra.
[UK]M. Herron Secret Hours 218: ‘[H]e’s a fuck-up [...] And fuck-ups are dangerous’.