Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cunt n.

[orig. ME but taboo since 15C. Cunt itself, ‘a nasty word for a nasty thing’, as Grose (1788) dismisses it, appears as ‘C--t’, although he offers roots in the Gk konnos and the Lat. cunnus, and lists the Fr. synon. con (which has been linked by Fr. ety. to Lat. culus, the anus and hence Fr. cul). A. Liberman (http://blog.oup.com/2012/01/origin-of-the-c-word/) suggests a nasalised version of Germanic kut, which itself links to SE cut (an image behind a number of terms for vagina). Reticence was by no means limited to Grose (who, a single entry earlier, was perfectly happy to list cunny-thumbed (see under cunny n.)). Not until its supplement of 1972 did the OED (albeit unfazed by prick n. (1) since the late 19C) list the term, and other, lesser dictionaries, on both sides of the Atlantic, showed themselves equally coy. Many otherwise authoritative American tomes, hamstrung either by the religious right or the politically correct left, have yet to break the taboo. Yet, as Partridge, writing in 1931 (six years before the term was included in the DSUE), put it: ‘To ignore a very frequently used word – one indeed used by a large proportion, though not the majority, of the white population of the British Empire – is to ignore a basic part of the English language.’ The first use the OED can find for the term appears c.1230, when Gropecuntelane is listed among the streets that made up the ‘stews’ (brothel area) of Cheapside. Given the environment, it must be assumed that the term was already in general use. It would also appear from subsequent early citations that the term, while vulgar, was descriptive rather than obscene. Lanfranc, for instance, used it while writing his Chirurgia Magna in 1363. But by the end of the 15C cunt was unacceptable and two centuries later it was deemed legally obscene, and to print the word in full rendered one liable to prosecution. Its most notorious appearance in the dock came in 1960 in the trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It has yet, if ever, to return to grace. As Grose suggested, the word can be traced back to the Gk, although DSUE disputes whether konnus – a trinket, a beard, or the wearing of the hair in a tuft – is actually linked to the Lat. cunnus, which meant both vagina and, like such English terms as crack n.3 , slit n. (1) and pussy n., the woman (esp. if seen as promiscuous) who possesses it. More likely Gk roots are kusos and kusthos, which are both related to the earlier Sanskrit cushi, meaning ditch. Cunnus itself, setting a pattern for its descendant, was already outlawed as obscene in Rome. Horace used it, Cicero did not. While the French, more heavily influenced by Lat., have con (and the Spanish coño), with its obvious links to cunnus, the English ‘cunt’ or cunte, as found in ME, takes its inspiration from a variety of Ger. (Kunte) and Scandinavian (kunta, kunte) terms. It would appear, in this form, to be a comb. of the ultimate root cu (which also lies at the basis of cow), which appears to imply quintessential femininity and the nt of the European synons. Note val cava, ‘used by Boccaccio for a woman’s private parts, a hollow cavity or valley’ (Florio, Worlde of Words, 1598)]

1. [15C+] (also count, cuntie, quent) the vagina.

2. [mid-19C+] (also cunty) a woman considered purely as a sex object.

3. [20C+] copulation with a woman.

4. [20C+] a fool, a dolt, an unpleasant person of either sex; a general term of abuse.

5. [1930s+] a derog. term for a woman; occas. in male homosexual context.

6. [1930s+] an infuriating object, often mechanical.

7. [1940s] (US gay) a term of address, used archly as an affectionate derog. term.

8. [1960s+] (US gay) the mouth or rectum as a sexual receptacle.

9. [1960s+] (US gay) the buttocks.

10. [1960s+] commercial sex; prostitution.

11. [1970s] (drugs) the area of a vein into which one injects narcotics; the crease inside the elbow.

12. [1970s] a synon. for damn in give a damn v.

13. [1970s+] a sexually attractive woman.

14. [1970s+] any thing, object or place.

15. [1970s+] a person, usu. male, with no negative implications; thus used as a term of address irrespective of gender.

16. [1980s] in fig. use, the essence, the ‘daylights’.

17. [1980s+] something very difficult or unpleasant to do or achieve.

In derivatives

cuntery (n.)

[2000s+] malign stupidity.

cunting (adj.)

[20C+] an intensive term of abuse, derision, dismissal etc.

cuntish (adj.)

[1960s+] stupid, unpleasant.

cuntishness (n.)

[1980s+] stupidity, unpleasantness.

cuntless (adj.)

[1930s+] a general derog. epithet for a woman.

cuntlike (adj.)

[1960s–80s] a general derog. term of abuse.

cunty (adj.)

[2010s] stupid, infuriating.

In compounds

cunt-bitten (adj.)

[16C] syphilitic.

cunt book (n.)

[1970s] (US prison) pornography.

cunt-botch (n.)

[late 16C] a venereal bubo.

cunt-buster (n.)

[2000s] (US) a penis.

cunt-chaser (n.)

