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Three hundred and fifty years later, an cartoon by Steve Bell also disguised 'cunt', this time by rendering itas the faux-French "QUEURNT" (2003). Perhaps this comic example adds anew dimension to Chaucer's 'queynte', which can be seen as a similarlyexoticised rendering of 'cunt'.

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The very nature of live broadcasting makes unexpected events a distinctpossibility, and if a programme is broadcast live, mistakes cannot berectified in the editing room. For example, on 16th March 2017, showed a painting by Tim King that included the word "CUNTAGEDDON" (a pun on 'armageddon').


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In the case of 'cunt', the in and out groups are divided by gender: women are the in-group and men are the out-group. Jayne Air has written about her own in-group usage of 'cunt': "There are things that make it okay for us to say cunt while men can't [...] cunt is such a powerful word, with so many associations, that if it's used incorrectly it can set you off in all your feminine, avenging fury. Now, don't you want a word like that at your fingertips? [...] cunt is about being an insider. Or making somebody one of you. My girlfriends and I use it with each other when we've done something particularly admirable" (199-).


"With wine I wash away my cares,And then to Love again" (1691).

'Wedge' and 'cunt', however, seem unlikely associates, as Jane Mills explains: "I know what a cunt looks like, and the word 'wedge' doesn't sort of spring to mind!" (Kerry Richardson, 1994). The 'wedge'/'cunt' link actually rests on their shared cuneiform shape: 'cuneus' led to both 'cuneiform' and 'cunt', with both words describing wedge-shaped triangular formations. The Latin 'cuneat'/'cuneate' and 'cuneare' also derive from 'cuneus', and are the sources of the modern 'coin'. Euphemistically, 'coin' means 'conceive', and 'coiner' can refer to a man who impregnates a woman, thus the word has a demonstrably sexual, if not explicitly genital, connection.

"her very looks had charmsupon't".

Thus, 'cuneiform', 'coin', and 'cunt' share the same etymological origin: 'cuneus'. The connection between 'cuneus' and 'cunt' is 'cunnus' (Latin for 'vagina'; perhaps also related to 'culus', meaning 'anus'), and this connection is most clearly demonstrated by the term 'cunnilingus' ('oral stimulation of the vagina'). In this combination of 'cunnus' and 'lingere' ('to lick'), we can see that 'cunnus' is used in direct reference to the vagina, demonstrating that the 'cun' prefix it shares with 'cunt' is more than coincidental. (The adjective is 'cunnilingual', and cunnilinus is performed by a cunnilinguist.) Another link is shown by the 'constrictor cunni', one of the muscles of the vagina.

"What did he say?""He said your Dr Cawston is a cunt" (1979).

The 'co' prefix is found most abundantly in Spanish, which provides 'concha' ('vagina'), 'chocha' ('lagoon', a vaginal metaphor), and 'cono' ('vagina'). Suzi Feay finds 'cono' preferable to the coarser-sounding 'cunt': "I must say, 'cono' is a much nicer word than its English equivalent" (2003). There is also a Castilian Spanish variant ('conacho'), and a milder euphemistic form: 'cona' and 'conazo'. 'Cono' and its derivatives are practically ubiquitous in the Spanish language, as Stephen Burgen explains: "People are often shocked at the shear quantity of conos in Spanish discourse" (1996). In Mexico, Spaniards are known colloquially as 'los conos', indicating Mexican surprise at the word's prevalence in Spain.