Origins of the word ‘Cunt’.

When this campaign began I knew resolutely that I would use the word ‘Cunt’. It wasn’t so much a decision but a feeling like I had no choice. There simply wasn’t any other word that felt ‘right’. I’ve always liked the word ‘Cunt’ – coming from Ireland, we say it a lot more often that it’s said in the UK.  When I moved here, I began to notice the shocked reaction that I got when I casually said ‘Cunt’ . It was mainly from women. This intrigued me. Language is so interesting with it’s loaded history and resonance. Language is our thread to the past. It seems that the reasons why the word ‘Cunt’ is such a bad word are no longer in our consciousness. When I’ve questioned people about why they find it offensive they struggle to say why ‘IT JUST IS, RIGHT!” If everyone knew the wonderful and varied origins of the word ‘Cunt’ we would all be shouting it from the tree tops in celebration of the Cunt, the gateway to life itself. But these people don’t know the roots and for some unknown reason, the universe has plucked me, amongst others, to help them remember.
Artist Sam Taylor Wood's Ruby necklace
So first of all ‘Cunt’ is the only word in the English language that we can use for the whole of the female genitalia. The word ‘Vagina’ only refers to the inner entrance meaning ‘tunnel’ or ‘scabbard’, a sheath for a sword. As Inga Muscio says “I ain’t got no vagina”. Vulva refers to the clitoris, outer labia majora and minora but not the vagina. We need the word ‘Cunt’ if we want to talk about our incredible sexual orchestra in all its glory.
To do this in an liberated, empowered fashion we need to educate ourselves about the varied and diverse origins of the word from all around the world. Of all the origins the word ‘cunctipotent’ stood out for me the most. It means “all powerful…having cunt-magic” according to Barbara Walker. Jane Caputi has researched this word in depth. Her link is at the bottom of the page. She suggests that instead of ‘listening to our gut’, as we are often told, we can move and speak from our cunt. ‘Cuntspeak’ as she delightfully names it.
I’ve researched this through many avenues and talked to many people. Linguists have debated for a long time over the true roots and it is impossible to really know exactly where is originated. The prefix ‘cu’ has been deemed “quintessentially feminine” and pre-dates written language. Therefore it can be found in the forms of ‘cu’, ‘qu’, ‘ku’, ‘coo’, ‘qy’ or ‘cy’. There are many varied and wonderful lingustic paths I could take along the meandering path of what is the etyomology of this explosive word, so in order to keep it succinct I have only presented what I deem as the juiciest findings. From Goddesses and female figures in Africa, Sumeria, India, China, Japan, Korea and Egypt all the way to the River Cunti in Wiltshire and the stunning Sile Na Gigs in my home town in Kildare, Ireland.


‘Kunta’ means woman in several African languages. It has been found in ancient writings that there was a North African Goddess called ‘Kunda Saharan’ and her tribe are still around today. They are called ‘The Kundas’. It is said that they can trace their roots right back to “the cleft of the Goddess.” It is also recorded that ‘Kunda Saharan’ was worshipped in the Saharan region before the area was a desert. This time period is between 6,000 and 8,000 BC. The Kunda people are in Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Sumeria (Ancient Iraq)

Here the word Kunta’ means literally ‘one who has female genitalia’. This is linked with the word ‘Cuneiform’ which literally means ‘the sign of the cunta’ or ‘queen who invented writing’. Cuneiform is one of the earliest known forms of writing in Sumeria dating at c.3100 BC. At around the same time there were priestesses named The Quadesha who were accountants at the Temple of Inanna. It is highly likely that Cuneiform was the form of writing the Quadesha used on clay tablets to record the temple’s financial accounts thus making it ‘the Sign of the Cunta’.

Ancient Cuneiform tablet

Inanna was the goddess of love, war, fertility and lust. She was associated with the celestial planet, Venus. She was known as Queen of Heaven and the word ‘Qu’ can also mean love, sensuality, sexuality, the divinity present in all females. She is also connected with extramarital sex and sensual affairs, prowling streets and taverns for sexual adventure. There are hymns from Sumerian sacred texts which glorify Inanna’s sexuality and sang praises to her beautiful and soft Cunt. Interestingly the Quadesha are also cited in some texts as ‘Sacred Whores’.

