To us it means, on the one hand, 'sacred', 'consecrated', and on the other 'uncanny', 'dangerous', 'forbidden', 'unclean'" (1912).
At the heart of this incongruity is our culture's negative attitude towards femininity.
'Cunt' has been succinctly defined as "the bottom half of a woman or a very despicable person" (Pentti Olli, 1999).
According to Francis Grose's scurrilous definition, it is "a nasty name for a nasty thing" (1796).
What 'cunt' has in common with most other contemporary swear words is its connection to bodily functions.
Genital, scatological, and sexual terms (such as, respectively, 'cunt', 'shit', and 'fuck') are our most powerful taboos, though this was not always the case.