Briggs also identifies a curious cluster of Lincolnshire place-names with 'cunt' connections: Cuntebecsic, Hardecunt, Cuntewellewang, Cuntesik, Cuntland, and Scamcunt Grene.
He also cites Hungery Cunt, which appears on a military map of Scotland in Cleish, though the name is presumably a mis-spelling of Hungeremout. Graeme Donald cites another form of 'cunt' used as a proper noun, this time in medieval surnames, two of which predate the OED 's earliest citation: "Early records mention such female names as Gunoka Cuntles , Bele Wydecunthe and presumably promiscuous male sporting names such as Godwin Clawecunte , John Fillecunt and Robert Clevecunt " Explaining that "Any part of the body which was unusual [or] remarkable was likely to provide a convenient nickname or surname for its owner" , James McDonald cites the further example of Simon Sitbithecunte , again predating the OED.
Keith Briggs cites further 'cunt' names: Cruskunt, Twychecunt, and Bluthercuntesaker. Russell Ash provides more recent examples, in a book chapter titled The C-word : "despite its super-taboo status, 'cunt' and its variants crop up as both a first name and surname in Britain". Carolee Schneemann wrote a letter to Friends magazine using the pseudonym "Cuntalee Snowball" , criticising its Cunt Of The Week column: "A couple signal to a cab. It does not stop for them.
The man screams after the cab, "You cunt! A player drops a ball. The men yell, "Cunt! Stupid cunt! Does it stand for what they hate? In the first episode of the comedy series In Time With Alan Partridge , the eponymous character mistakenly refers to another character as "Alice Clunt", the joke being that her 'real' name is Alice Fluck Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons, Do not call her by the obvious dirty nickname" Matthew Schofield, The surname Kuntz has a tantalising phonetic similarity to 'Cunts', and is especially notable in the case of WD Kuntz, whose 'cunt' connection is compounded by his position as a gynaecologist.
We all feel like that [ Tom Conti has received the same treatment: Gareth McLean wrote that "Conti should probably enter the vernacular as a term of abuse" , owing to its similarity to 'cunt'. The surname Kant is commonly confused with 'cunt', as Mark Lawson discovered to his cost on a live television programme: "My error was not to have known that the Philosopher Immanuel Kant's surname is habitually pronounced by academics to rhyme with "punt"" Furthermore, the name of a character in the film I'll Never Forget What's 'is Name , Quint, has been interpreted as a reference to 'cunt'.
Terence Meaden suggests that legal suppression of 'cunt' constituted "a series of vicious witch hunts encouraged by an evil establishment wishing to suppress what amounted to apparent signs of Goddess beliefs" , and, indeed, there was a Japanese goddess Cunda, a Korean Goddess Quani the Tasmanian 'quani' means 'woman' , a Phoenician priestess Qudshu, a Sumerian priestess Quadasha, and, in India, a goddess known variously as Cunti-Devi, Cunti, Kun, Cunda, Kunda, Kundah, and Kunti, worshipped by the Kundas or Kuntahs.
These names all indicate that 'cunt' and its ancient equivalents were used as titles of respect rather than as insults as does the Egyptian term, 'quefen-t', used by Ptah-Hotep when addressing a goddess. My own surname, Hunt, also has associations with 'cunt', as experienced by a character called Mike Hunt in a Leslie Thomas novel: "And if I 'ear any of you giving me nicknames - like My Cunt, Mike 'Unt, get it? The Mike Hunt pun can be traced back as early as the 19th century: "The dance was followed up by an out-and-out song by Mike Hunt, whose name was called out in a way that must not be mentioned to ears polite" FLG, The C-word.
The hardest word of them all" Mike Hunt is also the name of an American publishing house. The phrase is found in the Australian drinking toast Mich Hunt's Health That's all they are, really.
A bunch of Colin Hunts" Charlie Catchpole, Smut has a comic strip called Kevin Hunt which puns on 'cunt'. Stupid Hunts , a pun on 'stupid cunts', was used as a headline by Total Film magazine in FCUK and Cnut are both tabooed words with their respective middle letters reversed, the difference being that FCUK was a deliberate reference to 'fuck' whereas Cnut was an accidental reference to 'cunt'. This accidental reference may explain why Canute has now replaced Cnut, in an attempt to Anglicise and elongate the word and thus disguise its similarity to 'cunt'.