Goddess Inanna, Sumeria (Ancient Iraq)


It is believed that the word ‘Cunt’ came from the Proto German word ‘Kunto’ which is said to have come from the Indo-European word ‘Kunti’ which is the name of a much respected and revered Hindu goddess who was also known as ‘Cunti-Devi’ and is said to be the ruler of ‘Kunta’ which we know as ‘Kundalini’ energy. The snake like feminine energy that travels up our spine. Legend stories say how she sang to the gods to call them to sleep with her. She eventually had a son with the Sun God, Surya and ‘The Teachings of Queen Kunti’ can still be read today.  Many say that ‘Cunt’ derived from the Oriental Great Goddess Cunti, also known in ancient Hinduism as the ‘Yoni of the Universe’ (yoni means ‘sacred temple’ in Sanskrit and is used to describe the womb and cunt). Also Indian children who were born out of wedlock were know as ‘Kuntas’ and revered as gifts of the Goddess Kunti’. The word ‘Kunda’ is also used in India for a hole or pit in the ground (agni-kunda, fire-pit) for storing fire on alters in the Vedic religion.

China, Japan and Korea

Some say ‘Cunda’ was the name of the Buddha’s mother according to the Japanese but all I can find is that is was possibly the name of a female blacksmith who fed the Buddha his last meal of either mushrooms or pork. He fell violently ill and then became enlightened.

Ancient Canaan, Eygpt

Here, Qudshu or Qetesh is venerated as the fertility goddess of sacred ecstasy and sexual pleasure and is depicted holding snakes in one hand and a lotus flower in the other as symbols of creation. She is called ‘Mistress of All the Gods’, ‘Lady of the Stars of Heaven’ and ‘Great of magic, mistress of the stars’.
Qudshu, Caanite Goddess, Eygpt

Qudshu, Caanite Goddess, Eygpt

All of this searching led me to thinking about links to Britain, where I live and Ireland, where I’m from and I was over the moon to find rich roots this side of the world too.


The River ‘Kennet’ in Wiltshire was known as ‘Cunnit’ until 1740 and many people believe this is related to our favourite word. It is a beautiful, vibrant river and a home to many species of plants, animals and fish. One of the Kennet’s sources is a chalk cave named Swallowhead Spring near Silbury Hill, a prehistoric artificial chalk mound which is part of the UNESCO Heritage site that includes Stonehenge and Avebury. At 40 metres it is the tallest human-made mound in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It is thought to be approximately 4750 years old. Many people believe that it was built as a representation of the pregnant belly of a Celtic Goddess called ‘Sil’ or ‘Sulis’ who was worshipped in that area of Celtic Britain and in north-western France. Her name tells us she was both a sun and an eye-goddess (eyes =wisdom and all-seeing, just like the sun).  And local historian, Michael Dames believes that the quarry surrounding it was deliberately shaped to resemble the rest of her head, neck and body. He takes this one step further by suggesting that if Silbury Hill is the pregnant belly, then the cave from which the Swallowhead Spring begins is ‘The Cunt’ with the River Cunnit flowing from it

River Cunnit with Silbury Hill Mound in the background.


There are ancient stone sculptures of women all over Ireland and the UK on old churches and castles. These incredible figures are known as the Sile Na Gig (pronounced Sheela Na Gee) and are all sitting in a squating position with their hands holding their cunts open. Wide open. They are seen by many as ‘The Divine Hag’ or ‘The Sacred Whore’  or as a fertility symbol.  It is believed that they were seen to ward off evil and the Christians allowed them on churches to appease the Celts whose sacred sites they were building churches on.  I am in love with them. I found two in my home town, Kildare recently and can’t describe the feeling of touching such ancient stone that was made with such intent to honour the power of women’s Cunts. As I have been researching the word ‘Cunt’, I have wanted find a link to these figures in Ireland and I have. One of the connection lies with the Celtic Goddess ‘Sil’ who is represented in the ancient mound and surrounding landscape and the River ‘Cunnit’ (Kennett) in Wiltshire. Irish linguists believe it is very likely that the goddess ‘Sil’ is connected with the ‘Aos Sidhe’ (pronounced Aus Shee) people in ancient Irish folklore who were also known as the ‘fairy folk’ and are still believed today by some to live in forts and glens all over Ireland.
The word ‘Gee’ is commonly used in place of ‘Cunt’ today in Ireland and is seen to be linked to ‘Ghee’ in Sanskrit, the clarified butter from South Aisa. There is a special dish called ‘Kunda’ in India which is made from ghee and milk. Today in India,  Ghee is also used on the genitals of statues of the Goddess Yakshi, a fertility earth goddess in the quest to aid fertility. Cows are sacred in India and traditionally ‘Ghee’  was made from only cows milk. The 19 Priestesses of the Goddess Brigid of Kildare made their own special type of ‘Ghee’ from sacred cows that lived on their land. This was used for cuts and wounds during childbirth and as wax for the fire that was kept lit there in honour of Brigid for over 1000 years.
Some people also claim that the Goddess Kilda is Ireland’s counterpart to India’s Goddess Kunti who resided in Kildare. The Goddess Kilda allegedly had shrines all over Ireland until the Christians came and destroyed them. Is it possible that the Sile Na Gigs are connected somehow to Kilda’s shrines? I believe so and am determined to finding out more so stay tuned to my unfolding journey into the world of Cunt and Sile Na Gigs! It also is claimed that ‘Kil‘ in old Irish means ‘cave’ and I have read articles that are sure that ‘cave’ is relating to the ultimate cave in the female body – The Cunt.
Cunt is used a lot in Ireland but not in the extreme derogatory way it is in the UK and US. We say it in an almost playful fashion and there is even the word ‘Cunteen’ which is a variation for a young person deemed a ‘Cunt’. Legend has it that in Ireland the word ‘Cunt’ was once a birthing call for women in labour. This one made me smile… I know what I’ll be screaming when the day comes for me to give birth. CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNTTTTTTTT!!


