And its corresponding slang from “rubber” to “weenie beanie”.
Certainly, the English language offers sexier words than “condom” (think: elevator, jaguar, tulip). Neither romantic nor poetic, the noun has something of a flat, clinical feel. But for an object so intimately linked with sex, how did the thing land itself such a thoroughly lackluster title?
Paging Dr. CondomWell, from an etymology standpoint, there’s an element of mystery here. Most sources will say “condom” is derived from one Dr. Condom, an early 18th-century British doctor who purportedly crafted the first penile “protective sheathing.” That said, there’s little evidence to substantiate that fact –– and plenty of reason to believe the term actually preceded this illusive doctor character (of whom there is little to no reported information). The word seems to appear in 1666 in an English Birth Rate Commission Report –– which was before Dr. Condom’s time.
An Italian GloveOther linguistic theorists note that early iterations of the term were sometimes spelled “condam” or “quondam,” which suggest that the word, itself, may be a derivation of the Italian guantone or guanto: "a glove." While, on the contrary, Francophiles might argue that the name comes from the French town, Condom-en-Armagnac, which tends to be referred to colloquially as ‘the Condomois’ –– and in all fairness, the place is often described as “romantic.” Fitting, no?
Latin RootsNaturally, there are also some theoretical Latin origins to be explored here because, well, aren’t there always? And the most exceptional among these holds that “condom” is a corruption of the Latin “cumdum” which loosely translates to “sheath” or “scabbard.” Now, purely from a content perspective, cumdum feels like a plenty apt name for a condom but the truth is, we’ve got little hard and fast intel on the true birthplace of the word. That said, blissfully, we are not without a whole litany of ingenious colloquial terms that offer a bit more personality.
So, for your personal amusement (and ours), here’s our roster of the greatest-hit condom synonyms out there.
The Flat-Out AbsurdJimmy Hat