Wednesday, September 02, 2015

"Vagina" in Hebrew

EQUAL TIME: How the Prophet Isaiah Gave Hebrew Its Word for Vagina. If St Jerome and other experts are right, Israelis may have thought that 'pot' meant vulva, but actually they were saying cup. Or forehead. Or maybe something else (Elon Gilad, Haaretz).
But the “official” word, used in sex-ed classes, textbooks and in awkward conversations with the gynecologist, is pot. With a long "o" (as in "note").

Technically that means “vulva” but it has come to be used more generally to mean “lady parts”. For this, Israelis can thank the Prophet Isaiah and his obtuse prophesies. That is the only place the word 'pot' appears in the bible.

But there's some question as to what it means.

The Lord will do something

Out of the eight Hebrew words in Isaiah 3:17, only five are clear.

An honest reading admitting our ignorance would render the verse as “The Lord will do something to the tops of the heads of the daughters of Zion and The Lord will do something else to their somethings.” The last of these blanks is the noun pot.

This ambiguity led to quite divergent interpretations and translations over the ages, starting with translators into Greek and Aramaic, who simply glossed over the words they didn’t know.
After a long and convoluted history of interpretation, this became the "official" word for "vulva" in 1939.

Mr. Gilad's parallel article on words for "penis" is noted here. Related posts in the link there and also here.