Latin Obscenity
Get Latin Obscenity essential facts below. View Videos or join the Latin Obscenity discussion. Add Latin Obscenity to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Latin Obscenity

Latin obscenity is the profane, indecent, or impolite vocabulary of Latin, and its uses. Words deemed obscene were described as obsc(a)ena (obscene, lewd, unfit for public use), or improba (improper, in poor taste, undignified). Documented obscenities occurred rarely in classical Latin literature, limited to certain types of writing such as epigrams, but they are commonly used in the graffiti written on the walls of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Among the documents of interest in this area is a letter written by Cicero in 45 BC (ad Fam. 9.22) to a friend called Paetus, in which he alludes to a number of obscene words without actually naming them.

Apart from graffiti, the writers who used obscene words most were Catullus and Martial in their shorter poems. Another source is the anonymous Priapeia (see External links below), a collection of 95 epigrams supposedly written to adorn statues of the fertility god Priapus, whose wooden image was customarily set up to protect orchards against thieves. The earlier poems of Horace also contained some obscenities. However, the satirists Persius and Juvenal, although often describing obscene acts, did so without mentioning the obscene words.

Medical, especially veterinary, texts also use certain anatomical words that, outside of their technical context, might have been considered obscene.

Latin taboo words

Cicero's letter ad Fam. 9.22

In a letter to one of his friends, written about 45 BC, Cicero discusses a number of obscenities in Latin.[1] It appears that the friend, Lucius Papirius Paetus, (whose letters to Cicero have not been preserved) had used the word mentula ("penis") in one of his letters. Cicero praises him for his forthrightness, which he says conforms to the teachings of the Stoic philosophers, but says that he himself prefers modesty (ver?cundia).

In the letter Cicero alludes to a number of obscene words, without actually mentioning them. The words which he alludes to but avoids are: c?lus ("arsehole"), mentula ("penis"), cunnus ("cunt"), land?ca ("clitoris"), and c?le? ("testicles"). He also objects to words which mean "to fuck", as well as to the Latin word b?n? "two" because for bilingual speakers it sounds like the Greek (bineî) ("he fucks or sodomises"[2]), and also to two words for passing wind, v?ssi? and p?d?. He does not object to using the word ?nus, and says that p?nis, which in his day was obscene, was formerly just a euphemism meaning "tail".

Degrees of obscenity

There thus appear to have been various degrees of obscenity in Latin, with words for anything to do with sex in the most obscene category. These words are strictly avoided in most types of Latin literature; however, they are common in graffiti, and also in certain genres of poetry, such as the short poems known as epigrams, such as those written by Catullus and Martial.[3] The poet Horace also used obscenities in his early poems, that is the Epodes and the first book of Satires, but later writers of satire such as Juvenal and Persius avoided the coarser words even when discussing obscene topics. There were, however, some occasions in public life, such as in triumphal processions, at weddings, and at certain festivals, where obscenities were traditionally allowed. The purpose of these was presumably twofold, first to ward off the evil eye or potential envy of the gods, and second to promote fertility.[4]

Euphemistic expressions

A very common way of avoiding words for sexual acts was simply to omit the word in question. J.N. Adams collects numerous examples of this.[5] For example, in Horace (Epodes 12.15):

?nachiam ter nocte potes
("You are capable of [having sex with] Inachia three times in a night.")

Another way was to substitute the taboo word with a milder one or a metaphor, for example using cl?n?s ("rump (of an animal)") for c?lus or testicul? for c?le?.

Sometimes the offending word was replaced by a pronoun such as istuc ("that") or an adverb such as ill?c ("there"), as in Martial (11.104.16):

et quamv?s Ithac? stertente pud?ca sol?bat
  ill?c P?nelop? semper hab?re manum
("And when the Ithacan was snoring, modest though she was,
   Penelope always kept her hand there.")

Mentula and verpa: the penis


Mentula is the basic Latin word for penis. It is used 48 times in Martial, 26 times in the Priapeia, and 18 times in Pompeian inscriptions.[6] Its status as a basic obscenity is confirmed by the Priapeia 29, in which mentula and cunnus are given as ideal examples of obscene words:[7]

obsc?nis, peream, Pri?pe, s? n?n
?t? m? pudet improb?sque verb?s
sed cum t? posit? deus pud?re
ostend?s mihi c?le?s patent?s
cum cunn? mihi mentula est vocanda
("May I die if it doesn't shame me
to use obscene and improper words;
but when you, Priapus, as a god, shamelessly
show me your balls hanging out,
it is appropriate for me to speak of cunts and cocks.")

Martial mocks a friend who despised effeminate clothing, explaining why he suspects that he is secretly homosexual:

rog?bit unde suspicer virum mollem.
?n? lav?mur: aspicit nihil s?rsum,
sed spectat ocul?s d?vorantibus drauc?s
nec ?tios?s mentul?s videt labr?s.
("He will ask why I suspect him to be a 'soft' man.
We go to the baths together. He never looks at anything above,
but examines the athletes[8] with devouring eyes,
and looks at their penises with motions of his lips."

Mentula also frequently appears in the poetry of Catullus. He uses Mentula as a nickname for Mamurra, as if it were an ordinary name, as in his epigram 105:

Mentula c?n?tur Pipleium scandere montem:
     M?sae furcill?s praecipitem ?iciunt.
("That prick tries to climb the Pimpleian mount (of poetry);
the Muses drive him out with pitchforks.")

(Pimpleia was a place in Pieria in northern Greece associated with the Muses (the nine goddesses of poetry and music).)


The etymology of mentula is obscure, although outwardly it would appear to be a diminutive of m?ns, gen. mentis, the "mind" (i.e.; "the little mind"). Cicero's letter 9:22 ad Familiares relates it to menta, a spearmint stalk. Tucker's Etymological Dictionary of Latin relates it to ?min?re, "to project outwards", mentum, "chin", and m?ns, "a mountain", all of which suggest an Indo-European root *men-. Other hypotheses have also been suggested, though none generally accepted.[9]


Verpa is also a basic Latin obscenity for "penis", in particular for a penis in an erect state with the glans bare,[10] as in the illustration of the god Mercury below. It was "not a neutral technical term, but an emotive and highly offensive word" (Adams), used especially in contexts of aggressive homosexual acts rather than mere fut?ti? ("fucking"). It is found frequently in graffiti of the type verpes (= verpa es) qu? istuc leg?s ("Whoever reads this, you're a dickhead").[11]

It is found less frequently in Classical Latin literature, but it does appear in Catullus 28:

? Memm?, bene m? ac di? sup?num
t?t? ist? trabe lentus irrum?st?.
sed, quantum vide?, par? fuistis
c?s?: nam nihil? min?re verp?
farti estis.
("O Memmius, while I lay on my back for a long time
you fed me good and slow with that entire beam of yours.
But as far as I can see, you guys have met with the same fate:
for you have been stuffed with a "verpa" no less large!")

Catullus is here speaking metaphorically. He complains that when he accompanied Gaius Memmius, the governor of Bithynia (57-56 BC), as part of his entourage, he was not allowed to make money out of the position. From this poem it is clear that Catullus's friends Veranius and Fabullus were kept under an equally close rein when they accompanied Lucius Piso to his province of Macedonia in 57-55 BC.[12][13]

Verpus, as a masculine adjective or noun, referred to a man whose glans was exposed, either by an erection or by circumcision; thus Juvenal (14.100) has

quaes?tum ad fontem s?l?s d?d?cere verp?s
("To guide only the circumcised [i.e. Jews] to the fountain that they seek").

And in poem 47 Catullus writes:

v?s V?r?niol? me? et Fabull?
verpus praeposuit Pri?pus ille?
("Did that unsheathed Priapus prefer you guys
to my little Veranius and Fabullus?")

In Martial's time it was a common practice for actors and athletes to be fitted with a f?bula (a pin or brooch through their foreskin) to discourage sex and to preserve their voice or strength.[14] Martial (7.81) mocks one such actor as follows:

M?nophil? p?nem tam grandis f?bula vestit
ut sit c?moed?s omnibus ?na satis.
hunc ego cr?dideram, nam saepe lav?mur in ?num,
sollicitum v?ci parcere, Flacce, suae:
dum l?dit medi? popul? spectante palaestr?,
d?l?psa est miser? f?bula: verpus erat.
("Such a big brooch clothes Menophilus's penis
that it is enough for all the comic actors in the world.
I believed (since we often go to the baths together)
that he was anxious to preserve his voice, Flaccus.
But one day, while he was wrestling in the middle of the palaestra with everyone watching,
the poor man's brooch fell off. He was circumcised!")


A third word for "penis" was m?t?, m?t?nis (or mutt?, mutt?nis). This is very rare and found only in one line of Horace and a fragment of the satirist Lucilius. The passage in Horace (Sat. 1.2.68) is as follows, in which he advises a young man who was beaten up as a result of an affair with the dictator Sulla's daughter:

huic si m?t?nis verb?s mala tanta vident?
d?ceret haec animus 'quid v?s tibi? numquid ego ? t?
magn? progn?tum d?p?sc? c?nsule cunnum
v?l?tumque stol?, mea cum conferbuit ?ra?'
("What if, in the words of his penis, his mind were to say to the man when he sees such troubles: 'What exactly do you want? Do I ever demand a cunt descended from a famous consul or veiled in a fancy gown when my passion grows hot?'")

And Lucilius says:

at laev? lacrim?s mutt?n? absterget am?c?
("But with his left hand as his girlfriend, he wipes away his mutt?'s tears.")[15]

The word m?t? may be related to the marriage deity Mutunus Tutunus.[16]

Although m?t? itself is rare, the derivative m?t?ni?tus ("well-endowed") is found twice in Martial, as at 3.73:

dorm?s cum puer?s m?t?ni?t?s,
et non stat tibi, Phoebe, quod stat ill?s
("You sleep with well-endowed boys, Phoebus,
and the thing that stands up for them does not stand up for you.")

The derivative m?t?nium is found in Lucilius and in two Pompeian graffiti.[17]

Synonyms and metaphors

The Latin word p?nis itself originally meant "tail". Cicero's ad Famili?r?s, 9.22, observes that p?nis originally was an innocuous word, but that the meaning of male sexual organ had become primary by his day. The euphemism is used occasionally by Catullus, Persius, Juvenal, and Martial, and even once by the historian Sallust,[18] who writes that the supporters of the anti-government rebel Catiline included

qu?cumque inpud?cus, adulter, g?ne? man?, ventre, p?ne bona patria lacer?verat
("whatever shameless man, adulterer, or glutton had ruined his ancestral property by hand, stomach, or 'tail'")

Commenting on this passage, St Augustine notes that Sallust's use of the term in this phrase was not offensive.[19] The word did not survive into Romance, however, and occurs only once in a Pompeian inscription.

