Archives For etymology

The Beats Gave Birth to Modern Hipsters

The generally accepted definition of the word “hipster” in 2017 is a young, non-traditional, counter-culture person who is an independent thinker, believes in progressive politics, and appreciates art and underground music. Typically, it has a pejorative slant. It refers to people who like to think of themselves as trend-setters, but are actually slaves to fashion as much as anyone – if not more so than the rest of us.

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Kerouac’s Quiff

In Jack Kerouac’s book Vanity of Duluoz he refers to women as quiffs, which in my estimation, is too close to the modern day queef for there not to be any connection.

Thinking I might be onto a word origin history lesson, otherwise known as etymology, I turned to my mother, who was born in 1948. If quiff as “woman” was some sort of retired expression, not used since the early 1970’s (Duluoz was published in 1967) or thereabouts, surely, in its heyday, she would have heard it.

“Mom, have you ever heard women being described as quiffs?”

“No,” she answered, “What’s a quiff?” which everyone really should have their moms ask them atleast once.

“Never mind,” I said. “Just a word in a book.”

Something had happened after the publishing of Duluoz to transform Kerouac’s definition of quiff as “female” to our current definition of “female’s queef”- some kind of seismic quiff shift.

Obviously, there is a slight visual difference between Kerouac’s quiff and what we know now as the usually sexually related vaginal air release queef.  When Kerouac’s quiff lost dibs on describing the complete female form, it gained some sort of reparative double e f.

Taking into consideration that Kerouac was French- Canadian and that quiff may have been a geographical colloquialism, I called up my old friend Jacque who calls Canada home.

“Jacque, do you know what a queef is?”

“Yes,” he answered suspiciously.

“In your homeland, have you ever heard women being referred to as quiffs?”

“No, but I’ve referred to women myself as the orifice from which queefs originate.”

“What would you think a quiff might be then?”

“A queef you can sniff?”

“That is really gross. You have offended me to my very core.”

Deciding that maybe Jacque just wasn’t continental enough for my purposes, I turned to an online French to English Dictionary, typing in quiff.

The dictionary just coughed up what matched quiff the closest- The Canadian city of Quebec.

I’d taken my inquiries to the street (my mom), the locals (Jacque) and the internet (online dictionary). I was about to give up when I caught the nightly news and heard about a scientific development that has inspired me to continue my search.

Scientists everywhere are celebrating the discovery of a fossil they call Ira, hailing it as the missing link between our primate past and primate present.

As I hope to someday find the missing link that will connect Kerouac’s quiff past to our vart queef present, I feel a solidarity with this discovery. I will soldier on. If you know anything, email me.