I’ve been wondering about this for a while now.
Why is it that a woman can quite happily call someone a ‘dick’, then blanch at the mere mention of ‘the c word’?
What the hell?
Dick = piece of male genitalia, often used as an insult against someone greatly disliked
Cunt = part of the female genitalia, often used as an insult against someone greatly disliked
So why is ‘cunt’ such a horrible, nasty word?
The only explanation I can think of is that women are still being taught to think of their own sexuality with repugnance.
Damn. That’s nasty.
But, hoping I was wrong, I decided to delve a little deeper. The quotes below are from Online Etymology Dictionary, with a little editing by me – extended abbreviations and bolded some words to make it easier to read.
“female intercrural foramen,” or, as some 18c. writers refer to it, “the monosyllable,” Middle English cunte “female genitalia,” akin to Old Norse kunta, from Proto-Germanic. *kunton, of uncertain origin. Some suggest a link with Latin cuneus “wedge,” others to Proto-Indo-European base *geu- “hollow place,” still others to Proto-Indo-European *gwen-, root of queen and Greek gyne “woman.” The form is similar to Latin cunnus “female pudenda,” which is likewise of disputed origin, perhaps literal “gash, slit,” from Proto-Indo-European *sker- “to cut,” or literal “sheath,” from Proto-Indo-European *kut-no-, from base *(s)keu- “to conceal, hide.”
First known reference in English is said to be c.1230 Oxford or London street name Gropecuntlane, presumably a haunt of prostitutes. Avoided in public speech since the 15th century; considered obscene since the 17th century. Dutch cognate de kont means “a bottom, an arse.” Dutch also has attractive poetic slang ways of expressing this part, such as liefdesgrot, lit. “cave of love,” and vleesroos “rose of flesh.”
Alternate form cunny is attested from c.1720 but is certainly much earlier and forced a change in the pronunciation of coney (q.v.), but it was good for a pun while coney was still the common word for “rabbit”: “A pox upon your Christian cockatrices! They cry, like poulterers’ wives, ‘No money, no coney.’ “
c.1225, “cunning, proud, ingenious,” from Old French. cointe “pretty, clever, knowing,” from L. cognitus “known,” pp. of cognoscere “get or come to know well” (see cognizance). Sense of “old-fashioned but charming” is first attested 1795, and could describe the word itself, which had become rare after c.1700 (though it soon recovered popularity in this secondary sense). Chaucer used quaint and queynte as spellings of cunt in “Canterbury Tales” (1386), and Andrew Marvell may be punning on it similarly in “To His Coy Mistress” (1650).
There you go.
I’m far more educated on the possible sources of the word ‘cunt’, but still mystified as to why it’s such a bad word. So I’m going to fall back onto the other form of research. I’m going to ask YOU (if you’re still reading). Is it worse than dick and prick? And if so, why? What do YOU think is the main reason that it’s considered the worst of all four-letter words?
Tell me all about it. And, if you so desire, ask your own blog readers to wander over and offer their own opinions.
Filed under: Just Stuff