Juvenal, showing his knack for describing grossly obscene matters without using taboo words, writes as follows in one of his satires (9.43-4):

an facile et pr?num est agere intr? viscera p?nem
l?gitimum atque ill?c hesternae occurrere c?nae?
("Or do you think it is an easy or straightforward thing to drive a proper-sized 'tail'
inside someone's guts and there bump into yesterday's dinner?")[20]
An example of a s?pio (see below), the god Mercury was depicted with an enormous penis on this fresco from Pompeii.

The obscure word s?pi? (gen. s?pi?nis) seems to have meant a sexualized caricature with an abnormally large penis, such as the Romans were known to draw. It appears in Catullus 37:

frontem tabernae s?pi?nibus scr?bam
("I will draw sopios on the front of the tavern")

and in a graffito from Pompeii:

ut merd?s ed?tis, qu? scr?pser?s s?pi?n?s
("whoever drew sopios, let him eat shit!'")

The grammarian Sacerdos preserves a quotation about Pompey, that says quem non pudet et rubet, n?n est hom?, sed s?pi? ("whoever is not ashamed, and does not blush, is not a man, but a sopio.") S?pi? would appear to describe drawings such as that of the god Mercury in the illustration.

The word pipinna seems to have been children's slang for the penis; compare English pee-pee. It appears in Martial 11.71:

drauc? Natta su? vorat pipinnam,
coll?tus cui gallus est Pri?pus.
("Natta sucks the pee-pee of his athlete,
compared to whom, Priapus is a eunuch.")

A draucus (the word occurs only in Martial), according to Housman, was a man "who performs feats of strength in public".[21] Rabun Taylor disagrees and sees a draucus more as a kind of rent boy who hung around in the baths in search of patrons.[22] A gallus was an emasculated member of the cult of Cybele; according to Taylor (1997), they had much in common with the hijras of India today.[23]

Another euphemism for the penis was cauda ("tail"), which occurs twice in Horace,[24] and continues today in the French derivative queue ("tail" or "penis"). In one place in his Satires (Serm. 2.7.50) Horace writes:

quaecumque exc?pit turgentis verbera caudae,
cl?nibus aut agit?vit equum lasc?va sup?num,
d?mittit neque f?m?sum neque sollicitum n?
d?tior aut formae meli?ris meiat e?dem.
("Whichever girl receives the blows of my swelling 'tail',
or when I'm on my back sexily rides my 'horse' with her buttocks,
sends me away neither with a bad reputation nor worried that
a richer or more handsome guy might piss in the same place.")

For the metaphorical use of meiere ("to piss"), see below.

The words nervus ("nerve" or "sinew") and fascinum or fascinus, which meant a phallic image or amulet in the form of a penis, were also sometimes used as euphemisms for the penis.[25] In one of Horace's Epodes (12) a woman boasts of one of her lovers, Coan Amyntas,

cuius in indomit? c?nstantior inguine nervus
    quam nova collibus arbor inhaeret.
("on whose indomitable groin a sinew grows,
    more constant than a new tree clings to the hills.")

And one of the characters in Petronius's Satyricon, Ascyltus, is described as follows:[26]

hab?bat enim inguinum pondus tam grande, ut ipsum hominem laciniam fascin? cr?der?s
("For he had a weight on his groins so big that you'd think the man himself was just an appendage of his phallus.")

Yet another euphemism is c?l?s or c?lis or caulis, which literally means the stem or stalk of a plant (such as a cabbage, onion, or vine). This word was used by the satirist Lucilius and by the medical writer Celsus (6.18.2). In the same passage, Celsus refers to the foreskin as cutis "skin", and to the glans as gl?ns "acorn". Martial also uses the word gl?ns in an obscene pun (12.75.3):

past?s glande nat?s habet Secundus
("Secundus has buttocks fed with acorns")

Erect and flaccid

The verb arrig?, arrigere meant "to have an erection". Suetonius's Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Augustus 69, contains the sentence:

an r?fert, ubi et in qu? arrig?s?
("Does it make any difference where or in which woman you get hard?")

The participle arr?ctus means 'erect'. Martial describes the habit of a certain girl of weighing a lover's penis in her hand (10.55.1):

arr?ctum quoti?ns Marulla p?nem
p?ns?vit digit?s...
("Whenever Marulla weighs an erect penis in her fingers...")

Martial uses the word rigidam ("a hard one") alone to refer to a penis in the following line, mocking a certain Greek philosopher who despite his beard was effeminate (9.47.6):

in moll? rigidam cl?ne libenter hab?s
("You enjoy having a hard one in your soft backside")

Another word for "erect" was tentus ("stretched, extended"). Priapus is addressed as tente Pri?pe in Pri?peia 81, and as being fascin? gravis tent? ("heavy with an extended phallus") in Pri?peia 79.

An "erection" or "impatience to have sex" was tent?g?.[27]Horace (Sat. 1.2.116-8) writes:

...tument tibi cum inguina, num, s?
ancilla aut verna est praest? puer, impetus in quem
continu? f?at, m?l?s tent?gine rump
("When your groin swells up, then if
a slave girl or home-reared slave boy is available, on whom you can mount an attack
straightaway, do you prefer to burst with the erection?")

Similarly in Priapeia 33.5, the god Priapus says:

turpe quidem fact?, sed n? tent?gine rumpar,
falce mih? posit? f?et am?ca manus.
("Shameful indeed to do, but so that I don't burst with desire,
I shall put down my sickle and my hand will become my girlfriend.")

An adjective to describe a penis which refused to become erect was languida. Ovid (Am?r?s 3.7.65-6):

nostra tamen iacu?re velut praemortua membra
  turpiter hestern? languidiora ros?
("But my members lay there as if prematurely dead,
   shamefully, more languid than yesterday's rose.")

And a girlfriend of Horace's chides him with the words (Epodes 12):

Inachi? langu?s minus ac m?
("You are less languid with Inachia than with me!")

While Catullus (67.23) speaks of an impotent husband in these terms:

languidior tener? cui pend?ns s?cula b?t?
nunquam s? mediam sustulit ad tunicam
("whose little dagger, hanging more flaccid than a tender beet (a vegetable)
never raised itself to the middle of his tunic")

In the Romance languages

Mentula has evolved into Sicilian and Italian minchia and South Sardinian minca. Minga also exists in Spanish. Verpa is preserved in some Romance dialects, usually with another meaning; verpile is a sort of stirrup and spur in a Calabrian dialect, possibly named for its shape. Most Romance languages have adopted metaphorical euphemisms as the chief words for the penis; as in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian verga, obscene for penis, and in Romanian varg? (although pul? is far more common), in Catalan and French verge, from Latin virga, "staff", and French queue ("tail"), from Latin cauda/c?da "tail". The Portuguese caralho "penis", first attested in the 10th century, is thought to derive from a vulgar Latin word *caraculum "a little stake".[28] The Italian cazzo has no obvious Latin ancestor. A number of different suggestions have been made for its origin, but none has yet gained general acceptance.[29]

C?le?: the testicles

The basic word for the testicles in Latin was c?le? (singular: c?leus). It appears to have had an alternative form *c?le?n?s (singular: c?le?), from which the Spanish cojones and other Romance forms are derived. (One late Latin source has the spelling culiones).


The etymology of c?le? is obscure. Tucker, without explanation, gives *qogh-sle?-os (*kwogh-sley-os?), and relates it to cohum, an obscure word for "yoke".

Lewis and Short's Latin Dictionary relates the word to culleus ("a leather sack for liquids"). However, this etymology is not generally accepted today, and according to the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae the etymology is unknown. In texts, the word for testicles is always spelled with col- not cull-, and is plural.


Cicero in his letter discussing obscene Latin words (ad Fam. 9.22) says at one point honest? c?le? L?nuv?n?, Cl?tern?n? n?n honest? ("Lanuvian c?le? are respectable, but "Cliternian" ones are indecent"). (Lanuvium and Cliternia were small towns not far from Rome.) However, the meaning of these phrases is not known, according to the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae.

The word occurs in Petronius (44):

s? n?s c?le?s hab?r?mus, n?n tantum sibi plac?ret
("if we had any balls (i.e. if we were real men), he wouldn't be so pleased with himself!")[30]

Martial (9.27) writes of a philosopher who had depilated his balls as well as the rest of his legs, using a pair of volsellae (tweezers):

cum d?pil?t?s, Chr?ste, c?le?s port?s
("since you carry your balls hairless, Chrestus").

A Pompeian graffito quotes a line of iambic verse:[31]

sen? sup?n? c?le? c?lum tegunt
("When an old man lies down, his testicles cover his butthole.")

The form of the line is reminiscent of the proverbial sayings of Publilius Syrus, many of which employ the same metre.

Synonyms and metaphors

The more decent word in Latin for testicles was test?s (sing. testis). This word may have derived from the Latin for "witnesses". Cicero's letter says "test?s" verbum honestissimum in i?dici?, ali? loc? n?n nimis. ("In a court of law, witnesses is a quite decent word; not too much so elsewhere.") Katz (1998) draws attention to the fact that in some cultures it was customary to take a solemn oath while laying hands on the testicles either of a living person (as in Genesis 24:2-4; 47:29-31), or of a sacrificed animal (as described in Demosthenes 23.67f); a similar ritual took place in Umbria when dedicating a sacrificial animal. According to Katz, the word testis itself appears to be derived from the root trityo- ("third") and originally meant a third party.

The two meanings of test?s open the door for puns such as the following from Martial (2.72):[32]

quid quod habet test?s, Postume, Caecilius?
("What about the fact that Caecilius has witnesses/testicles, Postumus?")

Or Cicero's test?s ?gregi?s! ("outstanding witnesses!") in his amusing account of two witnesses hiding naked in a public bathhouse.[33]

The diminutive testicul? was entirely confined to the anatomical sense; it is used 33 times by the medical writer Celsus, but testis not at all.[34] The satirists Persius and Juvenal also used the word testicul?. Veterinary writers use both testis and testiculus.

