The etymology of the word ‘twat’

The etymology of the word ‘twat’

The notorious Spitfire McGillicuddy before his operation
The notorious Spitfire McGillicuddy before his operation

Many of you will have been duped at an early age into thinking that ‘twat’ is a derogatory epithet. Indeed, in some less salubrious quarters, it is still bandied about as an insult. The whole history of the word has been based upon a misconception and we, Thirza and Stutely Benton, are here to put things right.

‘Twat’ is in fact an old English word meaning ‘one who likes to share their thoughts’. In medieval villages to be regarded as a ‘twat’ was something positive. It was the twats who voiced their thoughts and were generous in allowing other people into their world of ideas and opinions.

Twitter is of course a modern medium for twats - the purists and fellow thinking twats amongst us already propagate the correct conjugation of the verb ‘to tweet’, i.e. Today I shall tweet, yesterday I twat and over the past years I have twatted a great deal.

If you too have been misled by the word you are in good company. Believing it to be an item of nun’s clothing, Robert Browning misused the term in his poem Pippa Passes (1841):

Then owls and bats
Cowls and twats
Monks and nuns in a cloister's moods
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry

The word ‘twat’ is often misused in various other ways, i.e. as an insult meaning a fool (a somewhat stronger alternative to the word ‘twit’) and also to hit someone or something hard or violently.

Stutely Benton it must be said had always felt provoked by mindless twats who shared the most banal thoughts with their fellows.

He once gave a lecture and noticed that a young man in the front row was sporting a t-shirt with the words, ‘I pee in pools’ in large letters. After a little discrete intelligence work Stutely learned that this ‘t-shirtster’ was in fact not only aware of what was on his chest but proud of his message.

It later transpired that he was an accordion player.

Remember - a gentleman is a man who knows how to play the accordion but doesn’t.