Friday 27 January 2012


Oh, the things you find in old dictionaries! This from Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811):

Cundum. The dried gut of a sheep, worn by men in the act of coition to prevent venereal infection; said to have been invented by one colonel Cundum. These machines were long prepared and sold by a matron of the name of Philips, at the Green Canister, in Half-moon Street, in the Strand. That good lady having acquired a fortune, retired from business; but learning that the town was not well served by her successors, she, out of a patriotic zeal for the public welfare, returned to her occupation; of which she gave notice by divers hand-bills, in circulation in the year 1776. Also a false scabbard over a sword, and the oil-skin case for holding the colours of a regiment.

The OED doubts the good colonel's existence, but to make up for that it provides the following lovely couplet from a poem of 1744:

Let not the Joy she proffers be Essay'd,
Without the well-try'd Cundum's friendly Aid.

Either way, it has nothing to do with the town in France.

File:Condoomgebruik in de 19e eeuw.png
The Inky Fool completely misunderstood the idea.


  1. I always thought condoms derived from condominiums and had something to do with joint sovereignty.

  2. In Giacomo Casanova's Memoirs, he recalls stealing such articles (they weren't called cundums then, but were made from sheep gut) from a convent, and being begged by the Abbess to return them promptly.