From Bruno Roy, “L’Humour érotique au XVᵉ siècle,” via Michael Gilleland’s Laudator Temporis Acti:

Dans la circonstance, je ne connais pas de meilleur euphémisme que le radicalisme; j’aurai donc recours à trois «radicaux» trilittères: vit pour le pénis, con pour le vagin et cul pour le derrière⁹. Nous pouvons dès maintenant apprécier l’humour d’une première devinette:

    Quel est le mot le plus poilu du psautier?

9. Ce sont les mots employés par le traducteur de la Chirurgia d’HENRI de MONDEVILLE (éd. A. BOS, 1897), bien qu’à la même époque (déb. du XIVᵉ siècle) le vocabulaire médical ait déjà commencé à se dissocier du langage commun; cf. Placides et Timeo, ms. Paris, B. N. fr. 212, f. 60v («…laquelle verge comme dit est se nomme preape, et en commun laigaige franchois l’en dit vit»).

In summary, the old French word vit ‘penis,’ added to con and cul (which you probably already know), can produce the innocent-seeming Latin word conculcavit ‘trampled under foot.’ Gilleland adds the relevant biblical quote: “miserere mei Deus quoniam conculcavit me homo” (Psalms 55.2). A fine example of scholarly and teenage humor combined.


  1. Noter, please, both meanings given for quoniam other than Latin.

    I especially like the first one. Just like Leah Price forgot what it feels like to like a character (or, hopefully, merely how to confess it to her [character]), I forgot what it look like, when a dictionary does not have detailed etymology.

  2. John Emerson says

    “Conculcavit”: One of Zep’s very best, which I can’t link from here.

  3. David Eddyshaw says

    That splendid book Vox Latina, in discussing mediaeval traditions for pronouncing Latin, gives habitaculum as being rendered Frenchly as habit à cul long.

  4. Ha!

  5. J.W. Brewer says

    John E.: may I interest you in this early rough mix (the “Brandy and Coke” version) of Conculcavit, accompanied by visuals of some young ladies who do an impressive job of evoking 1975-ness despite being filmed four decades later:

  6. John Emerson says

    [No mudsharks were abused in the making of this video].

    The clavinet is wonderful in small doses but there are few clavinet groups, It’s a strong flavor.

  7. David Eddyshaw says

    Fela Kuti takes this point to its logical conclusion (as was his way) in

  8. PlasticPaddy says

    French wiktionary has separate entries for vit and bite, with a Latin etymology for the former and no definite etymology for the latter. Since v/b alternation is a VL to Romance “thing”, could these be connected?

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