One of the odder phenomena of 1990s horror was the high-culture canonization of Stephen King. From genre hit to book-factory, the commercial success of the King author-function was secured by the end of the 1980s. But, sometime in the mid-1990s, King made the leap from household product (as Clive Barker remarked, there are two books in every American household: one is the Bible and one is a novel by Stephen King) to respected lit lion. In 1994 short works bearing his byline started popping up in The New Yorker. A few years later, in the Whitney approached him for a handmade art book project, slapping the highbrow seal of approval on him. By the time the decade was over, The New Yorker was running profile pieces declaring him America's most essential storyteller. King's rep as a master of narrative is now firmly established in literary culture.
However, there's an unexamined tradition of verbal innovation that we should not overlook. According to Jesse Sheidlower's The F Word, a pleasingly comprehensive historical dictionary of the development of swear word, Stephen King can claim credit for the first written instance of not one, but two variants on "the F bomb" (though not the term "the F bomb" itself, which first appeared in print in 1988 in the pages of Newsday).
King's first major contribution to mankind's understanding of the many nuances of the fucking, in its literal and metaphorical senses, appears in his never-quite-done milestone The Stand. In that ever-metastasizing novel, King added a meaning to the nearly century-old term fuckery.
The word fuckery, meaning a brothel, first appeared in print in 1906, gaining a second sense of "intercourse" by the 1961. In 1978, Stephen King innovated a third sense that, stunningly, moved strictly into the abstract realm of ethical philosophy. King used fuckery to mean "despicable behavior, (also) treachery." From The Strand:
This was an act of pure human fuckery.
King's second inno-fucking-vation appeared in the pages of his 1986 novel It. There King fused two popular derogatories to create the portmanteau word fucknuts, meaning "a stupid or contemptible person." Here comes the literature:
"Why did you do that?"
"Because I felt like it, fucknuts!" Henry roared back.
I feel fucknuts is a particularly charming coinage in its combination of a classic obscene term with a coyly infantile euphemism. That mixture of cynical bitterness and awkward innocence is true art.