Archive for June 11th, 2015


I was talking with a friend recently and we got to wondering how it was that women became associated with cats, or cats with women, and how ‘pussy​’ came to be used as slang for vagina. I thought you might have some information on the history of this and that it was worth asking your thoughts on the subject. Pussy by Peter Driben (1950)

One theory about “pussy” for the female genitalia is that it’s derived from the Old English pusa, meaning purse; some languages do use words referring to a container, such as “vagina” (from the Latin for “sheath”).  However, other languages do use their own words for “cat” to refer to either the pudendum, the vagina or both (in France it’s chatte [“pussycat”], in German Muschi  [“house cat”]).  And in some countries, other small furry animals serve the same purpose.  I suspect it’s just part of the nearly universal human tendency to attach “cute” nicknames to the genitalia, and what better term for the female variety than something small, furry and pettable?  Consider the cat’s tendency to purr when stroked, and I think we probably have our explanation (though the common equation of moody feminine behavior with moody feline behavior may also have something to do with it).

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

Read Full Post »