One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The motif of a vagina with teeth, occurring in folklore and fantasy and said to symbolize male fears of the dangers of sexual intercourse, especially of castration.
- ‘I'm not feeling Freudian enough to dwell on the symbolism, but that tunnel with teeth screams vagina dentata.’
- ‘As if to suggest a vagina dentata, golden teeth float about its orificelike head.’
- ‘The mythic vagina dentata injures its prey; and predator animals ‘bleed’ from the mouth, sometimes with humans' blood.’
- ‘For her toothy mouth shamelessly crystallizes the archaic fantasy of the vagina dentata.’
- ‘A dramatic representation of a vagina dentata, it foiled the relative modesty of the other garments, and suggested that women's fashion might also perpetuate the stereotype of the femme fatale.’
Early 20th century: dentata, feminine of Latin dentatus ‘having teeth’.
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