Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 27 13:00:13 UTC 2000

At 8:23 PM -0500 12/27/00, David M. Robertson wrote:
>It's funny that this thread should have come up. Just before I logged on I was
>thnking about the usage of "cock" for the FEMALE sex organ in parts of the
>south in the days of my youth. It seems to me that it got homogenized out in
>the 60s. How wide-spread was it? Anbody else remember?
>   Snake

Not being a southerner, this is all wondrous strange to me, but the
RHHDAS has "cock" = ' the vulva or vagina: cunt (usu. considered
vulgar) as "Southern and Black English", with the first cite from

Doten, Journals II, 957  We felt of each other's cocks and then she
got on and fucked me bully.

(I don't know if the diarist is male or female, but in either case,
this entry also throws water on the idea that the use of female
referents as the subject of transitive "fuck" is a recent

Interesting contrast in this quatrain from Read (1928), where I
assume the context makes it clear that the couple is mixed-sex:

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
If it wasn't for your cock, my prick would rust.

Also, we have from lexicographic sources:
1942  "cock"  n. applied to both the female pudendum and the male [!] penis
1944  "cock" ((Pudenda muliebra))...In the vulgar sense it is always
applied to females, never to males, as in England.  [Was this ever
true about England?]

Then, in non-sexual contexts, there are references to "when you
came/jumped out of your mammy's cock", and a memorist's note that "A
woman had a cock.  When we learned whites used that term for the male
organ, we had contempt for their dumbness."

As for the origin, two related suggestions invoke an archaic word for
shellfish preserved in "cockle" and the Fr. "coquille", presumably
for the shape.  This would make the two uses of "cock" coincidentally
identical, which seems a bit implausible, as well as rendering that
Doten (1867) cite more of a pun than it really seems in context to be.


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