a ‘count’ is a ‘conte’ is a ‘cunt’, i.e., a petty aristocrat or someone behaving like one – overbearingly, arrogantly and contemptuously.
a ‘cunt’ can also mean the pubic mound of a human female (not the canal as some have suggested – read on for an explanation) .
what we have here is a pair of homonyms, the same word with two or more different meanings. other examples are ‘bear’ (animal) and ‘bear’ (carry), and ‘fine’ (okay), ‘fine’ (thin and delicate), fine (high quality) and ‘fine’(penalise or a penalty). so cunt (unpleasant man) and cunt (a woman’s pubic mound) are homonyms.
both are related to gaulish forms of the modern irish ceann, from old irish words like cenn, cend, cion, et al., meaning a head, or cairn, and to English forms such as cone, or count (from the practice of piling up stones or other tokens as counters to represent livestock, sheaves etc) which occur as mutated p-forms such as mount, mound, amount, and is not particularly obscene.
this explains why in Australia at least the epithet ‘cunt’ refers to a bullying man, not to a bullying woman, although this seems to be changing and yeah, why not. in America it refers in a sexist way to a woman as a sex object, so it seems the other homonym is intended.
the examination of very rude words goes beyond linguistics, touching on sociology, psychology, interpersonal politics and more not the less sensitive for being subtle. but when it comes to ‘rude’ words, the cultural neurosis surrounding them having been instilled in early childhood when impressioning tends to be deep and enduring, the obscenification seems almost natural until you focus on it from the perspectives accessible to mature adults.
not every culture obscenifies a person’s sexual parts or excretoria. relaxed adult nudity is still common worldwide in cultures where the erotica is healthy and natural. obscenity, like other taboos, is culture specific. I’m assuming my readers are able to transcend the neurosis, and that the need for the de-obscenification of the so-called ‘rude’ words of so-called ‘refined’ English will be as clear and obvious to them as it is to me.
we’ve seen how the irish ‘feic’ meaning ‘see’ or ‘look’ was mistaken for the English word fuck, and anglicised as such. ‘fuck’ had begun life as a euphemism for rut or root (e-rot-i-ca), derived from harmless english forms of words preserved in latin as facere, to make, do, or work.
work, make, fuck or fac-, fake, wake, walk, fashion, and many more are all related forms, showing common initial letter mutations of the sort that are still preserved in welsh cornish and breton.
as you probably know I don’t believe in the antiquity of latin. we have no accurate dates for stone monuments. the earliest recorded efforts to derive a chronology for our oldest latin texts were part of a renaissance, based on fanatical religious, racist and political positions inherited from the middle ages, exaggerated by the outrages of the collapsing power structures of the period leading up to the renaissance, and distorted through the warped and delusional lenses of reconstructionists hell bent on channelling god, a claim some ecclesiasts still make for st matthew, st mark, st luke and st john, none of whom can possibly have lived more than a thousand or so years ago (but that’s beyond the scope of this essay).
latin was a school language in England for a long time, and derives much more from English than is usually observed. textbooks are still working on the belief that the besotted reconstructionists propagated, by malicious force it must be admitted, that fictitious chronology the textbooks still use, based on a roman/norman-flattering assumption that latin is more perfect, godly, and therefore nearer to the garden of eden when god spoke to adam, and is therefore nearly as old as the world itself, minus a few days for the creation…
there’s no real support for the claim. latin came into being as a school language when the norman/roman invasion of Britain, when the romans and the multilingual british nations intermarried.
dates are notoriously elusive as before the widespread use of the Gregorian calendar which was only introduced as late as 1582, different schools, towers, stores, businesses, families, farms, councils, monasteries, etc, in the same county might use quite different calendars, having no notion of synchronising theirs with that of another school or other schools that began on completely different dates. and even after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar it was a long time before the confusion caused by its introduction, and the perfectly justifiable resentment of it was sufficiently subdued to permit reliable chronologies to be compiled.
so what I’m saying is that it is more likely that the latin verb facere is derived from a cornovian word pronounced like fuck, and related to similar sounding words in the other spoken but not much written languages of Britain at the time of the latin speaking schools of tudor england. whether the initial letter mutations of the times were regularised or not as they sometimes now are at least in textbooks or within literate dialects, forms such as wake (hereward the worker) muck (mucking around, mucking things up) viking (working), make, bake, fake and (yipe) work, etc, would have been contemporaneous, mixing as freely as people do and as mindlessly mutating, following instincts beyond our understanding.
cornovian is latin for kernow – an(y), and means corn-all-s because the ‘any’ has become a plural ending. the corn, which may also be spelt kern, is itself a plural of ker which is a collapsed form of cather, and is related to words meaning chair or city of the cathers, and meaning a fortified town, but now perhaps already practically synonymous with the grain growing people of Britain before the normans/romans came, when many different languages were spoken in Britain and the languages of the schools, churches and universities, to say nothing of the merchants and seafarers were not always confined to geographic locations. perhaps they weren’t the only ones and perhaps cornovia was not only growing corn, but much becomes clear if british medieval history if we realise that that is what cornovia means.
anyway, back to the topic. it’s in these kinds of contexts, where the languages are all mixing that we find words proliferating from one language to another changing meaning slightly as they go. how did a count/cunt/conte get to be called that?
think of words like country, meaning the land. think of a country. a country is an area represented to the officialdoms of the aristoctracy by an officially appointed count. a caint is a language in irish. it’s pronounced cunt unless you’re trying to avoid it for prudish reasons.
so perhaps during the pacification of british minorities by the normans/romans, we have the small langauges of the illiterate majority represented by linguists called counts, meaning languages and by transference, linguists. these were used to communicate from the hated officialdoms, which they had to flatter in order to prosper and so were hated in their turn, and so their name has come down to us in its present form, only to clash resoundingly with an incidental homonym of the most screechingly sensitive kind. lawkes a mighty and all the poor hanged man said was ‘kill the cunts’ (guild the counts)…
there now there aren’t any truly rude words are there?