In Catullus (63.5), the testicles are famously referred to as pondera ("weights"), perhaps a metaphor of the weights hung on threads of a loom.[35] The exact words of the text here are disputed,[36] but the general sense is clear:

d?volsit ?l? ac?t? sibi pondera silice
("He tore off the weights of his groin with a sharp flint")

Ovid (Fasti 2.241) recounting the same story, and perhaps implying that Attis removed the whole organ, similarly uses the phrase onus inguinis ("the burden of his groin").[37]

Other euphemisms are used in other writers. Ovid (Am?r?s 2.3) uses the phrase membra genit?lia:[38]

qu? pr?mus puer?s genit?lia membra rec?dit,
  vulnera quae f?cit, d?buit ipse pat?.
("He who first cut off the genital parts of boys
   ought himself to have suffered the wounds which he made.")

In the Romance languages

C?le?n?s is productive in most of the Romance languages: cf. Italian coglioni, French couilles, couillons; Portuguese colhões, Galician collóns, collois, collós, Catalan collons, Sardinian cozzones, Romanian coi, coaie, Spanish cojones (now a loanword in English).

Cunnus: the vulva

Cunnus was the basic Latin word for the vulva. The Priapeia mention it in connection with mentula, above. Despite its similarity to "cunt", the Oxford English Dictionary cautions that the two words may have developed from different roots.[39]


Cunnus has a distinguished Indo-European lineage. It is cognate with Persian kun "anus" and kos "vulva", and with Greek (kusthos). Tucker and de Vaan derive it from an Indo-European *kut-nos akin to Welsh cwd 'bag, scrotum'.


Cicero's Orator (ad Marcum Brutum) §154 confirms its obscene status. Cicero writes:

d?citur "cum ill?s"; "cum autem n?b?s" non d?citur, sed "nob?scum"; quia s? ita d?cer?tur, obscaenius concurrerent litterae.
("We say cum ill?s ("with them"), but we don't say cum nobis ['with us'], but rather nobiscum; because if we said it like that, the letters would run together in a rather obscene way.")

Because the /m/ of cum assimilates to the /n/ of n?b?s, cum n?b?s sounds very similar to cunn? bis, meaning "in/from/with a cunt twice". A similar euphemism occurs in French: the avoidance of qu'on, homophone to con (cunt), by the insertion of a superfluous letter: que l'on.

Horace, however, uses the word cunnus in his Satires (Sermones) at 1.2.70, and again at 1.3.105:

Nam fuit ante Helenam cunnus taeterrima bell?
causa. . .
("For even before Helen, the cunt was a most loathsome cause of war")

Martial also uses it freely, for example (3.87):

n?rrat t? r?mor, Chion?, numquam esse fut?tam
   atque nihil cunn? p?rius esse tu?.
t?cta tamen non h?c, qu? d?b?s, parte lav?ris:
   s? pudor est, tr?nsfer subligar in faciem.
("Rumour has it, Chione, that you have never been fucked
   and that there is nothing purer than your cunt.
However, you go to the baths without covering the part you should;
   if you have any modesty, transfer your loincloth to your face!")

The word cunnilingus occurs in literary Latin, most frequently in Martial; it denotes the person who performs the action, not the action itself as in modern English, where it is not obscene but technical. The term comes from the Latin word for the vulva (cunnus) and the verb "to lick" (linguere, cf. lingua "tongue").

Synonyms and metaphors

These include sinus, "indentation", and fossa, "ditch".

The modern scientific or polite words vulva and vagina both stem from Latin, but originally they had different meanings. The word v?g?na is the Latin word for scabbard or sword-sheath.

Vulva (or volva) in classical Latin generally signified the womb, especially in medical writing, and also it is also common in the Vetus Latina (pre-Jerome) version of the Bible.[40] The meanings of vagina and vulva have changed by means of metaphor and metonymy, respectively. Other words for the womb are uterus, m?tr?x (in later Latin), venter ("belly"), and alvus (also "belly"). At Juvenal 6.129, however, the word volva is used of the vagina or clitoris of the (allegedly) nymphomaniac empress Messalina, who is described as departing from a session in a brothel:[41]

adh?c ard?ns rigidae tent?gine volvae,
et lass?ta vir?s necdum sati?ta recessit
("still burning with the excitement of her rigid 'volva',
tired out by men but still not satisfied, she departs")

In the Romance languages

Cunnus is preserved in almost every Romance language: e.g. French con, Catalan cony, Spanish coño, Galician cona, Portuguese cona, (South) Sardinian cunnu, Old Italian cunna. In Calabrian dialects the forms cunnu (m.) and cunna (f.) are used as synonyms of "stupid, dumb"; the same is true of the French con, conne and in fact this has become the primary meaning of the words, both eclipsing the genital sense and significantly reducing the word's obscenity. In Portuguese it has been transferred to the feminine gender; the form cunna is also attested in Pompeian graffiti and in some late Latin texts.

Land?ca: the clitoris

The ancient Romans had medical knowledge of the clitoris, and their native word for it was land?ca. This appears to have been one of the most obscene words in the entire Latin lexicon. It is alluded to, but does not appear, in literary sources, except in the Priapeia 79, which calls it misella landica, the "poor little clitoris". It does, however, appear in graffiti.


Not even the poets Catullus and Martial, whose frankness is notorious, ever refer to land?ca. In a letter to a friend,[42]Cicero discusses which words in Latin are potentially obscene or subject to obscene punning, and there hints at the word land?ca by quoting an unintentionally obscene utterance made in the Senate:

. . . hanc culpam maiorem an illam d?cam?
"shall I say that this or that was the greater fault?"

with illam d?cam echoing the forbidden word. Note that the "m" at the end of "illam" was pronounced like "n" before the following "d."

The word land?ca is found in Roman graffiti: peto [la]ndicam fvlviae ("I seek Fulvia's clitoris") appears on a leaden projectile found at Perugia left over from the Perusine War,[43] while a derivative word is found in Pompeii: evpl(i)a laxa landicosa ("Euplia (is) loose and has a large clitoris").[44]

It also occurs in Priapeia 78.5 (in some versions 79.5), where a girl who has received the attentions of a cunnilingus is described as suffering from land?cae ... foss?s ("cracks in her clitoris").[45] The word also occurs twice in a medical context in a 5th-6th century Latin translation of Soranus of Ephesus's book on gynaecology.[46]

Fay (1907) suggests one possible etymology as (g)land?ca ("a little gland").

Synonyms and metaphors

Martial's epigram 1.90 alludes to a woman who uses her clitoris as a penis in a lesbian encounter, referring to it as her "prodigious Venus":[47]

inter s? gemin?s aud?s committere cunn?s
  ment?turque virum pr?digi?sa Venus.
("You dare to rub two cunts together
  and your prodigious Venus pretends to be a man.")

In the Satires of Juvenal it is referred to euphemistically as a crista, "crest" in this line (6.420), describing a lady's massage after an exercise session:

callidus et cristae digit?s inpressit alipt?s
ac summum dominae femur excl?m?re co?git
("And the cunning masseur presses his fingers on her 'crest'
and causes the top of his mistress's thigh to cry aloud")

In the Romance languages

Land?ca survived in Old French landie (extremely rare),[48] and in Romanian lindic.

C?lus: the anus

The basic Latin word for the anus was c?lus.[49] Though not very common, it occurs in both Catullus and Martial, and is productive in Romance. The word is of uncertain etymology, according to Adams.


In the texts c?lus appears to be used only of humans. It was associated with both defecation and with sex. Catullus (23) mocks a certain Furius with these words:

quod c?lus tibi p?rior salill? est
nec t?t? deci?s cac?s in ann?
("Because your arsehole is purer than a salt-cellar
and you don't shit more than ten times in a whole year!")

Martial (2.51) mocks a passive homosexual in these terms:[50]

?nus saepe tib? t?t? d?n?rius arc?
   cum sit et hic c?l? tr?tior, Hylle, tu?,
n?n tamen hunc pistor, n?n auferet hunc tibi c?p?,
   sed s? quis nimi? p?ne superbus erit.
?nf?l?x venter spectat conv?via c?l?,
   et semper miser hic ?surit, ille vorat.
("Though you often have only one denarius in your whole money-chest,
   Hyllus, and that rubbed smoother than your arsehole,
yet it's not the baker, nor the innkeeper, who will take that away from you,
   but anyone who is proud of his over-sized penis.
Your unlucky stomach looks at the banquets of your arsehole,
   and the former is always hungry, poor thing, while the latter devours.")


The word p?dex was synonymous with c?lus, "arsehole". This word is thought to be an o-stem version of the same root as p?dere "to fart", identifying it as the source of flatulence. Lewis and Short's Dictionary cites only two instances. In an unattractive picture of an old woman Horace (Epodes 8.6) writes:

hietque turpis inter ?rid?s nat?s
p?dex velut cr?dae bovis.
("And (when) there gapes between your wrinkled buttocks
an ugly arsehole like that of a cow with diarrhoea.")

Juvenal (2.12), writing of outwardly virile but in practice effeminate philosophers, writes:

hispida membra quidem et d?rae per bracchia saetae
promittunt atr?cem animum, sed p?dice l?v?
caeduntur tumidae medic? ridente mariscae.
("Your hairy limbs and the tough bristles along your arms
promise a stern spirit, it's true, but from your smooth arsehole
swollen figs (i.e. piles) are cut out as the doctor laughs.")

The implication is that the piles have been caused by anal sex; that such anal piles or sores are caused by sex is a common theme in the poems of Martial.[51]

P?dex seems to have been rather a rarer word than c?lus. It is not used by Catullus, and only twice by Martial. It is not found in Pompeii, and did not produce derivatives in vulgar Latin or in the Romance languages. The fact that it is used once by Juvenal (who avoided obscene vocabulary) shows that it was less offensive than c?lus. In later medical Latin, such as the 5th century Cassius Felix, it could be used as an alternative for ?nus.[52]

Other synonyms

A more seemly Latin word for the backside was cl?n?s (singular cl?nis) "buttocks"; this word was generally more decent than c?lus, and older, as well: it has several Indo-European cognates. It can be used for the rump of animals as well as humans, and even birds.[53] The word is usually plural but sometimes singular. In the same satire quoted above Juvenal (2.20-21) speaks scathingly of philosophers who have double standards, preaching about virtue but practising vice:

d? virt?te loc?t?
cl?nem agitant. 'ego t? c?ventem, Sexte, ver?bor?'
("They speak of virtue
but waggle their rump. 'Am I going to respect you, Sextus, when you behave in such a camp way?'")