French Connection initially insisted that the similarity between FCUK and 'fuck' was merely coincidental, though they soon dropped their false modesty by pressing charges against the rival Cnut Attitude clothing brand. His name now prompts predictable double-entendres, such as this from Simon Carr: "John Prescott made King Canute gestures with his hands. Or, more accurately, King Cnut gestures I'm glad I'm not dyslexic " Private Eye punned on the name with its headline Silly Cnut in A Daily Star feature on the programme somewhat missed the point with the headline You Cnut Be Serious , using Cnut as a pun on 'cannot'.
Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms
The euphemistic Spoonerism 'cunning stunts' 'stunning cunts' relies not on rhyme but on a reversal of the initial letters, a trick later imitated by Kenny Everett's "dangerously named" Mark Lewisohn, comedy character Cupid Stunt, a Spoonerism of 'Stupid Cunt'. Furthermore, 'Cunning Stunts' is also the name of an advertising agency and a female theatre group. Richard Christopher cites two further 'cunt' Spoonerisms both of which are rather sexist : "What's the difference between a magician and a chorus line?
In a final Spoonerism, Courtney Gibson recalls a conversation between the Mayor of Newcastle and the Queen Mother: the Mayor attempted to point out the 'punts and canoes' on the river, though this became "the colourful c[u]nts and panoes cruising the river", to which the Queen Mother replied: "what exactly is a panoe? William Shakespeare uses it in All's Well That Ends Well [a] : "From below your duke to beneath your constable, it will fit any question", and, more recently, 'thingstable' has become a recognised euphemism for 'constable', acknowledging the 'cunt' link.
The bawdy comedy film Carry On Constable is a pun on the c-word, with its phrase "silly constable" further emphasising the joke Gerald Thomas, Ned Ward has reversed the syllables of 'constable' to create "stablecunt" , and 'constable' has also been rendered as 'cunt stubble' and 'cony-fumble'. Another euphemism for 'cunt' is 'the big C': "the big "C". No, I'm not talking Cancer. I'm talking Cunt" Anthony Petkovich, The phrase was used as the headline for an article about 'cunt' by Joan Smith The Big C , , however it is also the name of a shopping centre and garage in Thailand.
Similar terms are 'red c' 'red cunt', a pun on 'Red Sea' and 'open C' 'open cunt'. Other words termed 'big C' include 'cancer' and 'cocaine', and 'cirrhosis'. Even 'C' in isolation has also been used as a substitute for 'cunt', as in "the Cs of Manchester United" Paul Wheeler, - a phrase which is seemingly innocuous yet also readily understood as an insult. A handy two-birds-with-one-stone euphemism for both 'fuck' and 'cunt' is the phrase 'effing and ceeing' thus, 'Woking FC' officially stands for 'Woking Football Club' though has also been extended to 'Woking Fucking Cunts'.
Eva Mendes created the extraordinary "motherfuckingcuntwhorebitch" Chris Hewitt, , and Douglas Coupland created the shorter portmanteu word "Fuckshitpisscunt" No prizes for guessing what the first draft of that joke was! It has also been intentionally mis-spelt as "cund" Viz , Ruth Wajnryb notes the print media's coy treatment of the word: "CUNT has retained its shock-and-horror capacity.
A good test of this is how a word is treated in the media.
Most print media still baulk at printing CUNT, resorting to the rather quaint convention of asterisk substitution" Using other characters, especially asterisks, to replace letters often vowels , serves to accentuate a word's obscenity, drawing attention to its unprintability.
Though the word 'cunt' is printed by some British newspapers, it never appears in a large font size, and is therefore never used in headlines. American newspapers are much more cautious about references to swear words in general, and 'cunt' in particular practically the only exception being The Village Voice , which used the headline Cunt Candy Factory for an article by Tristan Taormino about "disembodied replicas of porn stars' famous bits [moulded into] plaster cunts" in As we shall see later, not only is 'cunt' a taboo in America, but discussion of this taboo is also a taboo in itself.
