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Four Letters, ends in UNT and is female*

The Devil's Kitchen has unsurprisingly linked to a Times article about THAT word...

Here's an article after my own heart, in praise of a certain word.

From the hard 'c' to the sharp 't', it's a sensational word

Can you guess what it is yet?

Down here in Wiltshire we are one ahead of him - I live in a cup shaped hollow between two long outstretched limbs of hills, and it's name begins C*N.. Nearby there is the "Swallowhead" spring; in fact the whole Kennet district is alive to the word - (I often pronounce "Kennet", as in Kennet District Council without the second e...)

I reproduce part of a scholarly article below the fold - naughty language alert:

(And the answer to the headline - Aunt - what else could it be?)

Cunt: Etymology [matthewhunt.com]

Case Study: Topographical And Hydrographical Metaphors

We have seen how the Celtic 'cwm' was influenced by the feminine prefix 'cu', a topographical vagina metaphor comparing the shape and fertility of valleys and vaginas. Other water-related terms also have similarly vaginal connotations, such as 'cundy' ('underground water channel'), which is a hydrographical vaginal metaphor derived from 'cunnus'. Similarly, 'cuniculus', also from 'cunnus', means 'passageway', and was applied to Roman drainage systems. 'Konnos', the Greek for 'vagina', is derived from 'cunnus' and the Sanskrit 'cushi'/'kunthi', meaning 'ditch', as both vaginas and ditches are channels for water. The Spanish 'chocha' ('lagoon') is another vaginal metaphor. The Russian 'kunka' describes two hands cupped together carrying water. 'Cut', a further term meaning 'water channel', is a recognised euphemism for 'cunt', though is not etymologically related to it.

The vaginal water channel allusion is replicated by the River Kennet in Wiltshire, as Kennet was originally Cunnit: "At Silbury Hill [the river] joins the Swallowhead or true fountain of the Kennet, which the country people call by the old name of Cunnit and it is not a little famous amongst them" (William Stukeley, 1743). Adjacent to the river is the Roman settlement Cunetio, also spelt Cunetione, Cunetzone, Cunetzione, and Cunetiu (though now known as Mildenhall). "The name ['Cunetio'] must be left unresolved", insist ALF Rivet and Colin Smith (1979), though its origin, like Kennet's, is the Celtic 'kuno'.

The rivers Kent (formerly Kenet) and Cynwyd share Kennet's etymology, and, as Michael Dames explains, Kennet's link to 'cunt' is readily apparent: "we may yet rediscover the Kennet as Cunnit, and the Swallowhead as Cunt. The name of that orifice is carried downstream in the name of the river. Cunnit is Cunnt with an extra i. As late as 1740, the peasants of the district had not abandoned the name [...] The antiquity of the form is clearly shown by the Roman riverside settlement called Cunetio - their principal town in the entire Kennet valley" (1976).

Comments

Well, that wasnt quite the word i was thinking of!

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