Sunday, 31 January 2010

Sex Fact #414

The word 'cunt', which derives from the Germanic 'Kunton' (female genitalia) was first recorded in a list of London street names of about the year 1230.  That street name in full was, interestingly, Gropecuntelane, one of a warren of streets and alleyways all given over to the lowest forms of prostitution and bawdry. It was known as 'The Cunt'. 

It lay between Aldermanbury and Coleman Street (where the Swiss Bank stands today) and it belonged to one "William de Edmonton".  Curiously, medieval Paris had a street name with an identical meaning - Rue Grattecon.  Oxford and York apparently also had similar versions of that street name.
Cunt also gave rise to Old Norse kunta (ancestor of Norwegian and Swedish dialectical kunta and Danish dialectical kunte), Old Frisian, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch kunte, and the English doublet quaint.  And, by the way, the word wasn't always considered derogatory, even though it is today.  Be careful about assuming that a word's modern connotations must have governed its formation.  

No connection has been made between the Germanic words and Latin cunnus.  The proto-Germanic root of cunt is ku- "hollow place", while the Indo-European root of Latin cunnus is (s)keu- "to cover, to conceal", the etymological meaning of cunnus being "sheath".

Info Source: Dictionary of Etymology.

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