twat

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English

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Etymology

Unknown origin. Possibly cognate with Old Norse þveit (cut, slit, forest clearing).

Pronunciation

Noun

twat (plural twats)

  1. (vulgar, slang) The vagina or vulva.
  2. (Britain, New Zealand, sometimes US, offensive, vulgar, slang) A contemptible and stupid person, idiot.

Usage notes

Used in slang in some parts of England to describe someone - always male in practice, it seems - as an idiot, often in ‘stupid twat’, ‘a complete twat’. In this usage it can be fairly mild, not grossly offensive, nor highly taboo. It can be used humorously or in anger or in disgust. (The fact that it is rarely applied to females is probably due to the higher selection priority of various female-specific insults, rather than some inherent property which disqualifies it.) Many English speakers never use the word, preferring other insults.

It is highly obscene if used to refer to the vagina, but such usage is extremely rare and very restricted and would be considered sexist and offensive to women.

Erroneously used by Robert Browning in Pippa Passes (1841) to denote part of a nun's habit; based on a misunderstanding of lines from a satirical poem Vanity of Vanities (1660): "They talk’t of his having a Cardinalls Hat / They’d send him as soon an Old Nuns Twat." For more, see Wikipedia.

Derived terms

Translations

Verb

twat (third-person singular simple present twats, present participle twatting, simple past and past participle twatted)

  1. (transitive, Britain, slang) To hit, slap.
    • 1989, Red Dwarf, series III, episode 3 (Polymorph)
      Arnold Rimmer: What are we gonna do?
      Dave Lister: Well, I say let's get out there and twat it!
    • 2005, S. J. Smith, Joe Public
      "Umbridge'll twat him into next week."
    • 2006, Martyn J. Pass, Dani Pass, Waiting for Red
      "I'd love to twat her over the head with this. What d'ya reckon?"
      "She'd certainly bleed a lot."
    • 2007, Mark Button, Security Officers And Policing: Powers, Culture and Control in the Governance of Private Space
      That's the only time I have been twatted by someone.

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