Quaint am I?
The word quaint, possibly from the Latin for 'known', has also been used in historical times in much the same way as cunt and probably had a similar pronunciation. A notable early use of quaint was from Chaucer in his Miller's Tale "Pryvely he caught hir by the queynte".
Did you know Grape Street in London was once called Grope Cunt Street for obvious reasons?
Good word cunt. Very little has been written about it. The longest account so far published is an entry in Hugh Rawson's Dictionary Of Invective, in which he calls 'cunt' "The most heavily tabooed of all English words" (1989).
'Cunt', while essentially a gynaecological term, is now more often uttered as a swearword; it is rarely employed in its literal, anatomical sense, and is instead found in abusive ('fucking cunt'), misogynist ('you cunt!'), and pornographic (cunt.com) contexts.
'Cunt' is a short, monosyllabic word, though its brevity is deceptive. Like many swearwords, it has been incorrectly dismissed as merely Anglo-Saxon slang, as the anonymous Ode To Those Four-Letter Words cautions:
"friend, heed this warning, beware the affront
Of aping a Saxon: don't call it a cunt!"
'Cunt' is not strictly a slang term; like other 'four-letter words', it was originally standard English and was deliberately marginalised in favour of polysyllabic alternatives. Thus, 'cunt' was replaced with 'vagina' and 'pudendum', 'crap' gave way to 'excrement', and 'piss' was surpassed by 'urine'.
The prefix 'cu' is one of the oldest word-sounds in recorded language. It is an expression quintessentially associated with femininity, and is the basis of 'cow' ('female animal'), 'queen' ('female monarch'), and, of course, 'cunt' ('female genital'). The word's second most significant influence is the Latin term 'cuneus', meaning 'wedge', from which comes 'cunnus' ('vagina').
A 1972 supplement (edited by RW Burchfield) to the Oxford English Dictionary, the foremost authority on English etymology, clarifies the word's commonest contexts as the two-fold "female external genital organs" and "term of vulgar abuse". At the heart of this incongruity is our culture's negative attitude towards femininity. 'Cunt' is a primary example of the multitude of tabooed words and phrases relating to female sexuality, and of the misogyny inherent in sexual discourse.
So now you know.
But if you want the complete low down, go here.
Category: English Language_