Seriously. There are words of Anglo-Saxon origin for all other organs and activities that used to be taboo (some still are) dating back to pre-Conquest days. But nothing for "penis". I find it hard to believe that the author of the "country matters" pun, or his commoner contemporaries, or their forefathers, would use a Latin term for something of such momentous importance (in every sense of the word). For a while I thought that the word "dick" was of old Germanic origin until I discovered that it's a slang word that first appeared in the late 19th Century.

Could someone please elucidate this for me?

Note: Euphemisms and figures of speech do not apply. No, it does not have to mean the same thing in modern English. It doesn't even have to exist in modern English.

  • This is a legitimate question about etymology/word-history. I do not see why people are trying to close it. – fdb Dec 3 '15 at 12:09
  • Do possible euphemisms/figures of speech count? And does the word have to mean the same thing in modern English? – brass tacks Dec 3 '15 at 21:56
  • @sumelic: 1. No, they don't. 2. No, it doesn't. – Ricky Dec 3 '15 at 21:57
  • Ah, I see you've talked about that in a comment below, actually. I think you should edit your question to add that info there. It can sometimes be tough to tell the difference between a figure of speech and a specific term, though. "Cock" has other meanings in modern English, as does "dick/Dick." – brass tacks Dec 3 '15 at 22:01
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    @fdb I voted to close it because it is mainly a reverse dictionary lookup that is easy when you have an electronic version of the OED. – jk - Reinstate Monica Dec 4 '15 at 8:26

I am not sure about the oldest word, but the OED has early references for:

pintle (Old English)

pillicok from about 1328 onwards

prick from about 1558 onwards

pillo(c)k from 1568 onwards

cock from 1618 onwards

Also this from Urquhart’s famous translation of Rabelais from 1653: “My pusher, dresser, pouting stick, my horny pipe, my pretty pillicock, linkie pinkie…”

  • I have no access to OED right now. Dictionary.com does not have an entry on pillicok. The rest of the words on your list seem to be slang words, i.e. euphemisms and/or slang words, akin to "little tiger," "rod," "boobs," "pussy," etc. I'm curious about the genuine word that meant penis first. – Ricky Dec 3 '15 at 18:02
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    "Pintle", "pillicock" and "pillock" seem to have been used in this meaning and no other. – fdb Dec 3 '15 at 21:40
  • pintle: a pin or bolt, especially one on which something turns, as the gudgeon of a hinge. (dictionary.reference.com/browse/pintle?s=t) – Ricky Dec 3 '15 at 21:51
  • I think these are (etymologically) two different words. "pintel" meaning "penis" is Old English. "Pintle" for "a kind of pin" is first attested in 1486. – fdb Dec 3 '15 at 22:32
  • Well, did I put "pintle (Old English) in the answer, or did you? Sheesh .... – Ricky Dec 4 '15 at 0:09

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