/ˈkʌnt/ is a word for the female genitalia, particularly the vulva, and is widely considered to be extremely vulgar. The earliest citation of this usage in the 1972 Oxford English Dictionary
1230, refers to the London street known as Gropecunt Lane. Scholar Germaine Greer has said that "it is one of the few remaining words in the English language with a genuine power to shock." Cunt
is also used as a derogatory epithet referring to people of either sex. This usage is relatively recent, dating from the late nineteenth century. Reflecting different national usages, cunt
is described as "an unpleasant or stupid person" in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary
, whereas Merriam-Webster has a usage of the term as "usually disparaging and obscene: woman", noting that it is used in the U.S. as "an offensive way to refer to a woman"; and the Macquarie Dictionary of Australian English
states that it is "a despicable man". When used with a positive qualifier in Britain, New Zealand and Australia, it can convey a positive sense of the object or person referred to.