Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 17 01:52:35 UTC 2004

At 8:37 PM -0500 12/16/04, Baker, John wrote:
>         Generally it's supposed that "and" ("her very C's, her U's,
>'n' her T's") represents the letter N.  However, a poster at
> asserts that "cut"
>is a late medieval and Tudor slang word for "cunt," and that he has
>found it so used in several plays.  Is there any support for this?
>I am once again traveling and unable to check independently.
>John Baker

I don't know about the historical record, but as the poster John Velz
points out, there's current "gash" with the relevant meaning--and,
not pointed out by him, there's the novel by Susanna Moore and, more
recently, the movie "In the Cut", where the word "cut" (with, yes,
the relevant meaning) is one of those items collected by the narrator
Franny, who spends most of her spare time adding entries to the
lexicon of urban vernacular English she's working on.  Unfortunately,
for various reasons that emerge in the course of the narrative, she's
not exactly a role model for us.

>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
>Of Laurence Horn
>Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 8:27 PM
>Subject: Re: dirty words in dict ionaries revisted
>>And of course (maybe this was mentioned earlier?) the reference to
>>"her C's, her U's, her N's her T's, from whence cometh her big P's"
>>(inexact quote) in
>>Shakespeare's 12th NIGHT would have been published--and of course
>>revered--throughout the 19th Century in the USA and througout the world.
>The more exact line is a bit less explicit:
>By my life, this is my lady's hand these be her very C's, her U's and
>her T's and thus makes she her great P's. It is, in contempt of
>question, her hand.
>No N's in sight; perhaps left to the reader/audience to insert ad libitum.

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