Question regarding phallic symbols

Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Thu Mar 1 18:53:47 UTC 2001

Brian Pletcher <bpletche at MIDDLEBURY.EDU> writes:

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?  I would think that
it would be useful if a matriarchy ever develops and men can whine about all
the ______ symbols all over the place.  Thanks in advance! (please send
responses to this address, I'm not on the list)

Erin McKean <emckean at ENTERACT.COM> replies:

I've heard "yonic" from "yoni." Probably on, but I can't be

And Bob Haas <highbob at MINDSPRING.COM> chimes in:

Maybe a "yonic symbol," derived from the Hindu term "yoni"?  I've  never
heard of this, but it seems like it'd appropriate for what you're looking
for.  And I hope that it would be politically correct, since it certainly
isn't derived from any western European languages.  I live in fear (this is
a fairly serious confession).

I've known "yonic" and used it when relevant for more years than I can
figure, but I would guess at least two decades. And a citation comes to
mind, though much more recent than that. Kevin Wald, formerly of the
University of Chicago and now in the Math Dept. at the University of
Connecticut, wrote

     "an excerpt from Gilbert and Sullivan's little-known operetta,
      _Xena; or, The Warrior Princess_"

which contains the line

     My sword is rather phallic, but my chakram's rather yonical[4]

The footnote reads

     [4] yonical: "Yonic" is the female counterpart to "phallic".

(The chakram is a weapon, a ring with a sharp outer edge and a rounded
inner edge, which the user grasps to throw it.)

Wald's headnote says that the text was "originally posted to the Xena
Netforum in the summer of 1996". See ("slightly
hypertexted") or
(pure text).

   Mark A. Mandel : Dragon Systems, a Lernout & Hauspie company
          Mark_Mandel at : Senior Linguist
 320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02460, USA :
                     (speaking for myself)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list