Another word for buttocks, slightly less common, was nat?s, which is generally used only of the buttocks of humans. It seems to have been a more vulgar or colloquial word than cl?n?s.[54] In one of the Priapeia epigrams (22, in some editions 21) the god Priapus threatens potential thieves with punishment as follows:[55]

f?mina s? f?rtum mihi faciet virve puerve
haec cunnum, caput hic praebeat, ille nat?s.
("If any woman steals (from my garden) or a man or a boy,
the first must provide her cunt, the second his head, the third his buttocks.")

?nus was the name for the posterior opening of the digestive tract; the word is not specific to that usage, but instead originally meant "ring". Its anatomical sense drove out its other meanings, and for this reason the diminutive ?nulus became the usual Latin name for a ring or circle.[56][57] In his book on agriculture, Columella describes how to treat a cow with stomach-ache:

s? dolor remanet, ungul?s circumsec?re, et unct? man? per ?num ?nsert? fimum extrahere
("If any pain remains, trim your nails, insert your oiled hand through its anus and extract the dung")

An example of the usage of "ring" as a metaphor in a modern Romance language can be found in Brazilian Portuguese slang, in which the word anel can have the same double meaning, especially in the expression o anel de couro (the leather ring). "Ring" is also British slang for "anus".

In the Romance languages

C?lus has been preserved as meaning the buttocks (rather than the anus) in most Romance languages except for Portuguese, which kept the original semantics. It yields the forms culo in Spanish and Italian; in French and Catalan it becomes cul, in Romanian cur, in Vegliot Dalmatian ?ol, in Sardinian culu, in Portuguese cu and in Galician cu. Its offensiveness varies from one language to another; in French it was incorporated into ordinary words and expressions such as culottes, "breeches", and cul-de-sac.

Futuere: to fuck

Decorative scene in the baths. Some scholars suggest that this is what was meant by a pr?t?lum ("team of three").[58]

Futu?, infinitive futuere, perfect futu?, supine fut?tum, Latin for "to fuck", is richly attested and useful.

The etymology of futu? is "obscure". It may be related to ref?t? "repel, rebut" and c?nf?t?, "suppress" or "beat down", and come from a root meaning "beat".[59]

Futu? is richly attested in all its forms in Latin literature. In one poem (10.81.1) Martial writes, using the supine:

cum duo v?nissent ad Phyllida m?ne fut?tum...
("When two men came one morning to Phyllis for a fuck...")

Not only the word itself, but also derived words such as d?fut?ta, "fucked out, exhausted from sex" (Catullus 41), diffut?ta (Catullus 29, same meaning), and c?nfutuere "to have sex with" (Catullus 37) are attested in Classical Latin literature. The derived noun fut?ti?, "act of intercourse", also exists in Classical Latin, and the nomen agentis fut?tor, which corresponds to the English epithet "fucker", but lacking the derogatory tone of the English word. The god Priapus says in one poem (Priapeia 63):

ad hanc puella - paene n?men adi?c? -
solet ven?re cum su? fut?t?re
("To this (p....) of mine, a girl - I almost added the name -
is accustomed to come with her boyfriend")

It is also used metaphorically in Catullus 6, which speaks of latera ecfut?ta, funds exhausted, literally "fucked away".

Futu?, unlike the English word "fuck", was more frequently used in erotic and celebratory senses rather than derogatory ones or insults. A woman of Pompeii wrote the graffito fututa sum hic ("I got laid here")[60] and prostitutes, canny at marketing, appear to have written other graffiti complimenting their customers for their sexual prowess:

F?l?x bene futuis
("Lucky boy, you fuck well");
Victor bene vale?s qu? bene futuis
("Victorious, best wishes to one who fucks well").

It is famously used in Catullus 32:

sed dom? mane?s par?sque n?b?s
novem continu?s fut?ti?n?s.
("but you remain at home and prepare for us
nine acts of fucking, one after the other.")

Futu? in its active voice was used of women only when it was imagined that they were taking the active role thought appropriate to the male partner by the Romans. The woman in Martial 7.70 is described as a tribas, a lesbian.

Ips?rum tribadum tribas, Philaeni
r?ct?, quam futuis, voc?s am?cam
("Lesbian of all lesbians, Philaenis,
you are right to call the woman you fuck, your 'girlfriend'.")

Other more neutral synonyms for futu? in Latin include ine?, in?re, literally "to enter", as in this sentence from Suetonius, supposedly from a letter written by Mark Antony (lover of Queen Cleopatra) to his brother-in-law Octavian (later to become the Emperor Augustus):[61]

quid t? m?t?vit? quia r?g?nam ine ... t? deinde s?lam Dr?sillam in?s?
("What has changed you? Is it because I'm sleeping with the queen? ... So is Drusilla the only woman you sleep with?")

The word coe?, co?re, literally "to go with," whence Latin and English coitus, is also used euphemistically for sexual intercourse, but it is not exactly a synonym for futuere. It can be used for both men and women, and also of animals and birds.[62]

Another word found on Pompeian inscriptions was c(h)al?re, which appears to be a borrowing from the Greek (khalá?) "loosen".[63] A Pompeian inscription says Dionysius qu? hor? vult licet chal?re ("Dionysius is allowed to fuck whenever he wants to").[64] The Latin word lax?re appears to be used in the same sense in Priapeia 31: haec me? t? ventris arma lax?bunt ("these weapons of my belly will relax you" (of p?d?c?ti?).[65]

Adams (1982) lists a large number of other euphemisms for the sexual act,[66] such as this one from Juvenal (6.126):

ac resup?na iac?ns c?nct?rum absorbuit ict?s
("And lying on her back she absorbed the blows of all and sundry")

In the Romance languages

Futu?, a core item of the lexicon, lives on in most of the Romance languages, sometimes with its sense somewhat weakened: Catalan fotre, French foutre, Spanish joder, Portuguese foder, Galician foder, Romanian fute (futere), Italian fottere. A famous ribald song in Old Occitan sometimes attributed to the troubadour William IX of Aquitaine reads:

Tant las fotei com auziretz:
Cen e quatre vint et ueit vetz,
Q'a pauc no-i rompei mos corretz
E mos arnes
("I fucked them as much as you will hear:
a hundred and eighty-eight times.
I most nearly broke my equipment
-- and my tool.")

P?d?c?re: to sodomise

The aggressive sense of English "fuck" and "screw" was not strongly attached to futu? in Latin. Instead, these aggressive connotations attached themselves to p?d?c?re "to sodomise" and irrum?re "to force fellatio" respectively, which were used with mock hostility in Catullus 16:

P?d?c?b? ego v?s et irrum?b?,
Aur?l? pathice et cinaede F?r?,
qu? m? ex versicul?s me?s put?stis,
quod sunt mollicul?, parum pud?cum.
("I will bugger and facefuck you,
pervert Aurelius and faggot Furius,
since you thought me indecent
because my poems are somewhat sissified.")

The passive voice, p?d?c?r?, is used of the person who is forced to submit to anal sex, as in Priapeia 35, in which the god Priapus threatens a thief:

p?d?c?bere, f?r, semel; sed ?dem
s? d?pr?nsus eris bis, irrum?b?.
("You will be buggered, thief, on the first offence; but if
you are caught a second time, I will stick it in your mouth.")

There is some doubt in the dictionaries whether the correct spelling was ped- or paed- (Lewis and Short give the latter). Bücheler (1915, p. 105) argues that ped- is correct on the basis of the following epigram in the Priapeia (no. 67):

P?nelop?s pr?mam D?d?nis pr?ma sequ?tur
  et pr?mam CAdmi syllaba pr?ma REm?,
quodque fit ex ill?s, mihi t? d?pr?nsus in hort?,
  f?r, dabis: h?c poen? culpa luenda tua est.
("Let the first syllable of 'Penelope' be followed by the first of 'Dido',
   and the first of 'Cadmus' by the first of 'Remus',
and what comes out of them is what you will pay to me if you are caught in the garden,
   thief; it is with this penalty you must pay for your crime.")

P?d?c?tor and p?d?co (noun)

The word p?d?c?tor ("buggerer") is used in a poem by Catullus's friend the orator Licinius Calvus quoted by Suetonius (Caesar 49), in which the King of Bithynia is referred to as p?d?c?tor Caesaris ("the buggerer of Caesar"), referring to a rumour that in his youth Julius Caesar had had an affair with king Nicomedes.

Martial on the other hand preferred to use the shorter form p?d?c? or p?d?co, of the same meaning,[67] for example at 11.87:

d?ves er?s quondam: sed tunc p?d?co fuist?
   et tibi n?lla di? f?mina n?ta fuit.
nunc sect?ris an?s. ? quantum c?git egest?s!
   illa fut?t?rem t?, Charid?me, facit.
("Once you were rich; but in those days you were a p?d?co,
   and for a long time no woman was known to you.
Now you chase after old women. O the things that poverty forces one to do!
   That woman is making a fucker out of you, Charidemus!")

The activities of a p?d?co are hinted at in the following lines of Martial (12.85):

p?d?c?nibus ?s ol?re d?cis.
hoc s?, s?cut ais, Fabulle, v?rum est:
quid tu cr?dis ol?re cunniling?s?
("You say that buggerers' mouths stink.
If this is true as you say, Fabullus,
what do you think the mouth of pussy-lickers smells of?")

The various distinctions in sexual activity are made clear in the following poem of Martial (2.28):

r?d?t? multum qu? t?, Sextille, cinaedum
  d?xerit et digitum porrigit? medium.
sed nec p?d?co es nec t?, Sextille, fut?tor,
  calda Vetust?nae nec tibi bucca placet.
ex ist?s nihil es fateor, Sextille: quid erg? es?
  nescio, sed t? sc?s r?s superesse du?s.
("Laugh a lot, Sextillus, if anyone calls you effeminate (cinaedus),
   and show him your middle finger;
but you're also neither a buggerer (p?d?co) nor a fucker (fut?tor),
   nor does the hot mouth of Vetustina please you.
You're none of those, I admit, Sextillus, so what are you?
   I don't know, but you know there are only two other possibilities!")

The fourth line rules out Sextillus as an irrum?tor; the two remaining possibilities were in Roman eyes the most degrading, that he was either a cunnilingus or a fell?tor.[68]


P?d?c?re is often thought to be a Greek loanword in Latin (from the noun ? (paidika) "boyfriend"), but the long "i" is an obstacle. Bücheler (1915, p. 105), who rejects this etymology, suggests there may be a connection to p?dex and p?d?.

