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What is the origin of the word cum? I'm trying to find the roots for its prevalent usage, especially in North America.

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Yes, I am referring to sperm. –  Anderson Silva Jan 4 '11 at 20:42
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Such nonsense! It means "together with" and is actually a Latin preposition with the same meaning as in English. Oh you mean... –  Cerberus Jan 4 '11 at 23:37
    
I thought it was short for "come to climax", but that's just a guess. –  Andrew Grimm Mar 4 '11 at 23:16
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5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's an informal way of spelling 'to come', which can mean having an orgasm. How exactly that verb has become associated with sexual acts is unclear (to me). My best guess would be that it was commonly used in a phrase similar to:

I'm coming to an orgasm!

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@vehomzzz: Well, you're not shy, are you? –  Jon Purdy Jan 4 '11 at 23:59
    
Was the first example specifically meant to testify of single-m usage? –  Cerberus Jan 5 '11 at 3:40
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"The vicar's late coming!", said Mrs Brown, stirring her tea with the other hand. :) –  osknows Jun 22 '11 at 11:33
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Etymonline explains:

cum (verb and noun) seems to be a modern (by 1973) variant of the sexual sense of come that originated in pornographic writing, perhaps first in the noun sense. This "experience sexual orgasm" slang meaning of come (perhaps originally come off) is attested from 1650, in "Walking In A Meadowe Greene," in a folio of "loose songs" collected by Bishop Percy. [...]

As a noun meaning "semen or other product of orgasm" it is on record from the 1920s. The sexual cum seems to have no connection with Latin cum, the preposition meaning "with, together with," [...].

To this, I will add that as far as the verb come is concerned, there are similar constructions in German (kommen) and French (arriver).

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and also Italian (venire) –  hawbsl Jan 5 '11 at 0:18
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Dutch (klaar)komen. –  Cerberus Jan 5 '11 at 3:38
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P.S. Only used as a verb. Komen = to come in normal language. Funnily, it is not considered vulgar at all, as far as sexual terms go: it is rather neutral, because it is non-graphic. –  Cerberus Jan 5 '11 at 12:22
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The Oxford English Dictionary has a definition for "Come" that first developed in 1440 that may have the answer for the double entendre that is "Cum."

When roasting certain grains during the malting process, the malt rises at the top and sometimes shoots off. This was referred to as the "come." Like in this example, "In Corn, [the Radicle] is that Part, which Malsters, upon its shooting forth, call the Come."

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According to Etymonline.com, the noun cum has had its current sexual connotation since the 1920s. As a verb, it goes back much farther.

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I always figured it was how illiterate people believed the verb "to come" meaning an organism was spelled; resulting from confusion of shorted form of "scum" (as in "scumbag") referring to the male ejaculate.

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I have never heard 'scum' used to describe male ejaculate. Scum is what you scrape from the bottom of your work boots, or extract from a clogged sink drain. –  oosterwal Mar 5 '11 at 2:24
    
    
@Anguish: I see your reference and raise you another. –  oosterwal Mar 28 '11 at 18:35
    
@oosterwal: Acknowledged. 'Scum' did come* to mean ejaculate in some contexts, but not, apparently, in a timeframe that would have influenced this spelling. [* No pun intended. Really.] –  Anguish Languish Mar 28 '11 at 18:46
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protected by tchrist Sep 26 '12 at 23:12

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