Monday, 28 June 2010

Anglo Saxon Primer

I think that I have just lost a 'follower' who I was genuinely beginning to like and grow fond of. The reason? I mentioned the word, 'cunt' when she asked about the root derivation of a street in Shrewsbury called 'Grope Lane'. I rightly pointed out (after warning about what is today considered foul language) that 'Grope Lane' used to be called 'Gropecunt Lane', and it was a common street-name for the areas where prostitutes hung out in medieval times, but was later changed or abbreviated across Britain, for the sake of the more sensitive and puritanical 18th century gentry. Did I do wrong?

The word Cunt used to be in common usage to describe female genitalia long before it became a word of derision or scorn for another male, which seems to have come around the 18th century, making it a taboo word today. Not for me is it a taboo word, folks, and I will not have my mouth buttoned by any Methody Preacher. If you don't like what you read here, then either stop reading, or hit the Report Abuse button, and have me silenced for good - under my present name.

There is - not too far from here in Wiltshire - a river called the Kennet. Why is it called the Kennet? Because it's source springs from between two hills and flows outwards from them. The meaning? You guessed it - Cunt. I used to have a girlfriend who's cousin was Lord Kennet, and she was due to visit him one day, so I asked her to inform him - if he did not already know - that his Anglo Saxon title was 'Lord Cunt'. She did.

Most of you will have travelled east out of London until you reach the county of Kent. It is called Kent because of the structure of the estuary which forms two banks (upon which live Kentish men on one side, and Men of Kent on the other), and between them, the river Thames flows to the sea. The meaning of the word 'Kent'? Yes, Cunt.

Ever wondered what the insulting word 'Twat' really means? A 'twat' is a hole in the hedge through which you might be able to squeeze yourself, between fields...

There are many more derogatory words that invoke male genitalia, and I reserve the right to use all of them against myself and other males for whom I have little respect, but the absolute star of the abusive words to describe an absolute Cad is that little Anglo Saxon one.

The reason why it is so effective? (for 'effective, read 'offensive') - precisely because it is so Taboo amongst the literary classes. That is the whole point. If it were not so taboo, then it just would not have the same impact - that's what puritans do to language. They give you a rod with which to lay smartly over their already chastised backs.

Fuck me - is that the time? I'd best be off - I have work to do tomorrow.


  1. Please explain why, when men fight (verbally) with each other, they need to use a word which belongs to the female anatomy. Why can't you just fight amongst yourselves and leave us out of it?

  2. And...that was then, this is now...and quite honestly, I don't know a women who isn't offended by the word!

  3. This post made me smile out loud. Well done Tom.
    Re; Jaqueline's first comment - I once asked my boyfriend at a point of high irritation at him using the word - "If you guys like cunts so much, why do you use the word to curse someone?"
    He answered "Because it is usually something you love or like a lot, but it just won't fucking do as it's told!"
    I've been busy reclaiming 'cunt' over the last few years, not as an expletive but as a term of endearment. You've gotta start somewhere ...

  4. I'm rather with Jaqueline on this one. It's a word I never use, and one I really don't like to hear. I've noticed in recent years, however, that young women/girls are using it more and more in reference to each other.

    When I was at school, swearing was de rigeur; but never THAT word.

    You missed out the use of the rhyming slang word 'BERK' (Berkshire Hunt).

  5. Like I said in the post, J - us men use all sorts of rude words on each other, not just that one, though I think that this one has a definition so exact, that there is no substitute. I have heard my 16 year-old grand daughter use it when describing a man who behaved appallingly badly. Just about every man would NEVER use it on a woman however. It has (when used as an insult) absolutely nothing to do with females, let alone their private parts.

    I never realised that 'Berk' was rhyming slang, Cro - thanks for that. I really don't mind if other people find it offensive - that's the whole point after all!

    Good luck with the word reclamation, Sarah T. I fear it belongs to all of us now though.

    Man goes to doctor and says:

    "Every time I look in the mirror, I get a hard-on".

    Doctor says:

    "That's because you're a cunt".

    Sort of sums it up really.

  6. P.S. Sarah T - Up in the Scottish Highlands, "Cuntie" IS a term of endearment!

  7. If you we're explaining a piece of history there Tom then I personally wouldn't have been offended by that word. I've no issue with particular swear words it's more where I hear them, certain words seem necessary in certain situations. I hate to hear swearing around little ones and if Ned swore in front of me then she'd get a clip round the ear, so she knows not to try it, yet I swear, double standards eh!
    Thanks for the knowledge once more Tom, I've been telling people for years that I come from Kent! :D

  8. I thought I had already responded to your comment, Sarah, but here it is again, because it seems to have disappeared - maybe it'll come up twice.

    I too hate swearing in front of young children, even though don't seem to mind or be corrupted by it in general. We are all from Kent!

  9. We're all indeed! I've had it said to me many times Tom, 'you can take the girl out of Kent, but you can't take Kent out of the girl'!

  10. Don't get me started on Essex girls...

  11. I'm really from Orpington, that technically isn't really Kent at all it's a London borough but postal address wise you would write Kent.
    Is it really true what you said about the meaning of Kent?
    Do you have a story about Essex girls?

  12. Yes, most of the stuff I write here is the truth, and the reason it seems like lies is the same reason that makes it worth writing in the first place. I am very good at making shite up, but what's the point if the truth is so much better?

    Only old jokes about Essex girls. I will tell if you want, but much better to ask Ned. X