In Romance

Unlike futu?, the word p?d?c? has no reflexes in Romance.[69] The French slang word pédé ("male homosexual") is an abbreviated form of pédéraste, according to the Dictionnaire historique de la langue française.

Irrum?re and fell?re: oral sex

Irrum?re: to make suck

Irrum?re, which in English is denoted by the passive construction "to be sucked", is an active verb in Latin, since the irrum?tor was considered to be the active partner, the fell?tor the passive. Irrum?tio is the counterpart of fell?tio; in Roman terms, which are the opposite way round to modern conceptions, the giver of oral sex inserts his penis into the mouth of the receiver.

To be forced to submit to oral sex was apparently a worse punishment than to be sodomised. Martial (2.47) advises one effeminate man who is having an adulterous affair, and who would not perhaps have objected too much if the husband punished him by sodomising him:

c?nf?d?s natibus? non est p?d?co mar?tus;
  quae faciat duo sunt: irrumat aut futuit.
("Do you rely on your buttocks (to avoid a worse punishment)? Your girlfriend's husband is not a sodomiser.
   He does two things only: puts it in your mouth or screws women.")

According to Adams (1982, p. 126-7), it was a standard joke to speak of irrum?tio as a means of silencing someone. Martial (3.96) writes:

garris quasi moechus et fut?tor;
s? t? prendero, Gargil?, tac?bis.
("You gossip like an adulterer and a womaniser;
but if I catch you, Gargilius, you will be quiet!")

Irrum?tio was seen as a hostile act that enemies might inflict on one. An inscription says:[70]

m?lim m? am?c? fellent quam inim?c? irrument
("I would prefer my friends to suck me than that my enemies make me suck them.")

It is also a standard threat made by the god Priapus, protector of orchards, to potential adult male thieves, as in Priapeia 13:

perc?d?re, puer, mone?: futu?re, puella:
  barb?tum f?rem tertia poena manet
("You will be thoroughly 'cut', boy, I warn you; girl, you will be fucked;
   for the bearded thief, a third penalty awaits.")

Fell?re: to suck

The word fell?re originally had an innocent sense, meaning to suck the teat or to suck milk, but in classical times the sexual sense was predominant. The verb fell? and the nouns fell?tor and (less often) the feminine fell?tr?x are common in graffiti, and the first two also occur several times in Martial's epigrams.[71] The practice was thought particularly degrading for a man, and Martial, mocking a certain butch lesbian, writes (7.67):

n?n fellat - putat hoc parum vir?le -
sed pl?n? medi?s vorat puell?s
("She does not suck cocks - she thinks this not masculine enough -
but absolutely devours the middle parts of girls.")

Fell? was generally used absolutely, without an object.[72] A Pompeian wall inscription says Murtis bene felas ("Myrtis, you suck well"),[73] and another says Romula cum suo hic fellat et uubique ("Romula does fellatio with her boyfriend here and everywhere").[74]

Fell? leaves little trace in Romance languages, being replaced by s?gere ("to suck") and its derivatives. Though it is not represented by descendants, it is represented by learned borrowings such as the French fellation.

Lingere and lambere: to lick

The verb ling? ("I lick") was common in both sexual and non-sexual contexts. As a sexual term, it could have c?lum, mentulam, or cunnum as its object.[75]

Its synonym lambere was also sometimes used in a sexual sense. Martial (3.81) criticises a eunuch who presumed to have oral sex with women:

haec d?bet medi?s lambere lingua vir?s
("That tongue of yours ought to be licking the middle parts of men (not women)")

Gl?bere: to "peel"

Gl?bere "to take the bark off", "peel" and d?gl?bere "to take the husk off", "to skin, flay" are famously used in a sexual sense in two places in Latin literature by Catullus and Ausonius.[76] It has been argued that the meaning is to pull back a man's foreskin, in order to masturbate him. Ausonius (Ep. 71), after mentioning various perversions (obsc?n?s vener?s), says:

Crispa tamen c?nct?s exercet corpore in ?n?
d?gl?bit, fellat, m?l?tur per utramque cavernam,
n? quid inexpertum fr?str? morit?ra relinquat
("Crispa, however, practices all the perversions in one body:
she 'peels', she sucks, she puts it in either hole,
lest she leave anything untried before she dies.")

What seems to shock Ausonius is that Crispa actively enjoyed taking an active role in such practices rather than passively submitting to male desires as was the norm.

The other sexual use of this word is in Catullus (57), who says in a moment of bitterness:

Cael?, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,
illa Lesbia, quam Catullus ?nam
pl?s quam s? atque su?s am?vit omn?s,
nunc in quadrivi?s et angiport?s
gl?bit magnanim? Rem? nep?t?s.
("Caelius, our Lesbia, that Lesbia,
that one woman whom Catullus
loved more than himself and all his dear ones
now on crossroads and in alleys
'peels' the grandsons of magnanimous Remus.")

Some, noting that in Italian the phrases cavar la pelle, scorticare ("debark") can mean "strip someone of their money", and similar uses of tond?re ("to shear") and d?gl?bere ("to skin") in Latin, have argued that Catullus is also using the word in a non-sexual sense; that is, Lesbia is acting like a prostitute and fleecing the spendthrift Roman young men (nep?t?s) of their money.[77][78]

C?v?re and cr?s?re: to waggle

C?ve? (c?v?re, c?v?) and cr?s? (cr?s?re etc.) are basic Latin obscenities that have no exact English equivalents. Cr?s? referred to the actions of the female partner in sexual intercourse (i.e. grinding or riding on a penis); as, similarly to the case in English, futu?, which is often translated "fuck", primarily referred to the male action (i.e. thrusting, pounding, slamming). C?ve? referred to the similar activity of the passive partner in anal sex.


Both of these verbs are of fairly obscure origin.

Unlike some of the vocabulary of homosexuality in Latin (pathicus, cinaedus), c?ve? seems not to be of Greek origin. Francis A. Wood relates it to an Indo-European root *kweu- or *qeu-, relating to a variety of back and forth motions.


C?ve? always refers to a male taking the bottom role in anal sex. Martial 3.95 contains the phrase:

sed p?d?c?ris, sed pulchr?, Naevole, c?v?s.
("But you get buggered and you wiggle your arse so prettily, Naevolus.")

Cr?s? appears to have had a similar meaning, but to have been used of the female. Again Martial 10.68:

Numquid, cum cr?s?s, blandior esse potes?
T? licet ?disc?s t?tam refer?sque Corinthon,
N?n tamen omn?n?, Laelia, L?is eris.
("Could you possibly be prettier as you grind? You learn easily, and could do everything they do in Corinth; but you'll never be Lais, Laelia.")

Lais was a famous prostitute or courtesan, and Corinth was the site of a major temple of Aphrodite; the temple employed more than a thousand cult prostitutes.

Synonyms and metaphors

These words have few synonyms or metaphors, and belong almost to a sort of technical vocabulary.

In the Romance languages

Both words seem to have been lost in Romance.

Masturb?r?: to masturbate

This word is found twice in the poet Martial, but apparently not in earlier writers.[79] Martial writes in one poem (11.104):

masturb?bantur Phrygi? post ?stia serv?,
  Hectore? quoti?ns s?derat uxor equ?
("The Phrygian slaves used to masturbate behind the doors
   whenever Hector's wife sat on her husband's 'horse'.")

The word masturb?tor also occurs. In 14.203 Martial writes of a Spanish girl from G?d?s (Cádiz):

tam tremulum cr?sat, tam blandum pr?rit, ut ipsum
  masturb?t?rem f?cerit Hippolytum.
("She wiggles so sexily and itches for it so charmingly
   that she would have made a masturbator out of Hippolytus himself!")

Hippolytus was famous in mythology for refusing the advances of his stepmother Phaedra.


Lewis and Short suggest that the word masturb?r? may be derived from man? stupr?r? "to defile oneself with a hand", and this is the usual view, and supported ("with some hesitation") by J.N. Adams.[80] Another view,[81][82] however, is that it comes from *m?s + turb?re ("to excite the penis"), assuming an otherwise unattested meaning of "penis" for m?s ("male"). The supporters of this view cite another word mascarpi?nem (from mascarpi?), which occurs once in Latin literature in Petronius (134.5), and which appears from the context to mean "beating the penis with a wand (to stimulate it)". It is argued that in this word, the element m?s- may be the same as in masturb?r?. Yet another proposed etymology is that the element masturb- derives from a Proto-Indo-European root *mostrgh- meaning "brain, marrow", and hence "semen".[83]

Synonyms and euphemisms

Martial (9.41) criticises a Roman gentleman for masturbating, using the phrase:

paelice laev? ?teris et Vener? servit am?ca manus
("you use your left hand as a concubine and your hand serves Venus as your girlfriend")

The hand used for masturbating by the Romans was evidently the left one, as Martial 11.73 confirms.[84] (Compare also the fragment of the satirist Lucilius quoted above in the section on m?t?.)

In another poem (11.22) Martial advises a friend:

inguina saltem parce fut?tr?c? sollicit?re man?
("do at least cease from troubling your groins with copulating hand").

He continues:

l?vibus in puer?s pl?s haec quam mentula peccat
   et faciunt digit? praecipitantque virum
("In smooth-skinned boys this (i.e their hand) sins more than their cock,
   and their fingers hasten the process of turning them into a man.")

This apparently dates back to a belief of Aristotle that vigorous sexual activity caused a boy's voice to turn rapidly into that of a man.[85]

In another poem (2.43), however, Martial admits that he himself for want of a sexual partner sometimes resorts to the practice:

at mihi succurrit pr? Ganym?de manus
("but as for me, my hand has to serve instead of Ganymede").

In another (11.46), addressed to a man who finds it difficult in middle age to get an erection, Martial uses the word tr?d? ("I shove" or "prod") to signify masturbation:[86]

tr?ditur et digit?s pann?cea mentula lass?s
   nec levat ext?nctum sollicit?ta caput
("and your shrivelled dick is prodded by your fingers until they get tired,
   but doesn't raise its worn out head even when provoked").

The frequentative form of tr?d? is tr?s?re ("to thrust or shove repeatedly"). This occurs in only one place, in Catullus 56:

d?prend? modo p?pulum puellae
tr?santem: hunc ego, s? placet Di?nae,
pr? t?l? rigid? me? cec?d?.
("Recently I caught the ward of my girfriend
'thrusting'; this boy, if it please Dione,
using my 'hard one' as a weapon, I 'cut'.")

