cunny bunny
Posted: 26 November 2010 07:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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etymonline on coney:
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=coney
c.1200, from Anglo-Fr. conis, pl. of conil “long-eared rabbit” (Lepus cunicula) from L. cuniculus (cf. Sp. conejo, Port. coelho, It. coneglio), the small, Spanish variant of the Italian hare (L. lepus), the word perhaps from Iberian Celtic (classical writers say it is Spanish). Rabbit arose 14c. to mean the young of the species, but gradually pushed out the older word 19c., after British slang picked up coney as a punning synonym for cunny “cunt” (cf. connyfogle “to deceive in order to win a woman’s sexual favors"). The word was in the King James Bible [Prov. xxx.26, etc.], however, so it couldn’t be entirely dropped, and the solution was to change the pronunciation of the original short vowel (rhyming with honey, money) to rhyme with boney. In the O.T., the word translates Heb. shaphan “rock-badger.” Rabbits not being native to northern Europe, there was no Germanic or Celtic word for them.

From tvtropes.org

“Coney” (pronounced “cunny") is an old word for “rabbit” that fell out of use because it sounded like “cunt.” “Rabbit” is the main replacement, but it’s obvious that “bunny” is a modified form of “coney.”
* Bit more than “sounded like”; “cunny” is also an old word for “cunt”.
* The Fuzzy Knights had some fun with “Cuniculus (later Falic) the Slayer”.
o “Cuniculus” is Latin for “rabbit"… it is also Latin for “little cunt”.
-----

So ... is the connection just the furriness? Or what?

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Posted: 27 November 2010 12:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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OP Tipping - 26 November 2010 07:59 PM


So ... is the connection just the furriness? Or what?

There is probably a French antecedent for this.  In French, from a very early stage the phonetic resemblance between the word for “rabbit” connil/conil (< Latin CUNICULUS) where the -l had ceased to be pronounced and con (< Latin CUNNUS) gave rise to numerous double-entendres and off-color remarks (con is the French equivalent, although etymologically unrelated, to English “cunt"). The fact that CUNICULUS, and by extension connil, could also mean “subterranean passage, hole, canal” (presumably reflecting the rabbit’s propensity to create such passageways) no doubt also played a contributing role. The result was that connil disappeared from “polite” conversation, and eventually (eighteenth century) disappeared altogether (replaced by lapin).

The majority of educated Englishmen in those days knew both Latin and French, and would certainly have been aware of the word games played in French.  English coney rhymed with honey and money:  its pronunciation was in fact very similar to that of French connil (from which it was derived).  Since connil could, and frequently was, used as an euphemism for a French “cunt”, what could be more natural than to use coney as an euphemism for an English one?  The clever twist was to use the spelling cunny which, due to the rules of English orthography, had the same pronunciation as coney but offered the vowel of cunt.

This new euphemism allowed the English dramatist, satirist, and songwriter Thomas D’Urfey (1653-1723) in his compilation Wit and Mirth: or Pills to Purge Melancholy ("Being a Collection of the best Merry Ballads and Songs, Old and New") to get away with the following:

All my delight is a Cunny in the Night,
When she turns up her silver Hair.

D’Urfey also penned the oft-cited poem, and well-known folksong, “My Mistress’ Cunny”.

Just as in French, once the word for “rabbit” sounded like one for “cunt”, its days in polite society were strictly numbered, with rabbit (which initially referred only to the offspring) being the direct beneficiary.  However, an extraordinarily serious problem remained:  the word coney appeared in four places in the King James Bible.  The solution, as noted in the previous post, was to change the pronunciation.

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Posted: 27 November 2010 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks.

Having reviewed the material I put in the first post, I am now dubious of a couple of claims.

but it’s obvious that “bunny” is a modified form of “coney.”

It seems the common opinion is that bunny has a completely different origin.

And from etymonline:
Rabbits not being native to northern Europe, there was no Germanic or Celtic word for them.

Well I guess he knows what he is talking about but the Celtic languages formerly covered southern parts of Europe where rabbits could be found.

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Posted: 28 November 2010 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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OED on coney:

The current form represents OF. conil, connil, cogn. w. Pr. conil, Sp. conejo, Pg. coelho, It. coneglio:L. cuncul-us rabbit (also burrow, underground passage, military mine), according to ancient authors a word of Spanish origin. The OF. pl. (with l suppressed) coniz, later conis, gave an Eng. pl. conys, conies, and this a singular cony, conie. The ME. cunin, konyne, conyng was a. OF. conin, connin, Anglo-Fr. coning, a parallel form to conil, which gave also MDu. conijn, Du. konijn, and, with a for o, LG. kanîn, whence mod.G. dim. kaninchen. In Eng. the form cunyng, cunning came down to the 16th c.; but from the 12th c. onward it varied also with cunig, conig, connyg. The historical pronunciation is with (); common spellings from 16th to 18th c. were cunnie, cunney, cunny, and the word regularly rimed with honey, money, as indicated also by the spelling coney; but during the 19th c. the pronunciation with long has gradually crept in.
This pronunciation is largely due to the obsolescence of the word in general use, while it occurred in the Bible, and esp. in the Psalms, as the name of a foreign animal (sense 3); the oral tradition being broken, readers guessed at the word from the spelling. It is possible, however, that the desire to avoid certain vulgar associations with the word in the cunny form, may have contributed to the preference for a different pronunciation in reading the Scriptures. Walker knew only the cunny pronunciation; Smart (1836) says ‘it is familiarly pronounced cunny’, but cny is ‘proper for solemn reading’. The obsolescence of the word is also a cause of the unfixed spelling; the Bible of 1611 has conie, cony, conies, modern editions coney, conies (cf. money, monies), an irregularity retained in the Revision of 1885.
The rabbit is evidently of late introduction into Britain and Northern Europe: it has no native name in Celtic or Teutonic, and there is no mention of it in England before the Norman period; in the quotations the fur, perhaps imported, appears before the animal. The Welsh cwning, cwningen, is from ME.; the Irish coinnín, and Gaelic coinean, coinein from ME. or AFr.] 1. a. A rabbit: formerly the proper and ordinary name, but now superseded in general use by rabbit, which was originally a name for the young only.  b. Still retained in the Statutes, and in more or less familiar use with game-keepers, poachers, game-dealers and cooks: in market reports, now usually meaning a wild rabbit.  c. It is also the name in Heraldry.  d. dial. In some districts applied to a young rabbit, but elsewhere more properly to an old one.

[1292 BRITTON I. xxii. §1 De veneysoun et de pessoun et des coniys [v.r. conys, coninz, conyns] ...
5.  b. Also indecently.
1591 Troub. Raigne K. John (1611) 52 Now for your ransome my cloyster-bred conney.

and on cunny:

slang.
[Prob. dim. of CUNT; but cf. CONY n. 5b.]
= CUNT 1.
1720 D’URFEY Pills VI. 197 All my Delight is a Cunny in the Night, When she turns up her silver Hair.

and on cunt:

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.]
1. The female external genital organs. Cf. QUAINT n.
Its currency is restricted in the manner of other taboo-words: see the small-type note s.v. FUCK v.
[c1230 in Ekwall Street-Names of City of London (1954) 165 Gropecuntelane.] a1325 Prov. Hendyng (Camb. Gg. I. 1) st. 42 Yeue i cunte to cunnig and craue affetir wedding.

OED on bunny:

[f. BUN n.4 + -Y.]

1. a. A pet name for a rabbit.  b. A term of endearment applied to women and children (obs.).

1690 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Bunny, a Rabbit.

and on bun n.4:

[Etymology unknown: connexion with the prec. is not very likely. Cf. BUNNY.]

A name given sportively a. to the squirrel, b. to the rabbit (dial.).  c. Also used as a term of endearment.

1587 CHURCHYARD Worth. Wales (1876) 57 Her Squirrell lept away..she sought to stay The little pretie Bun.

and on rabbit:

[Apparently < an unattested Anglo-Norman or Middle French *rabotte (French regional (central) rabotte rabbit, rabbit hole), with suffix substitution (see -ET suffix1); the French word would represent a form with dissimilation of o in the first syllable (contrast French regional (Walloon) robète, robett rabbit, with suffix substitution) < *robotte < an unattested Middle Dutch noun corresponding to early modern Dutch robbe rabbit (1599 in Kiliaan; Dutch regional (West Flemish) robbe, also ribbe, rubbe; of uncertain origin: see below) + Middle French -otte, feminine form corresponding to -ot -OT suffix; compare the early modern Dutch diminutive form robbeken (1599 in Kiliaan); compare also Middle French, French rabouillère rabbit burrow (1564 as rabolliere; 1542 in general sense ‘hole’). Compare post-classical Latin rabettus (1407 in a British source), robettus (1473 in a British source), both in sense ‘young rabbit’.
With early modern Dutch robbe rabbit, perhaps compare Middle Dutch robbe seal (1488; Dutch rob), cognate with West Frisian robbe, rob, German regional (Low German) Robb ( German Robbe (1618)), all in sense ‘seal’, of uncertain and disputed origin; however, the connection between the two animals is not immediately obvious; for a discussion of this and possible ulterior etymologies see A. Liberman in Gen. Linguistics 35 (1997) 108-19.

Edit: Dutchtoo, what’s the Dutch word for rabbit? The Afrikaans word is haas - rabbit and hare.

[ Edited: 28 November 2010 12:44 AM by ElizaD ]
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Posted: 28 November 2010 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Eliza, in Dutch a rabbit is called ‘konijn’ and a hare is ‘haas’. Maybe it’s good to bring up the Coney Island thread again where we discussed coney/konijn in a different context.

According to EWN Dutch borrowed this from Old French ‘conin’ which developped from Lat. ‘cuniculus’ which was formed with a Latin diminutive from *kuni or *koni from an Iberian, non-IE language. cf. Bask ‘untxi’ (with dropped k- and added diminutive -tx)

This would support OP’s suggestion that a Celtic form might be expected somewhere somehow.

