slang terms for "clitoris"

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Thu Jul 22 21:55:21 UTC 2004

On Jul 22, 2004, at 12:25 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: slang terms for "clitoris"
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> At 12:01 PM -0400 7/22/04, Page Stephens wrote:
>> Not exactly clitorus but when I was looking for it online I did find
>> this
>> interesting dissertation about the word cunt.
>> Page Stephens
> Well, the commentary has redeeming social value, as we used to say,
> but I'm not sure Mr. Hunt's expertise as an etymologist does much to
> inspire confidence:
> "The prefix 'cu' is one of the oldest word-sounds in recorded
> language. It is an expression quintessentially associated with
> femininity, and is the basis of 'cow' ('female animal'), 'queen'
> ('female monarch'), and, of course, 'cunt' ('female genital')."
> The "prefix 'cu'"?  "One of the oldest word-sounds in recorded
> language?"  "An expression quintessentially associated with
> femininity"?  (Not to mention the fact that "cow", via OE cu:,
> derives by regular Grimm's Law changes from g(w)ou-, while "queen"
> comes from g(w)en-, as in gyn[ecology], so the "oldest-word sound"
> wasn't in either of them, nor is it clear what other "expressions
> quintessentially associated with femininity" trace back to the
> primordial cu- "sound".)
> Larry

Perhaps he's merely a follower of the William Safire school of

-Wilson Gray

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