The meaning of tr?santem here is disputed. "Masturbating" was the interpretation of A. E. Housman;[87][88] he also wanted to read pr? t?l? as pr?t?l? with the meaning "there and then". Others,[89][90][91] however, understand Catullus to mean that the boy was caught having sex with a girl; in which case, pr?t?l? probably means "in a threesome", since a pr?t?lum, according to the agricultural writer Cato the Elder, was a team of three oxen pulling a plough.[92] Uden (2007) translates: "I just caught a kid banging his girlfriend", explaining that p?pulum is a derogatory diminutive.

The verb caedere (literally "to cut" or "kill") is used as slang for homosexual penetration elsewhere in Latin literature, such as at Priapeia 26.10, a poem in which Priapus boasts that in his earlier days sol?bam f?r?s caedere quamlibet valent?s ("I used to 'cut' (i.e. sodomise) thieves, however strong they were").[93]Dione, was the mother of Aphrodite, goddess of love; according to a passage in Homer's Iliad book 5, she cared for Aphrodite when the latter was pierced by Diomedes' weapon in a battle. The implication is that her services might be needed here after Catullus had dealt with the boy.

Cac?re: to defecate

Cac?, cac?re was the chief Latin word for defecation.


The word has a distinguished Indo-European parentage, which may perhaps relate to nursery words or children's slang that tends to recur across many different cultures. It would appear to be cognate with the Greek noun , kopros, meaning "excrement" (hence, coprophilia). It also exists in Germanic; in German, Swedish (kack), Scots (as both noun and verb, cack or cackie, the diminutive),[94] whilst English "poppiecock" derives from Dutch pappe kak, "diarrhea".[] It exists in Turkish (kaka), Irish and Scottish Gaelic (cac), Hebrew, Hungarian (kaka), Ukrainian (), Russian, Lithuanian and Persian/Isfahani accent (keke). In British English, "caca" is occasionally used as childish slang for excrement (similar to American English "poop"), a word whose level of obscene loading varies from country to country; whilst in Scotland and in Ireland, "cack" is occasionally used either as a mild interjection, or as an impolite adjective to mean of poor quality, broken, nonsense. It also exists as a loan in Finnish (kakka). The derivatives of this Latin word appear in Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian (cacca), Romanian, and French. Also, in Slavic languages: kakati.


The verb is usually used intransitively. Martial (1.92.11) says:

non c?lum, neque enim est c?lus, qu? non cacat ?lim
("not your arsehole, for something that never shits isn't an arsehole")

However, in the phrase below, from Catullus 36, it is transitive:

Ann?les Volus?, cac?ta carta,
("Annals of Volusius, paper defiled by shit")[95]

Synonyms and metaphors

Few synonyms are attested in Classical Latin, apart from a word cun?re, attested by the grammarian Festus (but nowhere else) in the meaning stercus facere. The word d?f?c?re comes much later.

A euphemism which occurs in Petronius (116) is su? r? caus? facere:

habuimus ... et p?nem autop?rum de su? sib?, quem ego m?l? quam candidum; <nam> et v?r?s facit, et cum me? r? caus? faci?, n?n pl?r?
("We also had whole-wheat bread, which I prefer to white, since it gives you strength and also when I relieve myself, I don't feel pain.")

The same euphemism is used in Petronius of relieving oneself of gas (see below).

In the Romance languages

Cac?re is preserved unaltered in Sardinian and the southern Italian dialects, and with little alteration in Italian (cagare). It becomes Galician, Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese cagar, in Vegliot Dalmatian kakuor, in French chier, and in Romanian as c?care (the act of taking a dump) or a (se) c?ca. (Feces are referred to as caca in French, Catalan, Romanian (besides c?cat) and Spanish childhood slang, while Portuguese and Romanian use the very same word with the general meaning of anything that looks or smells malodorous or reminiscent of excrement.) German kacken, Dutch kakken, Czech kakat, Lithuanian kakoti, Russian (kakat'), Icelandic kúka, Bosnian kakiti etc. are all slang words meaning "to defecate", most of them having roughly the same level of severity as the English expression "take a dump".

Merda: feces

Merda is the basic Latin word for excrement. Frequently used, it appears in most of the Romance languages.


Merda represents Indo-European *s-merd-, whose root sense was likely "something malodorous." It is cognate with German Mist (dung), Lithuanian "smirdti" ("to stink"), Russian "" (smerdét', "to stink") and Polish ?mierdzie? ("to stink").


The word merda is attested in classical texts mostly in veterinary and agricultural contexts, meaning "manure". Cato the Elder uses it, as well as stercus, while the Mulomedicina Chironis speaks of merda b?bula, "cattle manure".

Unlike the English word "shit", merda could be both singular and plural. In Horace (Satires 1.8.37), a talking statue of Priapus says:

mentior at s?quid, merd?s caput inquiner alb?s
corv?rum atque in me veniat mictum atque cac?tum
I?lius, et fragilis Pedi?tia, f?rque Vor?nus.
("But if I'm telling a lie, may my head be spattered with the white droppings
of ravens, and may Julius, delicate Pediatia, and the thief Voranus
come to piss and shit on me!")

In one of his verse fables (4.18.25), Phaedrus speaks of some dogs who, on hearing thunder,

repente od?rem mixtum cum merd?s cacant
("suddenly they shit out a stink mixed with turds")

The word can also be used in a metaphorical sense, as at Martial 3.17, speaking of a tart which had been blown on by a man with impure breath (caused no doubt by oral sex) to cool it down:[96]

Sed n?m? potuit tangere: merda fuit.
("But nobody could touch it: it was a piece of shit.")

Synonyms and metaphors

The politer terms for merda in Classical Latin were stercus (gen. stercoris), "manure" and fimum or fimus, "filth." Stercus was used frequently in the Vulgate, as in its well-known translation of Psalm 112:7: (Psalm 113:7 in the KJV.)

Suscit?ns ? terr? inopem, et d? stercore ?rig?ns pauperem.
("Raising up the needy from the earth : and lifting up the poor out of the dunghill." DRC)

In Classical Latin, faex, plural faec?s, meant the dregs, such as are found in a bottle of wine; the word did not acquire the sense of feces until later.

In the Romance languages

Merda is productive in the Romance languages, and is the obvious etymon of French merde, Spanish mierda, and in Vegliot Dalmatian miarda. It is preserved unaltered in Catalan, Galician, Italian, Portuguese, and Sardinian. It was preserved in Romanian too, not for feces, where c?cat (derived from caco) is used instead, but in the word dezmierda, originally meaning "to clean the bottom of (an infant)"; subsequently becoming "to cuddle" or "to fondle".[97]

P?dere and viss?re: passing wind


P?d?, p?dere, pep?d?, p?ditum is the basic Latin word for passing intestinal wind. In the Sermones 1.8, 46, Horace writes:

Nam, displ?sa sonat quantum v?s?ca, pep?d?
diffiss? nate f?cus. . .

Christopher Smart translates this passage as "from my cleft bum of fig-tree I let out a fart, which made as great an explosion as a burst bladder". The "I" of this satire is the god Priapus, and Smart explains that he was made of fig-tree wood which split through being poorly prepared.

Martial also uses the word several times, including the following (10.15):

n?l aliud vide?, qu? t? cr?d?mus am?cum,
    quam quod m? c?ram p?dere, Crispe, sol?s.
("I don't see any other reason why I should believe you a friend,
    other than that you are in the habit of farting in front of me, Crispus.")

A word opp?dere ("to fart in the face of, mock") is used in Horace (Sat. 1.9.70).

Catullus also uses the noun p?ditum in one of his poems (54).


A rarer word, meaning "to fart silently", was viss?re. This is hinted at in Cicero's letter ad Fam. 9.22, where he says that the word div?si? is potentially obscene, in the same way as the word intercap?d?.[98] The word is not recorded in Lewis and Short's Latin Dictionary and does not appear to have been used by any extant author. However, the Oxford Latin Dictionary quotes an inscription from a public bath in Ostia which says[99]

viss?re tacit? Ch?l?n docuit subdolus
("cunning Chilon taught how to fart silently").

Judging from derivatives in some of the daughter languages (see below), there was also a noun *viss?na "a silent fart", but no trace of this is found in the extant texts.


The noise made by escaping flatulence was usually called crepitus, a word which could refer to "a noise" of various kinds, and the verb crep?re was used of breaking wind noisily.[100] Martial writes of a certain man, who after an embarrassing incident of flatulence when praying in the temple of Jupiter, was careful in the future to take precautions:

cum vult in Capit?lium ven?re,
sell?s ante petit Patercli?n?s
et p?dit deci?sque v?ci?sque.
sed quamv?s sibi c?verit crepand?,
compress?s natibus Iovem sal?tat.
("Whenever he wants to come to the Capitolium (to pray)
he first heads for the toilets of Paterclus
and farts ten or twenty times.
But however much he takes precautions by breaking wind,
he still salutes Jupiter with clenched buttocks.")


In Petronius (47), in the speech of the vulgar millionaire Trimalchio, euphemisms su? r? caus? facere and facere quod s? iuvet "do what helps one" are both used for relieving oneself of wind:

itaque s? quis vestrum voluerit su? r? caus? facere, n?n est quod illum pude?tur. ... ego n?llum put? tam magnum tormentum esse quam contin?re ... nec tamen in tricl?ni? ullum vetu? facere quod s? iuvet, et medic? vetant contin?re.
("And so if any of you wants to relieve himself (of wind), there's no need for him to be ashamed. Personally I think there's nothing worse than holding it in. And I never forbid anyone to relieve himself of wind even in the dining-room, and doctors forbid people to hold it in as well.")


The antiquity of p?d? and its membership in the core inherited vocabulary is clear from its reduplicating perfect stem. It is cognate with Greek (perdomai), English fart, Bulgarian prdi, Polish pierdzie?, Russian ? (perdet'), Lithuanian persti, Sanskrit pardate, and Avestan p?raiti, all of which mean the same thing.

Viss?re is clearly onomatopoeic. The Old Norse fisa may be compared,[101] although the correspondence in sounds is not exact.

