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From Middle English cunte, queynt, queynte, from Old English *cunte, from Proto-Germanic *kuntǭ. Cognate with West Frisian kunte, Middle Dutch conte (Dutch kont (butt)), dialectal Swedish kunta, dialectal Danish kunte, and Icelandic kunta. A relationship to Latin cunnus has not been conclusively shown. Partridge suggests cuneus (a wedge).


  • enPR: kŭnt, IPA(key): /kʌnt/, [kʰʌ̃nt]
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  • Rhymes: -ʌnt
  • Hyphenation: cunt


cunt (countable and uncountable, plural cunts)

  1. (vulgar, countable) The female genitalia, especially the vulva.
    • 1930, D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Chapter 12 (speaking Midlands vernacular, but both Lawrence and his character know standard English)
      An' doesn't ter know? Cunt! It's thee down theer; an' what I get when I'm i'side thee, and what tha gets when I'm i'side thee; it's a' as it is, all on't.
    • 1983, Lawrence Durrell, Sebastian, Faber & Faber 2004 (Avignon Quintet), p. 1138:
      Ah! This power-house of human misery and ecstasy, the cunt!
    • 1962 [1959], William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch, New York: Grove Press, page 80:
      Blind boys grope out of huge pies, deteriorated schizophrenics pop from a rubber cunt, boys with horrible skin diseases rise from a black pond (sluggish fish nibble yellow turds on the surface).
    • 2004, Leo Benedictus, "A bit of hanky-panky", The Guardian, 23 Jun 04:
      Then there is a drum roll, and I watch open-mouthed as she bends over and produces a string of red cloths from her femininity. "What better way to celebrate 10 years of Camberwell Arts Week than pulling 10 red handkerchiefs out of my cunt?" she asks.
    • 2014, Behemoth, Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
      I saw the Virgin's cunt spawning forth the snake
  2. (vulgar, offensive, countable) An extremely unpleasant or objectionable person (in US, especially a woman; in UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand more usually a man).
    • 2009, Patrick Barkham, "Top Gear: Why We're Mad About the Boys", The Guardian, 12 Nov 09:
      He rails against political correctness and health and safety regulations, and earlier this summer was accused of calling Gordon Brown "a cunt" in unbroadcast comments to his Top Gear audience, whom he has also referred to as "oafs".
  3. (Britain, Australia, New Zealand, vulgar, countable) An objectionable object or item.
    Fix the car? I’ll sort the cunt out at the weekend.
  4. (Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, vulgar) An unpleasant or difficult experience or incident.
    • 1980, Stephen King, The Mist:
      The lines were up past the frozen food now; people had to cut through to get what they wanted and there was much excuse-me-ing and pardon-me-ing. “This is going to be a cunt,” Norton said morosely, and I frowned a little.
    • 2016, Rachel Braier, The Guardian, 11 July:
      Certain situations just cry out for it – keys breaking in the lock, not being able to find the starting point in a roll of sticky-tape, running out of bin-bags. The kind of everyday annoyances that Alanis Morissette would define as irony are actually cunts as far as I’m concerned.
  5. (vulgar, countable and uncountable) A woman, women, or bottom (i.e. submissive partner, not the top) as a source of sex.
    I’m going to hit the clubs and see if I can get me some cunt.
  6. (Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, vulgar, positive, countable) (with words funny, good) A person (mostly between male friends); compare bastard.
    Yes, I do remember Dave; he was one funny cunt.
    Tom's a good cunt: he fixed my car and didn't even charge me for it!

Usage notes

  • Writing in 1961, Partridge notes the term had been avoided "in written and polite spoken English" since the 15th century and had been considered obscene since around 1700. Partridge further notes the term's absence from the 1932 Universal Dictionary of English and the 1933 Shorter Oxford Dictionary, and he himself bowdlerizes it as c*nt.
  • In many English-speaking countries, "cunt" is the most offensive swear word: a study by several British broadcasting organizations found that it was the most offensive word, with 96% classing it as severe;[1] a similar study by New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority found that it was the most offensive word there, offending 74% of New Zealanders.[2]



Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day (MacMillan, 1961), 5th edition


Middle English



  1. Alternative form of cunte

Old Dutch


From Proto-Germanic *kunþaz.



  1. known, familiar


This adjective needs an inflection-table template.

Derived terms


  • Middle Dutch: cont

Further reading

  • kunt”, in Oudnederlands Woordenboek, 2012