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Cluster fuck

A cluster fuck (profane English idiom) is a situation where no one is sure who is "fucking" whom, but where everyone is certain to have been "fucked" by the end. A U.S. military slang term in origin, widely employed in the software community or other complex engineering fields. It has come to refer to any really confusing and complex situation which will benefit no one when it is over, e.g. a dying software startup company[?], clashing hardware standards. In the presence of polite company, a cluster fuck is also denoted by the military acroynm , CF, (or Charlie-Foxtrot, the 3rd and 6th letters of the NATO phonetic alphabet.)

An equally valid usage is to describe a situation in which clusters of errors happen in close or overlapping proximity, where several independent and usually avoidable events cascade into multiple problems and progress on to unmitigated disaster.

A more specific use of the term is to describe troop movements where soldiers stick too closely together, so that a number of people can all be killed or injured by a single grenade, rocket, or bomb.

'Cluster fuck' used by scuba divers to describe general confusion during the donning of equipment on board overloaded dive boats (aka. cattleboats).

See also: SNAFU, FUBAR, fuckup[?], shitstorm[?], shit sandwich

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