Thus, while a few British newspapers print 'cunt' in full, and all British newspapers gleefully use the phrase 'the c-word' to describe any word starting with that letter, American newspapers often refuse even to print 'the c-word', let alone printing 'cunt' itself. Bertagnoli's article identified a phenomenon she termed "linguistic bleaching", suggesting that 'cunt' is changing its linguistic value through cultural repetition. She argues that, with the word's creeping presence on cable television and in general conversation, it is becoming an increasingly neutral term in casual speech.
However, her article, and its by British standards, quite mild headline, were considered too strong by the Chicago Tribune editors, who decided at the last minute to remove it while the newspaper was actually being distributed. The article had already been printed, so the section in which it appeared was physically removed from the newspaper, though some early copies could not be recalled and the newspaper's censorship of itself was viewed with both scorn and humour by American media commentators.
However, none of the commentators who criticised the Tribune actually used the word 'cunt' themselves. In a radio report about the scandal, for example, Bob Garfield referred to "a word beginning with 'c' and rhyming with 'shunt' [ Lisa Bertagnoli herself, the author of the suppressed article, sees the word as "something vile and hurtful, to be reclaimed", and maintains that women of her generation are not offended by the word: "I say that to my friends; I refer to a part of my body by that word.
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No big deal". By contrast, she admits that the typical response from older women is somewhat less accepting: "oh, my God. Never use that word. Vile, repulsive. I would faint if somebody said it to me". An affectionately disguised variant of 'cunt' is 'cunny', whose variants include 'cunnie', 'cunni', 'cunnyng', 'cunicle', 'conny', 'coney', 'conney', 'conie', and 'cunnikin'. Bunny Rogers wrote a poetry collection titled Cunny Poem in William Shakespeare hinted at this second meaning in Love's Labour's Lost , juxtaposing 'incony' with 'prick' 'penis' : "Let the mark have a prick in't [ Related are 'conyger' meaning 'warren' and also spelt 'conynger', from the Middle English 'conygere' , the Anglo-Latin 'coningera' and 'conigera', and the Latin 'cunicularium'.
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The word also appears in Old French, as 'conniniere', 'coniniere', 'coniliere', and 'connilliere'. Perhaps in an effort to minimise the scurrilous impact of 'cunny', 'cony' was phased out of common usage and the meaning of 'rabbit' was extended to animals both young and old.
Spanish and French provide strikingly similar examples: the French 'connil' 'rabbit' was phased out due to its proximity to 'con' 'cunt' , and replaced with the alternative 'lapin'. The Spanish 'conejo' means both 'rabbit' and 'cunt', and the similar Spanish term 'conejita' 'bunny girl' provides another link between the two elements. The similarity of 'cony' to 'cunny' is echoed by the relationship between 'count' and 'cunt': "It is a likely speculation that the Norman French title 'Count' was abandoned in England in favour of the Germanic 'Earl' [ Indeed, the title 'count' is rendered in Gaelic as 'cunta'.
The Gaelic 'cunta', with an acute accent over the 'u', means 'assistant. Keith Briggs cites place-name suffixes such as Le Cunte derived from 'count'. As early as a direct and bawdy comparison between 'Earl' and 'Count' was made by Stephen Valenger:. The phonetic similarity of 'Count' to 'cunt' is so striking that accidental obscenities abound: Gordon Williams notes that, "[during] a Restoration performance of Romeo and Juliet [an actress] enter'd in a Hurry, Crying, O my Dear Count! She Inadvertently left out, O, in the pronuntiation of the Word Count [ For our losers: the chance to retype that sentence without the spelling mistake" Paul Wheeler, The programme has also used "bunch of cundurangos" as a pun on 'bunch of cunts'; John FD Northover, Linacre Lane cites 'Count Of Monte Cristo' as a Scouse insult, adding dryly: "The first word is often intentionally mispronounced" In the s, a sign in a Japanese railway station advertised 'Discunt Tickets', a misprint of 'Discount Tickets'; similarly, the menu for London restaurant Bengal City misprinted 'Discount' as 'Discocunt'.
