Is there a list of the available slang for penis?
Where do swear words come from?
Where did we get the name pussy, and cunt from?
What are the origins of the word ‘pimp’? Sam
Max Décharné, author of hipster slang bible Straight From The Fridge Dad:
I don’t know the origins of it, largely because it’s one of those words, like ‘punk’, that go back hundreds of years, but by the time Captain Francis Grose compiled his Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1785 ("A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and PickPocket Eloquence") it was well established, with the following definition – “A male procurer, or cock bawd: also a small faggot used about London for lighting fires, named from introducing the fire to the coals”.
GERRY: Is there a list of the available slang for penis and do you know how many slang words there are for this piece of the male anatomy?
FIONA: At the first of sounding self congratulatory, probably the best (and certainly the most amusing) work of reference on the subject is Roger's Profanisaurus, a slim paperback compendium of swearwords produced by our very own sister mag, Viz. As well as well over three dozen different ways of saying 'penis', features hundreds of obscure euphemisms for sex, vomiting and female bits. It'll be a major reference work for students of twentieth century slang one day, you mark my words. Find out more by purchasing the Profanisaurus from all good UK bookshops - or over the Net from www.viz.co.uk
CHAPPY: After seeing my friend Jennifer Darbys question I got to thinking, where did we get the name pussy, and cunt from? Since i havent had either in a while I might as well learn something about it?
LYNDA: Some people will tell you 'cunt' is a good Anglo-Saxon word. Don't believe 'em. It's actually Old Norse, and was originally spelled kunta. As such it probably arrived on these shores along with the Vikings, who no doubt made liberal use of it when ordering fair Anglo Saxon maids to strip prior to all the raping and pillaging they were about to get up to. Records of the English version of the word go back to Chaucer's day. Until the 18th century there was even a London street called Gropecunte Lane, which was - you won't be surprised to know - the mediaeval equivalent of the Kings Cross meat rack.
FIONA: 'Pussy' is a much more recent addition to the dictionary. It's been in use as slang for female genitalia only since the 1700s. If you had any sexual experience at all you'd probably realise it came into use because a girl's kunta is so eminently strokeable.
Where do today’s swear words come from?
MARK P: Swearing actually provides a perfect introduction to the etymology of English. Most swear words originated with Middle English, the English that began to be written and spoken as the country gradually lost its ties to France, between about 1100 and 1500. English, in both language and grammar developed primarily out of the languages of our previous conquerors, specifically Germanic, Scandinavian and Romance (the language of Rome).
So, a quick poke around the Oxford English Dictionary reveals that "shit" comes from the olde English for diarrhoea, scitte, which is itself Germanic in origin, from scheissen, possibly via the Danish shitjen. So it’s one that’s been with us for some time. Shite too goes back along way, and was even used to describe a whole range of birds in the heron family during the late 18th century: shitepokes were allegedly so called for their habit of crapping themselves when disturbed. Good to see twitchers had a sense of humour back then.
Cunt is also of Middle English origin, traceable via the Middle Dutch and Danish word kunte, and the Norwegian and Swedish, kunta. All meant much the same thing that they do today.
Bugger is an interesting one, being a Middle English term, deriving from the French, used to describe enemies of the Catholic Church, specifically the Bogomils. This large and influential religious sect, who preached across in Eastern Europe, were particularly popular in Bulgaria and Serbia, and Bogomil became the state religion of Bosnia and Hungary until the Muslims invaded the Balkans in the 14th century.
The Bogomils were a major influence on the Cathars, or Albigenians (named after the Languedoc town of Albi where they were based), a powerful Christian movement that became large enough to pose a serious threat to the Catholic Church. At least the Catholics saw it that way. When the Cathars refused to submit to Church authority, Pope Innocent III had these peaceful, enlightened, Gnostic, vegetarian ascetics brutally annihilated in the Albigensian Crusade of 1209-1229. One of the most disgraceful moments in Catholic history, this saw the slaughter and torture of tens of thousands of men, women and children for no good reason at all.
Anyway, I digress. Bugger clearly comes from the French bougre, referring to the Bogmils. While it’s fairly standard behaviour to accuse your enemies of "unnatural" acts, it’s interesting to speculate on how bougre, or bugger, may have come to mean specifically the noble art of buggery. The Cathars are often linked to another mighty Christian offshoot of the time, the Knights Templar, who sprung up during the Crusades and returned to Northern France very rich, powerful and secretive indeed. What it was they that they discovered in the Holy Land, nobody is quite sure, though there are hundreds of ideas, some dafter than others, filling hundreds of books. One of the key accusations that the Church made about the Templars was that they worshipped the head of a bearded god known as Baphomet – said by some to be the head of Jesus himself, or perhaps John the Baptist. Part of this worship was alleged to involve the kissing of another knight’s buttocks, perhaps an act of earthy spiritual humility, perhaps a total fabrication on the part of the Church. So it’s possible that such rumoured arse-kissing behaviour may have turned the straightforward insult bougre or bugger, into the act buggery that some people know and love today.
Back to swear words then…where were we?
Fuck! This seems to be a bit later in origin than most of the other words, tracing back to the early 16th century, though again of Germanic origin, via the Swedish focka and the Dutch, fokkelen. It’s thought to originate in an Indo-European root word meaning to strike. However, according to one reader anyway, the word was used in the old days to describe a woman who openly enjoyed sex, and the word stood for "full of carnal knowledge". These lovers of sex were then known as "fuckers". This is certainly puts a nice folkloric spin on plain old etymology. Can anyone suggest any others?
I remember reading that "fuck" originated with monks--who used "fvccant" back in their time--and, sure enough, after performing a web search using "fvccant," here's what I found in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
"The obscenity fuck is a very old word and has been considered shocking from the first, though it is seen in print much more often now than in the past. Its first known occurrence, in code because of its unacceptability, is in a poem composed in a mixture of Latin and English sometime before 1500. The poem, which satirizes the Carmelite friars of Cambridge, England, takes its title, "Flen flyys," from the first words of its opening line, "Flen, flyys, and freris," that is, "fleas, flies, and friars." The line that contains fuck reads "Non sunt in coeli, quia gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk." The Latin words "Non sunt in coeli, quia," mean "they [the friars] are not in heaven, since." The code "gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk" is easily broken by simply substituting the preceding letter in the alphabet, keeping in mind differences in the alphabet and in spelling between then and now: i was then used for both i and j; v was used for both u and v; and vv was used for w. This yields "fvccant [a fake Latin form] vvivys of heli." The whole thus reads in translation: "They are not in heaven because they fuck wives of Ely [a town near Cambridge].""
Reference to an earlier mention, a ‘John Le Fucker’ listed in 1250, is made in John Ayto’s Dictionary of Word Origins. He was probably so-called in mockery, or as a parody. It seems a little odd then that Chaucer, who clearly knew a few rude words, doesn’t use the term in his Canterbury Tales, begun in 1385. The earliest reference cited in The Oxford English Dictionary is 1503.
J: I was under the impression that the word "fuck" was derived from the acronym for "fornication under carnal knowledge". I suppose that if you were caught screwing around before marriage this is what you were charged with under some legal system somewhere.
Fuck is an acronym from Dante's Inferno For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Do more research.
[What a cunt! MOP]
Some other suggestions (mostly unlikely) include:
Fornication Under Consent of the King: suggesting one needed the King’s permission to shag out of wedlock. Soldiers were said to be automatically granted the right when out raping and pillaging in foreign lands.
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge: For those held in prison for sex out of wedlock.
File Under Carnal Knowledge: allegedly marked on Scotland Yard rape files.