Question regarding phallic symbols

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu Mar 1 14:31:42 UTC 2001

At 06:05 PM 2/28/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Hello everyone, I was recently struck by the idea that there is a word for
>phallic images, but not for the opposite, namely the female genital organ.
>Is there some obscure word out there for such a thing?

Yes, sort of.

The counterpart to Greek "phallos" is most often given as "kteis" (= "comb"
or "vagina"). You can find it on the Web.

The counterpart to "phallic" might be "ctenic" (Latinized Greek) -- with
silent initial "c" -- doesn't really exist AFAIK, but cf. "ctenophore", etc.

If that's too awkward, one might try Greek "kolpos" vs. "phallos", giving
Latinized "colpus"/"colpic" vs. "phallus"/"phallic". Cf. "colposcopy", etc.

[The usual Sanskrit words are "linga[m]" and "yoni". "Phallus" is from a
different tradition and doesn't really belong with these.]

-- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list