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Bangkok University's School of Accounting's logo replaces the 'o' of 'Accounting' with a graphic representing a ship, rendering it as 'Acc unting'. Like 'count', 'countdown' also has comic potential if its 'o' is removed, as we shall see later. This last example, 'Charlie Hunt', is especially significant, as its abbreviated form 'Charlie' has entered the common vernacular as merely a term of mild reproach. The expression 'proper Charlie', for example, is used frequently without causing offence, as its connection to 'cunt' has been forgotten.
Although 'Charlie Hunt' is the most often cited origin of the abbreviation 'Charlie', another possible source is 'Charlie Ronce', which is rhyming slang for 'ponce'. It has been abbreviated to 'grumble', though this abbreviation is frequently a reference to pornography, so-called because heterosexual porn includes images of vaginas 'grumble and grunts'. In this pornographic sense, 'grumble' has been extended to form 'grumbled' 'caught in the act of masturbation', a pun on 'rumbled' , 'grumblehound' 'constant seeker of porn' , 'grummer' 'porn magazines' , 'jumble grumble' and 'grumble sale' 'cheap pornography' , 'grumbleweed' 'weak from excessive masturbation' , 'grumbelows' 'sex shop' , 'grumbler' 'pornography vendor' , and 'grumbilical chord' 'connecting lead for porn TV channels', a pun on 'umbilical chord'.
It is from this that the mild insult 'berk' also 'birk', 'burk', and the Australian 'burke' is abbreviated, thus, as Jonathon Green explains, "when [people] say 'You're a right berk', what they're actually saying is 'You're a right cunt', which is much more obscene" Kerry Richardson, In this sense, 'berk' is similar to 'Charlie', as both are common, mild insults whose origins as rhyming slang for 'cunt' have been forgotten.
In a spoof article supposedly written by Boris Johnson, Private Eye defined "Berkely Hunt" a mis-spelling of either 'Berkeley Hunt' or 'Berkley Hunt' as "Darius Guppy", in a reference to Johnson's association with Guppy tarnishing his public image; the magazine also combined 'Berkeley Hunt' and 'cunning stunts' to create the headline Berkeley Stunts ; later that year, it punned on the name Anton du Beke with "Anton Du Berk" ; and it also punned on Sally Bercow's surname: "don't make your husband look like a berc!
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Other Cockney rhyming slang 'cunt' euphemisms are 'all quiet' from All Quiet On The Western Front ; extended to 'all quiet on the breast an' cunt' , 'eyes front', 'Grannie Grunt', 'groan and grunt', 'gasp and grunt', 'growl and grunt', 'sharp and blunt', and 'National Front'. The Cockney pronunciation of 'cunt' was evocatively captured by Clark Collis "You cahnt! The Yorkshire equivalent is "coont" Peter Silverton, , and in Jamaican patois it is "cohnnnt" Marlon James, In backslang, 'cunt' is 'tenuc' and 'teenuc' the extra letters being added to facilitate pronunciation , and 'cunt' in pig Latin is 'untcay'.
A word with so many hard consonants in it in short a short time: un, tuh, cuh". A feminist pressure-group called 'Cunst', an anagram of 'cunts' and a pun on 'kunst' German for 'art' campaigned in against male domination of the Turner Prize.
In a Top Gear episode Phil Churchward, , Jeremy Clarkson noted that there were "a lot of anagrams going on here" on various car registration plates, followed by a shot of his own plate, CTU N. The euphemism 'see you next Tuesday' utilises each letter of 'cunt' individually, with 'see you' sounding like 'c u', and 'n t' being the respective initial letters of 'next' and 'Tuesday'. Time Out magazine created posters with the slogan 'See you next Tuesday' in See You Next Tuesday is also the title of a play adapted from the film Le Diner De Cons , thus both the play and the film have 'cunt'-related titles.
Similar to 'see you next Tuesday' is "see you in Toledo" Brooke Gladstone, , though in this case the letter 'n' is provided by a contraction of 'in'. This spoof organisation placed a classified advertisement in the Kuwait Times : "Teacher? New to Kuwait? Then you need the Kuwait Union for New Teachers.