Cunctipotence – Elemental Female Potency – Jane Caputi
Footsteps of the Goddess in Britian and Ireland – Michael Dames
Cuntalicious – The Dreadess
Cunt:The History of the C Word – Matthew Hunt
The Kunda – Michael Faulkner
History of Kundalini – The Kundalini Research Project
Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart – Betty Meador
Cunt; A Declaration of Independence – Inga Musio
Cunt-Kuni-Yoni-Temple – Red Moon Musings
Kundalini – Tara Brigid Morrigan O’Sullivan, Angelfire
So you think I’m a CUNT do you? – They In Factor
Cunt…Revisited – Uppity Woman
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets – Barbara Walker
Woodman, Marion and Elinor Dickson, eds. (1996) Dancing In The Flames: The Dark Goddess In The Transformation of Consciousness. Boston: Shambhala.
Gadon, Elinor W. (1989) The Once and Future Goddess: A Symbol of Our Time. New York: Harper and Row.
Various Authors (1996). Encyclopedia of The Goddess. Wisdom of the Earth Publications.
Various Authors (2004). Ancient Europe, 8000 BC to AD 1000: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World, USA. Thompson & Gale Publishing.

132 thoughts on “Origins of the word ‘Cunt’.

  1. Perhaps the ‘anglo-saxon’ word ‘cunnan’ (to know) might be the origin of cunt as ‘cunt’ is/was the past tense. Abraham ‘knew’ his wife. Where ? In her cunt.
    By the way a twelfth century question : “What is better than wisdom ?” Answer : “Woman.” Q: “What is better than woman ?” A: “Nothing.”
    P.S. Just a thought. The Latin ‘penis’ means ‘a little tail’ .

  2. Wow i didnt know this word had different meanings til now. Us in the United States would use that word to hurt or call someone something rude. This is really neat to know that its means different things in Good ways, but i wont be able to say it over here as i would be offending alot of people. Thank you for the info.

    • The U.S. idiots are trained that words of love are evil. This is Vatican programming.
      I use the word all the time and deal with the unjustified anger.

      • “The US idiots” how nice. you do realize that this word also has a very negative connotation over in the UK as well.

      • I’m based in the UK so yes, I know this! Hence why i started the project! Maybe ask yourself why, after reading this article, you felt it was appropriate to feel patriotic about your country?!! Big cunty love x

  3. I had used the word ‘Cunt’ rather innocuously through my senior school and college years. Truly enlightened by it’s scope and variables. Thanks for the ‘light’.

  4. Hi
    First of all I read that before realising that it was written by a women.
    Not sure what even possessed me to look up the origins of the word Cunt. But it’s odd what you do when lying alone in a hotel bed in Valle de Bravo Mexico staring out across the lake. Anyhow I too have Irish roots and enjoy exploring words and languages I fancy myself as a bit of a modern Oscar Wilde (without the boys) However I would to add to your extensive knowledge of the word cunt and it’s various uses. In my male circle we use the expression ‘Cunt-struck’ to describe the otherwise insane behaviour shown by men that have let themselves be drawn into clawing web of the female form. The expression is usually directed at the sorry males amongst us that are so easily led by the aforementioned female form and moreover that the Cunt in question is usually out of reach!

