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Both the OED and Etymonline offer no clue as to origin of the slang term quim, meaning minge.

The OED’s earliest citations are from the 18th, which isn’t quite as old as Adam, but has certainly been around for a long time.

Here are two of its later citations:

  • 1966 P. Willmott Adolescent Boys iii. 50, — I got my hand on her tit and I thought well, that’s all right. So I thought I’d try for her quim.
  • 1974 H. R. F. Keating Underside ii. 25 — Is it worse to have it on me belly than to have it in me quim?

Of course, the Urban Dictionary connects it to queef, but that’s no help at all. What is the real origin of the word quim?

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OED says C18 origin unknown - so anything else is likely to be a guess –  mgb Dec 20 '13 at 4:32

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

My understanding is that the word quim shares roots with words such as cwm (Welsh for 'valley'), queen, cow, and even cunt. The most detailed online exploration of the etymology of these words used to be a page by a guy called Matthew Hunt called Towards an Etymology of Cunt, which appears to have been superseded by the page Cunt: The Cultural History Of The C-Word in which we read delights such as this:

The 'cw' prefix can be traced back to the Indo-European 'gwen', which also influenced the Greek 'gune' and 'gunaikos', the Sumerian 'gagu', and the feminine/vaginal prefix 'gyn'.

It's quite possible that the editors of the OED simply found these words rather difficult to work with, and so left out the detailed accounts which Matthew Hunt provides (http://www.matthewhunt.com/cunt/). I doubt you'll find a more comprehensive account of the etymology of quim or cunt anywhere else on the internet, and possibly in print. Hope this helps!

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