[1930s] a womanizer.

cunt-collar (n.) [one has been ‘arrested’ by one’s desire] [fig. use of collar n. (3b)]

[1960s] (US) the supposed entrapment of a man by a woman’s sexuality.

cunt-curtain (n.)

[late 19C] the female pubic hair.

cunt-eater (n.)

[2000s] (US) a lesbian.

cunt-eyed (adj.) [fig. use of sense 1 above as a ‘slit’ + sfx -eyed]

[1910s+] (US) used of a person with narrow, squinting eyes.

cuntface (n.)

see separate entry.

cunt fringe (n.)

[late 19C] the female pubic hair.

cuntfuck (n.)

[2000s] a general term of abuse.

cunt hair (n.) (also cunt’s hair, ball hair, pussy hair, short hair)

1. [1950s+] (US) an infinitesimally small amount; also attrib.

2. the female pubic hair.

cunt-hat (n.) [? pun on ‘felt’, i.e. ‘felt up’ + ? shape of the trilby]

1. [1920s] a trilby or felt hat.

2. an indented trilby-like paper hat as worn by food-servers, etc.

cunthead (n.) (also kunt head) [-head sfx (1)]

1. [1960s+] (orig. US) a fool; also attrib.

2. a sexual enthusiast.

cunt-hook (n.) [1990s+] (UK juv.)

the penis.

cunt-hooks (n.)

1. [late 18C–early 19C; 1950s+] fingers; occas. sing.

2. [1970s+] a term of endearment, may also be used as a casual greeting.

3. an insulting term of address.

4. as an interj.

cunt-hound (n.) [-hound sfx]

[1950s+] a man who is obsessed with sex and seduction; also attrib.

cunt-hunter (n.)

a womanizer.

cunt-lapper/-lapping

see separate entries.

cunt-lick/-licker/-licking

see separate entries.

cunt-lips (n.)

[late 19C] the labia.

cunt-man (n.) (also cuntsman)

[1960s+] (US campus) a sexual athlete.

cunt-muncher (n.) [munch v.1 (2)]

[2000s] (S.Afr. gay) a lesbian.

cunt pensioner (n.) [Fr. pensionaire, a lodger]

[19C] a kept man, a pimp.

cunt plugger (n.)

[late 19C] the penis; thus cunt plugging, sexual intercourse.

cuntprick (n.) [prick n. (3)]

[1990s+] a general term of abuse.

cunt-puncher (n.)

[1900s] an enthusiastic copulator.

cunt-rag (n.)

1. [1940s–70s] a sanitary towel.

2. used as an insult.

cunt rug (n.) [rug n.1 ]

[1990s+] the female pubic hair.

cunt scratchers (n.)

[1990s+] the hands.

cuntsmith (n.) [SE sfx -smith, on model of SE blacksmith]

[1960s] (US) a gynaecologist.

cuntstand (n.) [stand n. (2)]

[19C+] sexual enthusiasm in a woman.

cunt-starver (n.) [the Deserted Wives & Children’s Act, known as the Cunt Act]

[1950s+] (Aus.) a man who defaults on his maintenance payments.

cunt-stopper (n.)

[late 19C] the penis.

cunt-stretcher (n.)

[late 19C] the penis.

cunt-struck (adj.)

[mid-19C+] (of a man) obsessed with sex, or with a particular woman.

cunt-sucker (n.)

1. [1940s+] a cunnilinguist; thus cuntsucking, n. cunnlingus.

2. [1960s+] (orig. US) a repellent, loathed, unpleasant person; thus cuntsucking adj.

3. [1990s+] (US) a derog. term for a lesbian.

cunt-swab (n.)

[late 19C] female underwear.

cunt-teaser (n.)

[20C+] a man who excites a woman sexually but refuses to have intercourse.

cunt-tickler (n.)

[1960s+] (US) a moustache.

cunt-wagon (n.)

[1970s+] (US) a flashy car seen as an adjunct to the seduction of foolishly impressionable young women.

cunt-wig (n.)

[late 19C] the female pubic hair.

In phrases

come the (old) cunt (v.)

[20C+] to act in an obnoxious or obstreperous manner; esp. in phr. don’t come the old cunt with me.

have a bit of cunt (v.)

[late 18C+] to have sexual intercourse.

kick someone’s cunt in (v.)

[2010s] to beat severely.

like a cunt

[1920s] used as an intensifier.

make a coffee-house out of a woman’s cunt (v.) (also make a lobster kettle out of one’s cunt) [pun; the popularity of SE coffeehouses as social centres, rather than places for eating and drinking]

[late 18C] to perform coitus interruptus, i.e. ‘to go in and out and spend nothing’ (Grose, 1785).

take the cunt (v.)

to tease, to make fun of.

talk cunt (v.)

[1920s] to talk about sex, to tell smutty jokes.

In exclamations

stick it up your cunt!

[1930s+] (Aus.) a general expression of disdain, dismissal, rejecting the previous speaker’s idea, opinion, insult etc.