    • AWESOME! thank you oh reincarnation of Sir Wilde! I’m one of Paddy Kavanagh’s bitches and thank you for introducing me to the phrase CUNTSTRUCK! Defo using it for the name of my men’s cunt loving quest! Xx

  5. I think it is a shame that such a great think like a cunt cant be excepted on Facebook. You can show someone being beheaded, you can use the word cunt, but cant shoe one of likes wonders

  6. Great website – really informative with very beautiful pics and colourful design. I love finding out about where words originated and how they developed:)

  7. Decent informative piece, apart from the sentence “CUNT is the only word in the English language that we can use for the whole of the female genitalia.” Let me start this off…


    • No, pussy is a pet name for a domestic cat, and to use such a euphemism completely trivializes the deep sacredness of feminine power. The whole point is to stop using euphemisms. Honour the fullness of Woman by using powerful words with respect, and leave the Disney language to those who dare not speak truth.

      • Bear, look again. “Pussy” is derived from the French word “puisse,” which means POWER. “Puisse” is in turn derived from Latin “posse,” which means power.” We have a variant of “puisse” in English: “puissant.” It means powerful. Every cuntloving woman should know that.

  8. During research for my Degree course some years ago I discovered from several sources the most likely Etymology of the word ‘Cunt’ was from the Old-Norse (Viking) word ‘Kunta’ meaning ‘Scabbard’. One can Imagine a young Viking Warrior on his way home from an unsuccessful attempt at ‘rape and pillage’, saying to his friend’….can’t wait to get home and stick my Sword Into Olga’s Kunta’!!!

  9. “Cunty-baws” is a much-neglected derogatory term once widely used in South West Scotland. It would usually be used to suggest that a chap, instead of having a pair of proper testicles, has a pair of bollocks with a “cunty” aspect to them.

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  11. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long
    comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic

  12. Amazingly informative website.. Just been fucked over by BT and typed ‘cunt’ in to google. Your website has left me smiling!! Many thanks indeed.

  13. I LOVE THIS WORK! Thank you! I am an armchair-etymologist/poet myself… One note: Kunda (cunt) Lini (lingam) refers to the double helix of the male AND the female energies winding up the spine, through the crown, back to the earth, and up again through the spine. Check out the music of Kristi Martel, and her amazing song “Sacred Whore.”

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  17. Thank you so much. On a quest to recover sacred sexuality in our language – we need the words to express the concepts, so I really wanted to reclaim the power and beauty of this word, to honour the divine feminine.
    So disappointed by wikipedia, so pleased to discover your site. Blessings.

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  19. Dear Lady Vulva,
    I have been using the word ‘cunt’ as an innocuous term for the female sex organ for more than fifty years, for the reasons you gave above: neither ‘vagina’ nor ‘vulva’ covers the totality. But I learned early on to be discreet about social situations.
    Imagine my joy at finding Inga Muscio’s book and your web site! I’m with both of you; the word seriously needs to be reclaimed.
    But I have regretfully to quarrel with your identifying the picture of the bird-footed goddess as Inanna That’s Lilith, not Inanna. I’ve done extensive Post-Doctoral research on both ladies.

    Love your page.


  20. Love this. Thank you for a super read. My girlfriends and I are going to start using LMCO instead of LMAO in texts now

  21. I just wanted to say – the place kildare and the carving of kilda are referenced in a book – the daughter of lir! It is a fictional piece written about the rape of the abbess of kildare, tying in the british invasion of ireland (not historically acurate, but the writer acknowledges this using it as an allegory for the rape all over again); and charts the fictional creation of the first female gospel. You might enjoy it🙂

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  23. Fascinating article! I shall resolve to no longer hold the word “cunt” in reserve for when I really, really want a strong sweary, and to use it as it was intended.

    Of course, this leaves me with a gap in my vocabulary. Any suggestions what I can use instead, where I would once have called someone a cunt?😉

  24. Came across your site(NO Pun intended!) whilst researching the “C” word. Mad Mel, used it recently against a female News(KKKorp) Reporter for the Fascist Pro-LIEbrail Rag: “Daily Telegraph”(“ElSyd”) it is still a bone of contention, here in Oz, with Authority figures…”Offensive” but used everyday…”C-‘unt” is an Aussie variation Lloyd Bridges “Sea Hunt” TV series…so when an older Aussie says: “you’re a real Lloyd Bridges, aren’t you? you KNOW he doesn’t mean, you’re a great Scuba diver!(Ironically, “Muff diving” is associated with the Cunt🙂 ) To be called a “Slattern” was far worse, in it’s day, but stupid Aussies(Do-Gooder Politicians, fragile woe-men & pig ignorant State Police) still live in the Past of the “Good ol'(Polite) days”. At least you’re being called, something that has a purpose! It’s NOT a mere “Hole”, it’s a portal, to this world from the Other-world…as “Quagmire” would say: “Sheila Na giggity-gig!” C-U-Next Thursday…
    Big Joe