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Posted: 28 November 2010 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I checked on that Dutch ‘robbe’ that is referenced in Eliza’s post. Not much to add except that EWN theorizes on the seal – bunny relation. I’ll summarize;

Origin unclear. As a name for a seal it is only locally used; it is not known in English or Northern-Germanic. Is usually compared to Early Dutch robbe ‘rabbit’ (nowadays only dialectical, by borrowing via Northern French robet > NE rabbit) and is often thought to be derived from an unattested adverb meaning ‘bristly, coarse’ because of the prominent whiskers. The rabbit sense is also explained as derived from the name Robbe < Robrecht which might also apply to the Northern Dutch name for the seal.

It also adds that the Frisian and German forms for the name of the seal were borrowed from Dutch.

And finally; the modern Dutch cognate of ‘cunt’ is kont meaning ‘arse’. The modern Dutch word for ‘cunt’ is kut, not related to NE ‘cut’ as one might think but of uncertain origin although possibly related to ‘kont’.

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Posted: 28 November 2010 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dutchtoo - 28 November 2010 12:11 PM

The modern Dutch word for ‘cunt’ is kut, not related to NE ‘cut’ as one might think but of uncertain origin although possibly related to ‘kont’.

Question for Dutchtoo:  is it true that kut met peren ("cunt with pears") and kut met een rietje ("cunt with a straw")—both found in my Van Dale woordenboek—are slang (rather than obscene) expressions for “bullshit”?

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Posted: 29 November 2010 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Answer for Madeira (but the rest may read it as well).

It is indeed slang Madeira, or at least rather vulgar. How vulgar depends, some might say it’s just colloquial but it is considered rude anyway*.

‘Kut’ in this context means ‘really bad’.  The additions ‘met peren’ and ‘met een rietje’ are intensifiers; ”this is a total screw up”

* Or to quote the famous Dutch author Kees van Kooten:

It’s remarkable that where she speaks of ‘the cat’s tail’, her husband would say ‘the cat’s ass’ but their eight year old son refers to ‘the cat’s cunt’.

(all three expressions mean ‘something insignificant’ as in ”I’m not doing this for scraps”)

[ Edited: 29 November 2010 03:26 AM by Dutchtoo ]
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Posted: 29 November 2010 03:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Dutchtoo - do the Dutch refer to the vagina as “gat” (hole)?  In Afrikaans “jou gat” (your arse) is a nasty insult.  I’m wondering if “gat” has the same etymology as “kut”?

edited in words to make sense

[ Edited: 29 November 2010 03:39 AM by ElizaD ]
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Posted: 29 November 2010 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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No Eliza, not as a rule anyway. The first thing that comes to mind with gat in a vulgar sense is ‘ass(hole)’.  Actually it is not really that offensive in Dutch and I think it more or less equals English ‘butt’. On a more insulting level reet ( lit. ‘crack’) would be the word of choice. Is that used in Afrikaans?

‘Gat’ and ‘kut’ don’t appear to be related.

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Posted: 29 November 2010 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dutchtoo - 29 November 2010 12:25 PM

No Eliza, not as a rule anyway. The first thing that comes to mind with gat in a vulgar sense is ‘ass(hole)’.  Actually it is not really that offensive in Dutch and I think it more or less equals English ‘butt’. On a more insulting level reet ( lit. ‘crack’) would be the word of choice. Is that used in Afrikaans?

‘Gat’ and ‘kut’ don’t appear to be related.

According to the Dutch etymological dictionaries at my disposal (van Dale, Prisma, and de Vries), gat is cognate with English gate.

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Posted: 29 November 2010 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Madeira, are you familiar with the online Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal (WNT)? You need to register but it is free and where feasible they link to the Etymologisch Woordenboek van het Nederlands (EWN). The EWN is the latest that is available on Dutch etymology.

gat is cognate with English gate.


EWN agrees BTW.
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Posted: 29 November 2010 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Dutchtoo - 29 November 2010 02:01 PM

Madeira, are you familiar with the online Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal (WNT)? You need to register but it is free and where feasible they link to the Etymologisch Woordenboek van het Nederlands (EWN). The EWN is the latest that is available on Dutch etymology.

Thanks a lot.  I haven’t used the WNT for some time and wasn’t aware that they’ve now added EWN entries (a couple of years back I subscribed to EWN but let it lapse—much better to have access for free now!  But how can they still be charging for what is now freely available?)

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Posted: 29 November 2010 11:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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But how can they still be charging for what is now freely available?)

Beats me. Must be some kind of loophole. They still charge for the online subscription and I got me the four volume printed version at € 240. But hey, let’s not wake any sleeping dogs.

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Posted: 08 December 2010 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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And on top of that, I just found out that a few weeks ago etymologiebank.nl came online, which is based on several Dutch etymological works, including the EWN. For free. They have page with interesting links.

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Posted: 09 December 2010 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Thanks for that, Dutchtoo; I’ve added it to my sidebar of language links.

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