Friday, January 12, 2007

Hump This: Tampon

Hump This is a (quasi-)weekly Friday feature where you, the WordHumper reader, choose which lucky word gets humped back to the stoneage (or at least to Proto-Indo-Europa). Today we're ridin' the cotton pony with CH of Brooklyn who writes:
Talk to me about tampons. Why aren't they called vagina plugs?
You'll need to thank the French that when Cap'n Bloodsnatch comes to town you're not rifling through your purse searching for a "vagina plug". But don't thank them too much because as it happens tampon actually means "plug" in Middle French. Similarly, we have a word in English tampion which is the plug or cover one uses for a muzzle of a gun or cannon to keep out the moisture.

And next time you saddle up to the bar for a pint keep this in mind: tampon can ultimately be traced back to the Proto-Germanic *tappon meaning "stopper, faucet", which happens to be the ancestor of our modern English word tap.

Hey, barkeep, I'll have a Red Stripe.

If you have a word you'd like humped please email it, along with your location, to wordhumper.

tap [Online Etymology Dictionary]
tampion [Online Etymology Dictionary]
tampion [AHD]
tampon [AHD]
Tampontification Euphemisms [Seventh Generation]

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:: posted by David, 9:45 AM


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