I was looking through my old A-Level English set books from 1989 at the weekend. We had to study the Canterbury Tales and I can still remember our delight when we discovered that 'queynte' was the 13th Century form of a certain four-letter obscenity beginning with 'c', used to describe the female regenerative organs.
Unlike its modern counterpart, 'queynte' was not, it seems, an obscenity back in Chaucer's time. I was wondering if anyone knew when it morphed into 'c*nt' and became a taboo word. And, by extension, the earliest usages of it and 'f*ck' as obscene, taboo and/or abusive words. Off the top of my head, I seem to recall reading somewhere that the earliest example of the eff-word is in Lady Chatterley's Lover, but I may be mistaken.
Also, I know a lot of swearing in our times is based on what are referred to as 'Anglo Saxon' words/usages. Why is this? And were the Angles and Saxons a ruder lot than the Vikings?
From the Wikipedia article
The word in its modern meaning is attested in Middle English. Proverbs of Hendyng, a manuscript from some time before 1325, includes the advice:
'Ȝeue þi cunte to cunnig and craue affetir wedding.'
(Trans: Give your cunt wisely and make (your) demands after the wedding." )
So it would appear it was acceptable at least around the 13th/14th century.