I most often refer to my breasts as boobs, and I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one. But have you ever wondered exactly why we call breasts "boobs." anyway? Well, good news: The always-informative Cristen Conger of Stuff Mom Never Told You is here to shed a litte light on the subject. Conger recently discovered that the number one result when you Google "Why are breasts called boobs?" is a Stuff Mom Never Told You blog post about the question; as such, she decided now would be a good time to put together a video about it, as well. Besides, boobs are great, so any excuse to talk about them is a good one.
While "boobs" might be one of the most popular slang terms for breasts, it's certainly not the only one out there. The Urban Dictionary alone includes 99 slang terms for breasts, while Listaholic lists a whopping 138! I'll be honest: I do have to wonder why we feel the need to conjure up all of these wacky slang terms when we could just call them by their given name to begin with. I'm guessing our Western culture's Puritanical roots are probably responsible for it; the general high anxiety and shame around sexuality typically makes us shy away from anything "delicate" and run to the open arms of euphemism.
If you're as curious as I am as to the etymology of the word "boobs," let's take a look at how the term came about. Fair warning — it might give you the creeps.
According to our old friend Webster (the dictionary, that is), the word "boobs" in reference to breasts first emerged in the 1930s. It didn't fall out of the sky, though; it's actually a shortened version of the slang term "booby," which was popular in the 17th century. From there, the history of the word can be traced back even farther through Germanic languages and Latin until we reach the original word: "Puppa." This probably doesn't seem so terrible, right? Wrong. Get ready for the grossness, guys... the term "puppa" means "little girl."
I think the word "boobs" might have been forever ruined for me. As Conger eloquently puts it, this example "definitively proves that fun with words isn't always so fun," and I couldn't agree more. Can we just axe the word boobs from our entire vocabulary, please?
If you want to see the full etymology of the word boobs and perhaps also start using the alternative slang term for boobs that Conger brilliantly suggests at the end, watch the full video below