  25. Also, in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales Wife of Bath, she often refers to her/ women’s queynte, e.g.:
    “By this proverbe thou shalt understonde,
    Have thou y-nogh, what that thee recche or care
    How merily that othere folkes fare?
    For certeyn, olde dotard, by youre leve,
    Ye shul have queynte right y-nough at eve.”
    A very creative interpretation of a proverb from ancient Greek philosopher Ptolemy, which says a wise man doesn’t worry about how successful others are. The Wife interprets this to mean that a husband shouldn’t care if his wife is having sex with other people, as long as he’s getting enough “queynte” (cunt).

  26. You’re tremendous! Love this post. I, too, marvelled at the fact that there is no inclusive anatomical term and also ( with some help from D.H. Lawrence) turned to the word cunt. Love the sile na gig— immensely.

  27. “Do you Dickson Pussy take Mulva Twatlips to be your lawfully wedded cunt?”

    “I do!”

    Then everyone cried tears of joy.

  28. A lovely and versatile word, whether used affectionately as in “you daft old cunt”, with veneration as “your cunt is an object of absolute beauty”, to insult as when the proprietor of said cunt says “Franklin, please stop driving like a complete cunt!”

    Some friends of mine and I were discussing its use yesterday, stimulated by one of our number complaining that ti was a ‘bad word’, demeaning of women.

    To hear it reclaimed by women as a primal yell at performance of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is quite something

  29. This was really interesting. I didn’t realise there were so many different meanings to one word that is connected in the same way..

  30. I always say cunt, never pussy or any other word. Only once have I had a woman object. I especially like it when a woman says fuck my cunt.

  31. in the olden time when farmers use a sickle for cutting corn, he also carried a sharpening stone , this was called a pillock (penis) this pillock was tied around his waste in a long leather sheath for the pillock to on hand to sharpen the sickle bale, hense the sharpening stone known as a pillock and the leather sheath became known as a cunt.long before t.v.s

  32. I think what we think is shameful actually is not. In Hungarian Cunt is Picsa. Its used a lot in cursing, for example Menj a Picsaba means Go back to your Picsa, in other words get unborn. Women i am sure used many different ways to talk about their Cunt. In Patriarchy if you keep the Cunt respected and use it in a positive way, men immediately resent it. Its their word to hurl at us, meaning if you are a cunt, you don’t deserve any respect or justice. subhuman.
    When I am called a Cunt, i always thank them. Thank you, i say,I am working on it. Same line applies when I am called a Bitch, thank you so much, you noticed!
    “Motherfucker “bothers me deeply. It is also very ancient and i am sure it was a threat. If you can rape my mother, you have raped all women. Underneath all that cursing is a rage against women. We gave you life, so whats the trouble? Oh you can only deal death? Thats just not acceptable. I can only explain this male rage against women by looking deeply into the culture. What do most men want at any age?Access to cunts. If they don’t get it they feel ripped off by life. Come off it sons, you need to deserve a woman ‘s cunt, its not guaranteed. Just because you feel horny we don’t
    owe you cunt.
    I like to say the Great Mother is messing today with the genders. More gays are born and more transgendered people, she is disrupting the almighty male paradime. Old fashioned masculinity is shattered. yeah mama! yeah Cunt!

    • Hail, Z! I have loved your work forever. As always, I find your thought affirming, insightful, and furiously fun. Bright blessings.
      Te Norman

  33. thank you for letting shine light into this cave!

    although I still prefer the word ‘yoni’ – which includes the overies and the womb. (and is free of the stickyness of time and mis-use.)

    It changed my perception of my body and femininity, when I really felt ‘this is one’.
    Great explanations and meditations in Michaela Riedl’s book: yoni massage.

  34. Can’t see mention of it above, but even the great playwright Willy Shakeshisspeare used the word cunt in his writings, for exactly the purpose you might presume, description of the female genitalia.

  35. I understand that historically in my area cunt was the name of the sheath for the scythe sharpening stone attached to the belt of the user. This stone was a long cylindrical tool generally penis shaped. I’m

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