cunt

[ kuhnt ]
/ kʌnt /

usage alert about cunt

All senses of this word are vulgar slang and are very strongly tabooed and censored. The meanings that refer to a woman and a contemptible person are used with disparaging intent and are perceived as highly insulting and demeaning. There are many words used to refer to people in sexual terms. However, to call a person a cunt, especially a woman, is one of the most hateful and powerful examples of verbal abuse in the English language. See also gash1.

noun Slang: Vulgar.

the vulva or vagina.
Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a contemptuous term used to refer to a woman.
  2. a term used to refer to a contemptible person.
sexual intercourse with a woman.

QUIZZES

DO YOU KNOW THIS VOCABULARY FROM "THE HANDMAID'S TALE"?

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Origin of cunt

1275–1325; Middle English cunte; cognate with Old Norse kunta, Old Frisian, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch kunte
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does cunt mean?

The word cunt is an extremely vulgar slang word for female genitals or a woman in general. Outside the U.S. and Canada, cunt is sometimes used as a slightly less taboo insult for a stupid or unpleasant person, including men.

Where does cunt come from?

Cunt is one of the most offensive and hateful words in the English language. The exact origins of the word cunt are unknown, but it’s recorded in the early 1200s as the name of a street in Oxford, England called Gropecuntlane, apparently a reference to prostitution.

Both Chaucer and Shakespeare made puns on cunt. Seventeenth-century English poet John Wilmot went so far as to write a very lewd poem titled “Advice to a Cunt Monger.” In the late 1700s, slang lexicographer Francis Grose defined cunt as “a nasty name for a nasty thing.” And D.H. Lawrence’s controversial 1928 novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover used cunt many times.

In the 1970s, Judy Chicago’s Cunt Art, a feminist art movement, sought to reclaim the word through traditionally feminine media, such as embroidery. Inga Musico embraced the word in her 1998 feminist manifesto Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. Eve Ensler’s 1996 hit play, The Vagina Monologues, devotes an entire monologue to reclaiming the word:

I love that word. I can’t say it enough. I can’t stop saying it. Feeling a little irritated at the airport? Just say “cunt” and everything changes. “What did you say?” I said “Cunt, that’s right, cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt.” It feels so good. Try it. Go ahead. Go ahead. Cunt. Cunt. Cunt. Cunt.

For women who have reclaimed the word, cunt is a powerful statement of female power and sexuality. However, cunt remains one of the most offensive words in English because of the way it reduces a women to her sexual organs or treats female sexual organs with contempt.

How is cunt used in real life?

Outside the U.S. and Canada, such as in the U.K. and Australia, cunt is still considered vulgar, but it isn’t always considered as taboo of a word.

The word notoriously appears over 700 times in Scottish writer Irvine Welsh’s 1993 novel Trainspotting, though the 1996 film version contains only 19 cunts

A 2017 court case dismissed charges against activist Daniel Lim for his sign calling Prime Minister Tony Abbott a cunt, citing that the word was “less offensive in Australia than other English speaking countries.”

Comedian Samantha Bee ignited controversy in 2018 when she called Ivanka Trump a feckless cunt. She soon after apologized. Some felt that the White House’s anger with Bee backfired, though, as journalists brought up no fewer than three allegations of President Trump calling women cunts.

British Dictionary definitions for cunt

cunt
/ (kʌnt) /

noun taboo

the female genitals
offensive, slang a woman considered sexually
offensive, slang a mean or obnoxious person

Word Origin for cunt

C13: of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse kunta, Middle Low German kunte

usage for cunt

Although there has been some relaxation of the taboo against using words such as fuck in conversation and print, the use of cunt is still not considered acceptable by most people outside very limited social contexts. Though originally a racily descriptive word in Middle English, it has been taboo for many centuries and continues to be so
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012