twat

[ twaht ]
/ twɑt /

noun Slang: Vulgar.

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Origin of twat

1650–60; perhaps orig. dialectal variant of *thwat, *thwot, presumed Modern English outcome of Old English *thwat, akin to Old Norse thveit cut, slit, forest clearing (> E dial. (N England) thwaite forest clearing)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does twat mean?

Twat is vulgar slang for “vagina.” It’s also used, especially in British English slang, a way to call someone as stupid, useless, or otherwise contemptible person. 

Content warning: the following sections include further references to sexual and sexist content, which is involved in the history and use of the slang term. This article also also contains references to other items of strong language.

Where does twat come from?

While twat has been recorded since the 1650s, we don’t exactly know where it comes from. One theory connects twat to the Old English term for “to cut off.” The (bizarre) implication could be that women’s genitalia were thought to be just shorter versions of men’s.

Twat was popularized in the mid-1800s completely by accident. The great English poet Robert Browning had read a 1660 poem that referred, in a derogatory way, to a “nun’s twat.” Browning thought a twat must have been a kind of hat, so he incorporated it into his own work.

Words for genitalia and other taboo body parts (especially female body parts) have a long history of being turned into abusive terms. Consider a**, d*ck, p***y, among many others. In the 1920s, English speakers started using twat as an insult in the same way some use a word like c**t, although twat has come to have a far less offensive force than the c-word in American English. In the 1930s, twat was sometimes used as a term of abuse for “woman” more generally, and over the second half of the 1900s, twat was occasionally used as slang for “butt” or “anus” in gay slang.

Twat made headlines in June 2018 when British actor Danny Dyer called former British Prime Minister David Cameron a twat for his role in initiating the Brexit referendum in 2016—and then stepping down after it passed.

How is twat used in real life?

Twat is still common in contemporary use as an insult implying stupidity, especially among British English speakers.

Even though it’s a common term, twat is still vulgar and causes a stir when used in a public setting, especially due to its sexist nature. Public figures that call someone a twat are often publicly derided. Online, users sometimes censor the term, rendering it as tw*t or tw@t.

If you’re annoying, you might be accused of twattiness; if you’re messing around or procrastinating, you might be twatting around; if you’re going on about something, you might be twatting on. Twatting is also sometimes substituted for the intensifier f**king. 

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

British Dictionary definitions for twat

twat
/ (twæt, twɒt) /

noun taboo, slang

the female genitals
a girl or woman considered sexually
a foolish or despicable person

Word Origin for twat

of unknown origin
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