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  #1  
Old 16 January 2010, 08:56 PM
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Icon84 Acronym: can't understand normal thinking

Comment: I have been told that the word "****" is an acronym that came
from Victorian times in England that meant "can't understand normal
thinking". This term was used when a man wanted to commit his wife to a
mental institution and he did not have any other reason for committing her
other than she did not agree with him.

Is this true, or just a good rumor.
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  #2  
Old 16 January 2010, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Is this true, or just a good rumor.
No. [/logician's answer mode]

- P
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  #3  
Old 16 January 2010, 09:26 PM
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I sort of remember reading that acronym based etymologies are always made up after the fact. Except when they aren't. Um...
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Old 16 January 2010, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compass View Post
I sort of remember reading that acronym based etymologies are always made up after the fact. Except when they aren't. Um...
I've read the same thing; golf, the f-word, posh, etc. Our language just doesn't work that way.

When words *are* derived from acronyms, it's usually obvious and well-known from the get-go. Nato, Unicef, that sort of thing.

I once actually had some chump try to tell me that "news" came from "north, east, west, south," which is so patently false, it doesn't even get as far as the smell test!

Silas
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Old 16 January 2010, 11:26 PM
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I don't have an OED handy, but apparently the word dates to 1230 or so:
Quote:
**** (pronounced /ˈkʌnt/) is a vulgarism, generally referring to the female genitalia,[1] specifically the vulva, and including the cleft of venus. The earliest citation of this usage in the 1972 Oxford English Dictionary, c. 1230, refers to the London street known as Gropecunt Lane.
(I have to admit, I knew the word was old but that etymology's new to me.) But anyway, certainly not a Victorianism.
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  #6  
Old 17 January 2010, 12:40 AM
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I came into this thread thinking that "gomer" was one of the rare examples of an acronym making into the language but no, Gomer was the name of some Biblical dude. But yeah, like most "vulgarisms", the c-word appears to be derived from Old English and, further, from Old German. For those not in the know about the language, William the Bastard, who spoke French, took over England in 1066. The courtly language for a hundred years or more was French and even after they began to adapt to what the locals spoke, it became fashionable to use the Latin terms and barbaric and coarse to use the older Saxon terms. Thus, "shit" became vulgar whereas "excrement" was proper, "piss" gave way to "urinate", "sweat" to "perspire", and so on.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/****

ETA: Bahahaha. The board censored the last four letters of the URL noted above. You can take a guess what to put in there instead of the asterisks.
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Old 17 January 2010, 07:03 AM
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Chaucer uses a version of this word in the Canterbury Tales (late 1300s), though it was spelled "queynte." That word at the time also meant "cunning." Heh.

--NewZer0
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Old 17 January 2010, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewZer0 View Post
Chaucer uses a version of this word in the Canterbury Tales (late 1300s), though it was spelled "queynte." That word at the time also meant "cunning." Heh.
And the term "coney" lost out to the term "rabbit" because coney sounded too much like cunny (a variation of c**t).
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Old 17 January 2010, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compass View Post
I sort of remember reading that acronym based etymologies are always made up after the fact. Except when they aren't. Um...
Would that be... a backronym?
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Old 17 January 2010, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ana Ng View Post
Would that be... a backronym?
Actually, yes.
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  #11  
Old 17 January 2010, 03:21 PM
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For unlawful carnal knowledge, millennium edition!
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  #12  
Old 19 January 2010, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
And the term "coney" lost out to the term "rabbit" because coney sounded too much like cunny (a variation of c**t).
And the English use "Earl and Countess" for the same reason.
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Old 19 January 2010, 08:00 PM
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Because of course, male = normal.
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Old 19 January 2010, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
And the English use "Earl and Countess" for the same reason.
I get a wry smile when folks say something is quaint (queynte meaning c**t).
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Old 19 January 2010, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Because of course, male = normal.
BOCMEN? It's come full circle. All BOC* Logistics Ltd operatives are incapable of normal thinking IME.

BOC is short for "British Oxygen Company", but we prefer "Bunch of C****" due to a lack of due diligence in the lorry driving division.
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  #16  
Old 21 January 2010, 12:06 AM
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I think the c-word derives from the Latin cunnus for female genitalia. My Latin is a bit rusty, though.
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Old 21 January 2010, 02:17 PM
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The word is definitely derived from Germanic, though Latin may have a cognate:

From the OED:

Quote:
Originally Posted by OED
[ME. cunte, count(e), corresponding to ON. kunta (Norw., Sw. dial. kunta, Da. dial. kunte), OFris., MLG., MDu. kunte:Gmc. *kuntn wk. fem.; ulterior relations uncertain.]
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  #18  
Old 21 January 2010, 02:43 PM
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The Swedish equivalent to OED says the origin is uncertain.
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Old 21 January 2010, 06:59 PM
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The Dutch Etymological Dictionary gives Kont (A**) as a nasalized form of Kut (C***). Its origin may be either *Kot (Hut, originally skin-covered, cf. Cottage, Old-Slavonic Kotic, Lithuanian Kutis, stable, or Greek Kutis and Latin Cutis: skin) or alternatively from Old German Quiti, vulva, Old English Qwitha, belly, uterus.
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  #20  
Old 21 January 2010, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
1972 Oxford English Dictionary, c. 1230, refers to the London street known as Gropecunt Lane.
Isn't that the thoroughfare now better known as 'Threadneedle Street'? nudge, nudge, wink, wink etc or is that a UL too?
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