In the Romance languages and English

P?dere and p?ditum survive in Romance. In French, the noun pet from p?ditum and the derived verb péter (for earlier poire from p?dere) are very much alive. In Catalan, the verb is petar-se and the noun is pet. In Spanish the noun pedo as well as the verbs peerse and pedorrear are similarly derived. Portuguese peido and peidar(-se), (-dei) and Galician peido and peidar(se) are related. Italian peto is less common than scorreggia and its derived verb scorreggiare, but in Neapolitan pireto is frequently used.

The English word petard, found mostly in the cliché "hoist with his own petard", comes from an early explosive device, the noise of which was likened to that of farting. English also has petomania for a musical performance of breaking intestinal wind, and petomane for the performer, after Le Pétomane, a French performer active in the early 20th century.[102]

Viss?re, though rare in Latin texts, has derivates in several Romance languages, such as Romanian be?í (verb) and be?ín? (noun);[103] French vesse (noun) and vesser (verb).[104][105]

Mingere and meiere: urination

Ming? (infinitive mingere) and mei? (infinitive meiere) are two variant forms of what is likely a single Latin verb meaning "to urinate", or in more vulgar usage, "to take a piss." The two verbs share a perfect mix? or m?nx?, and a past participle mictum or minctum. It is likely that ming? represents a variant conjugation of mei? with a nasal infix.

In Classical Latin, the form ming? was more common than mei?. In some Late Latin texts a variant first conjugation form mei?re is attested. This is the form that is productive in Romance.

The Classical Latin word mictur?re became the accepted medical word meaning "to urinate". It is the source of the English medical term "micturition reflex".


Martial's epigram 3.78 uses meiere and ?r?na to make a bilingual pun:

m?nxist? currente semel, Paul?ne, car?n?.
  meiere v?s iterum? iam 'Palin?rus' eris.
("Once you pissed off the side of a boat, Paulinus.
   Do you want to piss again? then you will be Palinurus.")

(Note that palin is a Greek word meaning "once again." Palinurus was Aeneas's navigator who was thrown overboard in the Aeneid.)

The verbs meiere and mingere could also be used euphemistically of sexual intercourse.[106] Horace (Satires 1.2.44), speaking of the punishments meted out to adulterers, says:

hunc perm?nx?runt c?l?n?s; qu?n etiam illud
accidit, ut cuidam test?s caudamque sal?cem
d?meterent ferr?.
("One got thoroughly 'pissed on' (i.e. raped) by the servants; it even
happened once that they cut off someone's balls and lecherous 'tail'
with a knife.")

Catullus (67.23) speaks of a father who "pissed in the lap of his own son" (ipse su? gn?t? m?nxerit in gremium), that is, had sex with his son's wife.


The most usual word for urine was ?r?na, which is attested in Latin as early as Cicero, and became the usual polite term. The relationship with the Greek verb (oure?), "to urinate", is not clear. In Classical Latin, however, the verb ?r?n?r? meant "to dive into water", and ?r?n?tor was "a diver", ?r?nant?s "those who dive".

Catullus (37) writes contemptuously of a certain Spaniard who was one of the lovers of his girlfriend Lesbia:

t? praeter omn?s ?ne de capill?t?s,
cun?cul?sae Celtiberiae f?l?,
Egn?t?. op?ca quem bonum facit barba
et d?ns Hib?r? d?fric?tus ?r?n?.
("You above all, one of the long-haired ones,
son of rabbit-filled Celtiberia,
Egnatius, made handsome by your dark beard,
and your teeth brushed clean with Iberian piss.")

Another word for urine, but less commonly used, was l?tium. This word relates to lav?re, "to wash". The Romans, innocent of soap, collected urine as a source of ammonia to use in laundering clothes. The early agricultural writer Cato, an advocate of cabbage, used this word when he wrote (Res Rustica 156):

brassica alvum bonum facit l?tiumque
("Cabbage is good for the digestion and for the urine.")


Meiere is an inherited Indo-European word. It relates to Sanskrit mehati, "urinates", Persian m?z, "urine", Lithuanian my?a, "he/she urinates", Greek (omeikhein), "to urinate", which, taken together, point to an Indo-European *h3mei?h-. This IE root with a palatal ?h was formerly mixed up (e. g. in Pokorny's IEW) with another one with velar *gh meaning "mist" (Russian mgla), hence erroneous tentative overall translations like "to sprinkle" or "to wet" which still turn up sometimes.

In the Romance languages

Though mingere and meiere are the Classical Latin forms, mei?re seems to have been the popular form in Late Latin. This underlies Galician mexar, Portuguese mijar, and Spanish mear. *Pissi?re represents a borrowing from the Germanic languages, and appears elsewhere in the Romance territory, as in French pisser, Catalan pixar, Italian pisciare and Romanian a (se) pi?a, along with English to piss.

Latin words relating to prostitution

Compared to the anatomical frankness of the Roman vocabulary about sexual acts and body parts, the Roman vocabulary relating to prostitution seems euphemistic and metaphorical.

Prostitutes were called meretr?x, "earner", and lupa, "she-wolf"; a brothel was a lup?nar; these words referred to the mercantile and perceived predatory activities of prostitutes. The Latin verb pr?st? meant "to be up for sale" and pr?stitu? meant "to expose for public sale."

The poet Juvenal (6.120-3) describes how the disgraced Empress Messalina used to enjoy playing the part of a prostitute in a brothel:

sed nigrum fl?v? cr?nem abscondente gal?r?
intr?vit calidum veter? cent?ne lup?nar
et cellam vacuam atque suam; tunc n?da papill?s
pr?stitit aur?t?s titulum ment?ta Lyciscae
("But hiding her black hair with a yellow wig,
wearing an old patchwork cloak, she entered the hot brothel
and an empty cell of her own; then she offered herself for sale nude
with her nipples covered in gold, using the false name of 'Lycisca'.")

The pimp or pander in charge of the brothel, who dismissed the girls at closing time, was called l?n? if male (Juvenal 6.127) and l?na if female.

The neuter word scortum could refer to either a male or female prostitute.[107] This word may relate to Latin scorteus, "made of leather or hide", much as English refers to the skin trade. Lewis and Short quote Varro: pellem ant?qu? d?c?bant scortum ("in the old days people referred to skin as scortum").

Another word for a male prostitute, notably one who is no longer a boy, is exol?tus (literally "grown up, adult").[108] Cicero (pro Milone, 21, 55) writes:

Cl?dius, qu? semper s?cum scorta, semper exol?t?s, semper lup?s d?ceret
("Clodius, who always used to take with him whores, and male and female prostitutes")

The verb scortor, scort?r?, which occurs chiefly in Plautus, means "to go whoring" or "to employ prostitutes". Plautus illustrates its use in Asinaria:

quand? m?cum pariter p?tant, pariter scort?r? solent,
hanc quidem, quam nactus, praedam pariter cum ill?s partiam.
("Whenever they go drinking with me, they also usually go whoring with me.
So I'll share this booty which I've captured with them equally.")

The important and productive words for a prostitute in Romance, *p?ta or *p?t?na, are not attested in Classical Latin, despite their many Romance derivatives: French putain and pute, Italian puttana, Spanish, Filipino, Catalan, Portuguese and Galician puta. French linguists state that they relate to Latin p?te?, p?t?re, "to stink," and thus represent yet another metaphor.[]. Spaniards María Moliner (author of a famous dictionary of Spanish) and Joan Coromines think they came from Vulgar Latin *putta, feminine form of *puttus, an emphatic form of p?tus, "pure" or "boy". In Portugal, the word puto has the same connotation as "small kid" or "little boy"; in Brazil, on the other hand, it is slang for "pissed off" or enraged males in general or as a colloquial, mildly offensive term for male escorts (more formally called prostitutos or michês) - the male counterpart of the slang puta, with the same meanings.

In popular culture

The HBO/BBC2 original television series Rome depicts the city with the grit and grime that is often absent from earlier productions, including that of language.[] But since the actors speak English, Latin profanity is mostly seen in written graffiti, such as:

  • ATIA FELLAT, "Atia sucks"; "fellatio" is a noun derived from this verb.
  • ATIA AMAT OMNES, "Atia loves all [men]". Thus calling her a whore or slut.[]
  • CAESARI SERVILIA FUTATRIX, "Servilia is Caesar's bitch".[]

See also


Primary literary sources are discussed in the text. Many of the graffiti discussed are found in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.

