condom

The origin of the word condom is unknown. There are three commonly given explanations that may be true, although none of them have any significant supporting evidence and all three must be classified as mere speculation:

  • It is named after the village of Condom in southern France. This hypothesis was first proposed in 1904. Other than the similarity in form and the general English association with all things erotic to France, there is nothing to suggest that this is in fact the origin.
  • It is from the Latin condus, meaning that which preserves, a reference to the device’s original use for preventing syphilis.
  • It is from the Persian kondü or kendü, an earthen vessel for storing grain. This is a reference to the sheath’s function as a receptacle for semen. It supposedly made its way into English via Greek and Latin.

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