Pussy, beaver, moo-moo, lady garden: the English language has many euphemisms for the word "vagina," most of them frankly a bit ridiculous. (Think of as many as you can in thirty seconds. Go! I'll wait.) But we don't have the monopoly on charming slang terms for a cisgender lady's intimate parts. Languages around the world have developed their own shorthand to avoid actually naming vaginas directly, whether from religious or cultural squeamishness, a wish to play it cute, or just a kind of metaphorical accuracy (why, yes, it does look a bit like a clam or a mussel).
This list is just the tip of the iceberg — every region seems to have its own particular phrases, and it likely differs from town to town — but if you want to join in a wink-wink nudge-nudge conversation in a language other than English, this is going to be your guide. The main themes? Animals and food. Whether we're just not very imaginative or vaginas are just very metaphorically obvious, people looking for a nice slang term tend to reach for their larders or their local zoos to get inspiration.
Some languages, on the surface at least, pretty much call a spade a spade: a pussy's a pussy in Arabic (kus), Italian (figa) and Cantonese (hai, a term banned on television which literally means "a hole in the bottom of the body"). Is this directness better? Maybe for clarity — but going without these euphemisms would certainly deprive us of a lot of laughs.
So without further ado...
DEFINITION: Piggy bank.
DEFINITION: Spider. (I have no idea why.)
DEFINITION: A local maize-based flatbread filled with delicious meat.
DEFINITION: Bug, brat or pest.
DEFINITION: A kind of dance that's a little like a bolero.
ORIGIN: South America
DEFINITION: Tent or turf. "Pitching a tent" is apparently a female thing in Peru.
DEFINITION: A baby chicken or chick.
DEFINITION: A sea-shell usually associated with pilgrims, or shell-shaped bread known as concha blanca.
DEFINITION: Parrot or loudmouth. Uruguay appreciates vocal vaginas, it seems.
ORIGIN: The Netherlands.
DEFINITION: Box. Straight to the point, the Dutch.
DEFINITION: Guava fruit (or a hangover).
DEFINITION: A bowl or small cup.
DEFINITION: Kitten. Cats are slang for vagina in several languages around the world.
DEFINITION: Bean paste bun. The correct rude slang is ke manju, which means "hairy bean paste bun." Charming.
ORIGIN: El Salvador.
DEFINITION: A type of South American black-tailed marmoset.
DEFINITION: Small cat.
DEFINITION: A mouse.
DEFINITION: Daughter. (I know. It's odd.)
28. Oku no in
DEFINITION: Inner sanctum.
DEFINITION: Slang for a double chin.
DEFINITION: They call papaya "fruta bomba." Several varieties of Spanish use papayas or similar fruits as euphemisms for vaginas, which once famously got Mitt Romney (and his love for papaya) in trouble.
DEFINITION: Seed or nugget.
DEFINITION: Exactly what it sounds like.
ORIGIN: El Salvador.
DEFINITION: A Salvadorian culinary specialty, a tortilla filled with cheese.
DEFINITION: A bun that highly resembles a bum.
ORIGIN: Mandarin Chinese.
DEFINITION: Garden of peach blossoms. Definitely my favorite.
39. Tanima no yuri
DEFINITION: Lily of the valley.
ORIGIN: Puerto Rico.
DEFINITION: Roast suckling pig.
DEFINITION: An obscure species of seal. No, really.
Images: Wikimedia Commons, Giphy, Table Talk At Larry's