  • Adams, Douglas Q. (1985) "Latin Mas and Masturbari". Glotta, 63. Bd., 3./4. H. (1985), pp. 241-247.
  • Adams, James N. (1981a). "A Type of Sexual Euphemism in Latin". Phoenix, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Summer, 1981), pp. 120-128. Published by: Classical Association of Canada.
  • Adams, James N. (1981b). "Culus, Clunes and Their Synonyms in Latin". Glotta, 59. Bd., 3./4. H. (1981), pp. 231-264.
  • Adams, James N. (1983). "Martial 2. 83". Classical Philology, Vol. 78, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), pp. 311-315. (A reply to Richlin (1981).)
  • Adams, James N. (1990 [1982]). The Latin Sexual Vocabulary (Johns Hopkins, 1990 [1982]) ISBN 0-8018-2968-2. (Introduction.)
  • (Anon.) (1868). The Index Expurgatorius of Martial, Literally Translated, Comprising All the Epigrams hitherto Omitted by English Translators. Believed to have been written by George Augustus Sala and Edward Sellon among others.[109]
  • Bain, David (1991). "Six Greek Verbs of Sexual Congress (, , , , ?, ?)"The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 1 (1991), pp. 51-77.
  • Beckelhymer, Samuel David (2014). "The Way That Our Catullus Walked: Grammar and Poetry in the Late Republic". Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 1205.
  • Bücheler, Franz (1915). "Pedicare". Kleine Schriften, vol. 1, pp. 104-6. (in German)
  • Currie, Bruno (1996). "A Note on Catullus 63.5". Classical Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 2 (1996), pp. 579-581.
  • Dutsch, Dorota and Ann Suter (ed.) (2015), Ancient Obscenities: Their Nature and Use in the Ancient Greek and Roman Worlds. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472119646. Reviewed by Jeffrey Henderson Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.05.46.
  • Fay, Edwin W. (1907) "Greek and Latin Word Studies". The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Apr., 1907), pp. 13-30.
  • Fisher, John (1976). The lexical affiliations of Vegliote (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1976) ISBN 0-8386-7796-7
  • Fontaine, Michael (2009). Funny Words in Plautine Comedy (Oxford University Press). ISBN 9780195341447
  • Housman, A.E. (1930). "Draucus and Martial XI 8 1". The Classical Review, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Sep., 1930), pp. 114-116.
  • Housman, A.E. (1931). Praefanda. Hermes, 66. Bd., H. 1 (Jan., 1931), pp. 402-412. (in Latin)
  • Katz, Joshua, T. (1998). "Testimonia Ritus Italici: Male Genitalia, Solemn Declarations, and a New Latin Sound Law". Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 98 (1998), pp. 183-217.
  • Kokoszkiewicz, Konrad (2011). "Catullus 65.3: devolsit?. The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 61, No. 2 (December 2011), pp. 756-758.
  • Messing, Gordon M. (1956) "The Etymology of Lat. Mentula". Classical Philology Vol. 51, No. 4 (Oct., 1956), pp. 247-249.
  • Miller, P.A. (1998), "The Bodily Grotesque in Roman Satire: Images of Sterility". Arethusa 31.3 (1998) 257-283.
  • Muse, Kevin (2009). "Fleecing Remus' Magnanimous Playboys: Wordplay in Catullus 58.5" Hermes, 137. Jahrg., H. 3 (2009), pp. 302-313.
  • Penella, Robert J. (1976). A note on (De)glubere. Hermes, 104. Bd., H. 1 (1976), pp. 118-120.
  • Richlin, Amy (1981). "The Meaning of Irrumare in Catullus and Martial". Classical Philology, Vol. 76, No. 1 (Jan., 1981), pp. 40-46.
  • Sapsford, Francesca May (2012). The 'Epic' of Martial. University of Birmingham PhD thesis.
  • Schultheiss, D., J.J. Mattelaer and F.M. Hodges (2003). "Preputial infibulation: from ancient medicine to modern genital piercing". BJU International 92(7):758-63, December 2003.
  • Scott, William C. (1969). "Catullus and Cato (c. 56)". Classical Philology, Vol. 64, No. 1 (Jan., 1969), pp. 24-29. The University of Chicago Press.
  • Smart, Christopher. Quinti Horatii Flacci Opera, with a literal translation into English Prose (London, Sampson Low, 1882)
  • Sullivan, J. P. (1990). "Martial and English Poetry". Classical Antiquity Vol. 9, No. 1 (Apr., 1990), pp. 149-17.
  • Taylor, Rabun (1997). "Two Pathic Subcultures in Ancient Rome". Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Jan., 1997), pp. 319-371.
  • Tucker, T. G., Etymological Dictionary of Latin (Halle, 1931, repr. Ares Publishers, 1985) ISBN 0-89005-172-0
  • Uden, James (2007). "Impersonating Priapus". The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 128, No. 1 (Spring, 2007), pp. 1-26.
  • Varone, Antonio (2002). Erotica Pompeiana: Love Inscriptions on the Walls of Pompeii, trans. Ria P. Berg. (Rome) (Selected pages on Google books.)
  • Watson, Lindsay C. (2005). "Catullan Recycling? Cacata carta'". Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, Vol. 58, Fasc. 2 (2005), pp. 270-277.
  • Williams, Craig A. (2010), Roman Homosexuality. Second Edition (first published 1999). Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN 9780195388749.
  • Wood, Francis A. (1905) "The IE. Root '*Qeu'-: Nuere, Nutare, Cevere; Quatere, Cudere; Cubare, Incumbere. II" In Modern Philology, vol. 17, p. 567 ff. (Univ. Chicago, 1905)
  • Wray, David (2001). "Attis' Groin Weights (Catullus 63.5)". Classical Philology, Vol. 96, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 120-126.


  1. ^ ad Famili?r?s 9.22.
  2. ^ Bain (1991).
  3. ^ Adams (1982), p. 2.
  4. ^ Adams (1982), pp. 4-6.
  5. ^ Adams (1981a).
  6. ^ Adams (1982), pp. 10, 12.
  7. ^ Adams (1982), p. 9.
  8. ^ On drauc?, see Taylor (1997), pp. 366-9.
  9. ^ cf. Messing (1956).
  10. ^ Adams (1982), p. 13.
  11. ^ Adams (1982), p. 124.
  12. ^ Wheeler, A.L. 1964 [1934]. Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry, pp. 96, 103.
  13. ^ Adams (1982), p. 130.
  14. ^ Schultheiss et al. (2003).
  15. ^ cf. Antonio Varone, Erotica Pompeiana: Love Inscriptions on the Walls of Pompeii («L'Erma» di Bretschneider, 2002), p. 95.
  16. ^ Adams (1982), p. 62.
  17. ^ Adams (1982), p. 63.
  18. ^ Sallust, Catiline 14.
  19. ^ Adams (1982), p. 36.
  20. ^ "proper-sized": Miller (1998). Other commentators translate similarly.
  21. ^ Housman (1930).
  22. ^ Taylor (1997), pp. 366-70.
  23. ^ Taylor (1997), pp. 330-37.
  24. ^ Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary.
  25. ^ Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary.
  26. ^ Williams (2010), p. 97.
  27. ^ Adams (1982), p. 103.
  28. ^ "A origem da palavra caralho". Ciberdúvidas da Língua Portuguesa, quoting Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa 2008, da Porto Editora.
  29. ^ See cazzo (Italian Wikipedia).
  30. ^ See Adams (1982), p. 66.
  31. ^ Adams (1982), p. 66.
  32. ^ Fontaine (2010), p. 237.
  33. ^ Cicero, pro Caelio, 63; cf. Adams, Elizabeth D. (2013). Esse videtur: Occurrences of Heroic Clausulae in Cicero's Orations. (University of Kansas MA thesis), p. 42.
  34. ^ Adams (1982), p. 67.
  35. ^ Wray (2001).
  36. ^ See Currie(1996); Kokoszkiewicz (2011).
  37. ^ Wray (2001), p. 122.
  38. ^ Adams (1982), p. 69.
  39. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. It has been argued that the Germanic base of this word is ultimately < the same Indo-European base as classical Latin cunnus (see cunnilingus n.), but the -t- of forms in the Germanic languages would not be easy to explain.
  40. ^ Adams (1982), pp. 101-2.
  41. ^ Adams (1982), p. 103.
  42. ^ Cicero, Epistolae ad Familiares, 9.22
  43. ^ Raffaele Garrucci, Sylloge inscriptionum Latinarum aevi Romanae rei publicae..., Paravia 1875, p. 318.
  44. ^ Antonio Varone, Erotica Pompeiana: Love Inscriptions on the Walls of Pompeii, 2002, ISBN 88-8265-124-X, p. 147.
  45. ^ Adams (1982), p. 97.
  46. ^ Fay (1907), p. 13.
  47. ^ Joseph S. Salemi "Three Sexual Poems by Marcus Valerius Martialis"
  48. ^ Adams (1982), p. 98.
  49. ^ Adams (1982), p. 110.
  50. ^ Quoted in Williams (2010), p. 96.
  51. ^ Adams (1981b), p. 246.
  52. ^ Adams (1981b), p. 235.
  53. ^ Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary.
  54. ^ Adams (1981b), p. 240.
  55. ^ Richlin (1981), p. 42.
  56. ^ Martim de Albuquerque (1873). Notes and Queries. Original from the University of Michigan: Oxford University Press. p. 119. latin anus ring.
  57. ^ Edward O'Reilly, John O'Donovan (1864). An Irish-English Dictionary. Original from Oxford University: J. Duffy. p. 7. latin anus ring.
  58. ^ Uden (2007), p. 12.
  59. ^ Adams (1982), p. 118.
  60. ^ Varone (2002), p. 83.
  61. ^ cf. Suetonius, Life of Augustus 69.
  62. ^ Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary.
  63. ^ Adams (1982), pp. 172-3.
  64. ^ Varone (2002), p. 66.
  65. ^ Adams (1982), p. 173.
  66. ^ Adams (1982), pp. 171-207.
  67. ^ Adams (1982), p. 123.
  68. ^ Sapsford (2012), p. 80.
  69. ^ Adams (1982), p. 133.
  70. ^ Adams (1982), p. 127.
  71. ^ Adams (1982), p. 131.
  72. ^ Adams (1982), p. 135.
  73. ^ Varone (2002), p. 77.
  74. ^ Varone (2002), p. 70.
  75. ^ Adams (1982), p. 134.
  76. ^ Penella (1976).
  77. ^ Penella (1976), note 4.
  78. ^ Muse (2009), pp. 310-11.
  79. ^ Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary.
  80. ^ Adams (1982), pp. 208-211.
  81. ^ Hallett (1976).
  82. ^ D. Q. Adams (1985).
  83. ^ Katz (1998), pp. 210-11.
  84. ^ Varone (2002), p. 95.
  85. ^ Quoted in Schultheiss et al. (2003).
  86. ^ Beckelhymer (2014), p. 240.
  87. ^ Housman (1931), p. 402.
  88. ^ Adams (1982), p. 146.
  89. ^ Scott (1969), p. 24.
  90. ^ Uden (2007), pp. 11-12.
  91. ^ Beckelhymer (2014), pp. 240-241.
  92. ^ Cf. Housman (1931), p. 402, though he rejects this interpretation.
  93. ^ Adams (1982), pp. 145-6.
  94. ^ "Scottish National Dictionary - Cack". Dictionary of the Scots Language. Scottish Language Dictionaries. Retrieved 2016.
  95. ^ For a discussion of the meaning of cac?ta carta, see Watson, Lindsay C. (2005). "Catullan Recycling? Cacata carta". Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, Vol. 58, Fasc. 2 (2005), pp. 270-277.
  96. ^ cf. Sapsford (2012), pp. 87-8.
  97. ^ "Dex Online". Retrieved .
  98. ^ Cf. D.R. Shackleton Bailey, Cicero: Epistulae ad Familiares, vol. 2, p. 333.
  99. ^ For further information on this inscription, which is in the form of an iambic senarius, see "The Room of the Seven Sages".
  100. ^ Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary.
  101. ^ Oxford Latin Dictionary.
  102. ^ These terms are not yet recognised by the OED, but featured in an article Archived 2006-06-21 at the Wayback Machine in The Guardian in the 1960s, and are discussed.
  103. ^ Diccionario etimologico rumano (Alejandro Cioranescu, 1958-66)
  104. ^ Dictionnaire de français Larousse
  105. ^ Further details are given at Laudator Temporis Acti blogspot
  106. ^ Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary.
  107. ^ Taylor (1989), p. 358.
  108. ^ Taylor (1989), p. 358.
  109. ^ Sullivan (1990) p. 171.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes