usage alert about cunt
noun Slang: Vulgar.
- a contemptuous term used to refer to a woman.
- a term used to refer to a contemptible person.
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Origin of cunt
Words nearby cunt
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.