Originally, the female pudenda and the word was inoffensive and in wide usage from at least the early 13th century. At this time, Gropecunte Lane was a red light district in London and there were Gropecunte Lanes in about twenty other English towns, most of which were later changed to more acceptable names, like Grape Lane, which is so named in York to this day. The word was used liberally by Chaucer in Canterbury Tales (c. 1390) and was not considered obscene. The etymology of cunt is still a matter of debate, but most sources agree on Old Germanic/Old Norse roots such as kunta, konta etc. Etymological links to the Latin cunnus, meaning vulva, are doubtful. By Shakespeare’s time, the word was considered obscene but he did make oblique references, most famously in Hamlet Act III, Scene II. Hamlet asks Ophelia, “Lady, shall I lie in your lap?” to which Ophelia replies, “No, my lord.” Hamlet feigning shock, then says, “Do you think I meant country matters?” with strong emphasis on the first syllable of 'country'. By the early 18th century, the word was considered taboo and its usage in print became liable to prosecution. During its many years as a taboo word, cunt was replaced, for a short time, by the euphemism 'monosyllable'. This is first recorded in 1714 as in “that chap over there is a veritable monosyllable”. Sadly, this very cultured, euphemistic usage became obsolete by the late 19th century. In 1960, in a famous, landmark case, the Penguin edition of the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley's Lover, which contained both cunt and fuck, was prosecuted under the Obscenity Publications Act in the UK, but a verdict of not guilty was returned by jury in 1961. Thereafter, both of these words were legalised in print and in other media. In mainstream cinema, both these words were frequently used from 1970 onwards. Cunt first appeared in the Oxford English dictionary in 1972. See also See you next Tuesday.