It can also be used as an adjective (to describe a foolish person), a verb (meaning both to physically abuse someone and to call a woman a cunt), and an exclamation (to signify frustration).
Despite its semantic flexibility, however, 'cunt' remains our highest linguistic taboo: "It has yet, if ever, to return to grace" (Jonathon Green, 2010).
William Shakespeare, writing at the cusp of the Reformation, demonstrated the reduced potency of blasphemy and, with his thinly veiled 'cunt' puns, slyly circumvented the newfound intolerance towards sexual language.
If 'cunt' is repeated ad infinitum, our sense of shock at initially encountering the word is rapidly dispelled.
To us it means, on the one hand, 'sacred', 'consecrated', and on the other 'uncanny', 'dangerous', 'forbidden', 'unclean'" (1912).
Taboos relating to language are most readily associated with the transgressive lexicon of swearing.
'Cunt' is a synonym for 'vagina', though this is only its most familiar meaning.
As a noun, 'cunt' has numerous other senses: a woman (viewed as a sexual object), sexual intercourse, a (foolish) person, an infuriating device, an ironically affectionate term of address, the mouth as a sexual organ, the anus as a sexual organ, the buttocks, prostitution, a vein used for drug-injection, a synonym for 'damn', an attractive woman, an object or place, the essence of someone, and a difficult task.