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The Etymology of the Word Vagina

Why don't you use the word vagina? Or Vulva? You need to use the anatomical terms!

We know, we know.... we would love to - but sadly certain social media platforms deem these words profane, adult, and inappropriate (we have screenshotted proof!). And, well, some of the euphemisms are pretty fun (Velvet glove, growler, south mouth...). However, some of the anatomical terms, though they might sound scientific, have roots that are a little less legitimacy than we might like.

Let's take a look!

We often get chided on our ads for not using 'scientific terms' like vagina or vulva, and opting for euphemisms like hooha, vajazzle, lady-bits or various other nicknames that our team can come up with. Sadly, we have to do this, since Facebook bots 'trawl' ads to look for inappropriate content. Whilst guidelines say we can use medical terms, in reality, they are often flagged as inappropriate or profane and it simply isn't worth getting our ads rejected.

That being said, have you ever wondered where the terms we do use actually come from? Are they really rooted in science, or do the names themselves have connotations that are less scientific than we would like? After all, our nicknames may be cutesy, but at least we (women) came up with them...

The etymology and usage history of anatomical terms such as "vagina," "vulva," and "breasts" offer insights into the evolution of language and societal attitudes towards sexuality.

The Etymological Origins of Our Body Parts

The word vulva is taken from Latin and is derived from its earlier form volva or wrapper and also from Latin ‘’volvere’' “to roll” (lit. “wrapper”).

The word ‘vagina’ comes from the Latin for sheath – a close-fitting cover for the blade of a knife or sword. It can also be translated as "scabbard" and has historically been used to describe the muscular tube connecting the uterus to the external genitals.

The word ‘clitoris’ comes from the Late Greek word kleitorís, and can be traced back to kleíein: ‘to shut away’. However, there is the argument that it comes from a Latin origin, originating from the word "clitoridis." The Latin term, in turn, comes from the Greek word "kleitoris," meaning "little hill" or "slope."

The term "breasts" has a rich linguistic history, evolving over centuries to reflect changing societal attitudes and language use. The word's etymology can be traced back to Old English, where it was spelled as "breost," denoting the mammary glands on the chest. This Old English term had cognates in other Germanic languages, such as Old High German "brust" and Old Norse "brjóst." The commonality in these linguistic roots indicates the shared ancestry of these languages.

Throughout history, the concept of breasts has been intertwined with cultural, artistic, and societal depictions of femininity, fertility, and maternal nurturing. In various cultures, depictions of the female form, including the breasts, have been subjects of art, mythology, and religious symbolism. The symbolism attached to breasts often reflects broader cultural attitudes towards gender roles, fertility, and notions of beauty.

Names for Vagina in Other Countries

  1. Japan: "Yubizume" (Finger Pickling)
  2. France: "Le Minou" (The Kitty)
  3. Germany: "Die Muschi" (The Pussycat)
  4. Brazil: "Xoxota" (pronounced sho-sho-ta)
  5. Russia: "Киска" (Kiska)
  6. Spain: "La Flor" (The Flower)
  7. Italy: "La Passera" (The Little Bird)
  8. China: "阴道" (Yīndào)
  9. Mexico: "La Conchita" (The Little Shell)
  10. India: "योनि" (Yoni)
  11. South Africa: "Die Poes" (The Cat)
  12. Netherlands: "De Doos" (The Box)
  13. Sweden: "Fittan" (The Pussy)
  14. Australia: "Down Under"
  15. Turkey: "Amcık" (pronounced ahm-chuhk)