So my friend Frank and I just engaged in a lengthy, sorta fascinating discussion on the word “Cunt.”

There are a million curses out there, most of which can be used without so much as a bat of the eye. Shit. Fuck. Dick. Dickwad. Pussy. Motherfucker. Asshole. Asswipe. Asshead. On and on. As one who curses quite often, I’ve thrown all of the above around with reckless abandon. Yet cunt, for some reason, carries added weight. To call a woman a cunt is to risk your life. To call a man a cunt, well, not much better. The word itself feels heavy; like, instead of getting punched in the head by your brother, you’re getting punched in the head by Lennox Lewis.

But why? According to Wikipedia, here’s the background:

The word is most often thought to have derived from a Germanic word (Proto-Germanic *kuntō, stem *kuntōn-), which appeared as kunta in Old Norse. Scholars are uncertain of the origin of the Proto-Germanic form itself.[8] In Middle English, it appeared with many spellings, such as coynte, cunte and queynte, which did not always reflect the actual pronunciation of the word. There are cognates in most Germanic languages, such as the Swedish, Faroese and Nynorsk kunta; West Frisian and Middle Low German kunte; Middle Dutch conte; Dutch kut; Middle Low German kutte; Middle High German kotze (prostitute); German kott, and perhaps Old English cot. The etymology of the Proto-Germanic term is disputed. It may have arisen by Grimm’s law operating on the Proto-Indo-European root *gen/gon ‘create, become’ seen in gonads, genital, gamete, genetics, gene, or the Proto-Indo-European root *gʷneH2/guneH2 ‘woman’ (Greek gunê, seen in gynaecology). Relationships to similar-sounding words such as the Latin cunnus (vulva), and its derivatives French con, Spanish coño, and Portuguese cona, or in Persian kun,Persian:کون, have not been conclusively demonstrated. Other Latin words related to cunnus are cuneus ‘wedge’ and its derivative cunēre ‘to fasten with a wedge’, (figurative) “to squeeze in”, leading to English words such as cuneiform(wedge-shaped).

The word in its modern meaning is attested in Middle English. Proverbs of Hendyng, a manuscript from some time before 1325, includes the advice:[9] Ȝeue þi cunte to cunnig and craue affetir wedding. (Give your cunt wisely and make (your) demands after the wedding.)

Personally, I’ve probably called someone a cunt—grand total—four times in my life—and zero times since age 15. Sometimes I’ll use it jokingly with very, very, very close friends, but only in the complete understanding that we’re kidding around and it’s acceptable.

Otherwise, no cunt.

Just “You fucking pussy.” 🙂

4 thoughts on “Cunt”

  1. In college I did a Sociology project on the impact of words on interactions with different people. I polled a bunch of people and asked them what the worst word in the English language was. The overwhelming response was nigger was the worst word. However when I changed the question to what was the worst curse word, cunt won in a landslide (Not gonna lie, that was awkward to type.) I found it interesting how people don’t consider the worst word in the language to be a curse word, however when I asked African American females what is the worst thing someone could call them the response was 70/30 in favor of cunt being more offensive than calling them nigger. That astonished me that the word had so much more power in contrast to what so many people responded was the worst word in the language. For me the lesson was, I ain’t using either of these words ever!!!

  2. This is kind of like the final frontier of profanity for me. I’ve been desensitized to every other curse word to the point that they really carry no offensive weight whatsoever, and I must thus watch my speech carefully when I’m with people who are not so desensitized.

    But the c-word? That seems like it’s a fighting word no matter who you direct it at.

  3. I love the word. However I do not believe in the American version of the word, but rather the meaning and usage that most of the rest of the world uses. I have often said to friends, both close and not so close, “stop being such a cunt” or “I can’t believe you just did that, you such a cunt”. I have never used it as a reference to a part of the female anatomy, but rather a stronger way of calling a person out for being a complete twat.

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