Origin of merkin
Words nearby merkin
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does merkin mean?
A merkin is a pubic wig, especially for women. It is placed over the genitals to simulate pubic hair and to keep the private body parts from full exposure.
Where does merkin come from?
The merkin, as an object, has been dated back to the 1450s, by women to cover genitals that had been shaved to get rid of lice. It is also used to cover evidence of sexual disease, especially by sex workers, who additionally used merkins to decorate their bodies.
One possible origin of the word merkin is malkin, an insult dating back to the 1200s for lower-class women (which may ultimately originate from a pet form of the name Mary).
Merkins may also have been historically used by European male actors, who would don the pieces in order to portray female roles. The use of merkins in entertainment has continued to this day, with actors on film, stage, and screen wearing merkins, variously realistic and fanciful in appearance, to hide their genitals from view to avoid full-frontal nudity.
And, the term isn’t forgotten by the entertainment industry either. Merkin Muffley is the suggestive name of the fictional President of the United States in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove. Others, including male drag performers, may wear them for erotic or dramatic effect.
How is merkin used in real life?
Outside of commercial or personal use, merkin’s sexual associations can lend the word to some irreverent wordplay.
More examples of merkin:
“As an erotic accessory, the merkin knows no bounds; it can be used by men in drag, or it can act as a decorative object, suggestive of sexual innocence, promiscuity, or any other number of sexually charged meanings.”
—Dan Hoffman, Thought Catalog, March 2011
How to use merkin in a sentence
Daphne Merkin on the tempestuous, glamorous love affair—and the surprisingly literary side of Burton.Richard Burton’s Diaries Reveal His Mad Love for Elizabeth Taylor|Daphne Merkin|November 3, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Perhaps merkin awareness is growing as more actors are mentioning their unmentionables.
The writer Daphne Merkin, who has covered ribald territory herself, proved just how game she is when contacted for this article.
Then, the merkin is applied with an adhesive; Ledermann uses a matte substance by Telesis.
Claire Howorth on the NSFW history of the merkin—also known as the wig for down there.