'Cunt' is a synonym for 'vagina', though this is only its most familiar meaning.
As a noun, 'cunt' has numerous other senses: a woman (viewed as a sexual object), sexual intercourse, a (foolish) person, an infuriating device, an ironically affectionate term of address, the mouth as a sexual organ, the anus as a sexual organ, the buttocks, prostitution, a vein used for drug-injection, a synonym for 'damn', an attractive woman, an object or place, the essence of someone, and a difficult task.
The clarifies the word's commonest contexts as the two-fold "female external genital organs" and "term of vulgar abuse" (RW Burchfield, 1972).
At the heart of this incongruity is our culture's negative attitude towards femininity.
To us it means, on the one hand, 'sacred', 'consecrated', and on the other 'uncanny', 'dangerous', 'forbidden', 'unclean'" (1912).
Taboos relating to language are most readily associated with the transgressive lexicon of swearing.
The Cunt-Art movement used traditional 'feminine' arenas such as sewing and cheerleading as artistic contexts in which to relocate the word.
A parallel 'cunt-power' ideology, seeking to reclaim the word more forcefully, was instigated by Germaine Greer - and later revived by Zoe Williams, who encouraged "Cunt Warriors" to reclaim the word (2006), the latest of the "various attempts over several hundred years of usage to "resignify" cunt to resume its original, feminine-anatomical status" (Jacqueline Z Wilson, 2008[b]).contains the most detailed study of what he calls "The most heavily tabooed of all English words" (1989), though his article is only five pages long.Cunt: A Cultural History Of The C-Word is therefore intended as the first comprehensive analysis of this ancient and powerful word.Social taboos originally related to religion and ritual, and Philip Thody contrasts our contemporary bodily taboos with the ritual taboos of tribal cultures: "In our society, that of the industrialised West, the word 'taboo' has lost almost all its magical and religious associations" (1997).In , Sigmund Freud's classic two-fold definition of 'taboo' encompasses both the sacred and the profane, both religion and defilement: "The meaning of 'taboo', as we see it, diverges in two contrary directions.'Cunt' is a primary example of the multitude of tabooed words and phrases relating to female sexuality, and of the misogyny inherent in sexual discourse.