lady parts

Today’s Zits:


Jeremy and his buddy Pierce, and the slang euphemism lady parts.

Two questions about lady parts: What is its referent? And how long has it been around?

On the semantic question, there are two answers, one much broader than the other. The broad sense, from Segen’s Medical Dictionary (2012):

lady parts Slang for the external parts of the female anatomy—e.g., the breasts, clitoris, labia and, for some, the buttocks.

And the narrower sense, as a synonym for vagina, from “The season of penis and vagina”, on this blog on 10/30/11:

June Thomas on Slate on September 19th [2011] noted “a sudden affection for using anatomical terms [vagina and penis] for lady parts and manly bits”

It’s often unclear which sense is being used. Even in this now-notorious e-card briefly used in the 2012 Obama-Biden campaign:


(The image was quickly dropped from the Obama-Biden website after backlash.)

On the historical question, I have no answer. The compound lady parts doesn’t seem to have made it into Green’s Dictionary of Slang, and (unsurprisingly) it’s not in the OED. Occurrences on the net (though very frequent) seem to be relatively recent.

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