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The Reason Why We Call Breasts ‘Boobs’

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The Reason Why We Call Breasts ‘Boobs’

Have you ever wondered why we call breasts 'boobs'?

Although some people think the term came about as a visual representation of their appearance - i.e. 'B' from above, 'oo' from the front and 'b' from the side, this is actually thought to be a coincidence.

In fact, the true origins of the word date back centuries.

Have you ever wondered why we call breasts 'boobs'? Credit: Alamy
Have you ever wondered why we call breasts 'boobs'? Credit: Alamy
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According to Today I Found Out, there are numerous potential reasons why we use the term boobs – and where it came from – but it's likely the word derived from the word 'bubby' meaning 'breast'.

The first reference to the word is believed to have been used in a 1686 poem by Thomas d'Urfey, before appearing years later in one of John Arbuthnot’s pamphlets written in 1712.

It's not entirely clear where 'bubby' came from, but many believe it originates from the German word 'bübbi', meaning 'teat'.

It's also thought the word could have come about from a variation of Latin for little girl, 'pūpa'.

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It's believed that the first reference of the word 'boobs' in literature came in 1932. Credit: Shutterstock
It's believed that the first reference of the word 'boobs' in literature came in 1932. Credit: Shutterstock

Centuries later, it's believed that the first reference to 'boobs' in literature came in 1932, in a novel by James T. Farrell, Young Lonigan.

While it's generally accepted that he didn't invent the word, the excerpt reads: "Studs didn’t usually pay attention to how girls looked, except to notice the shape of their legs, because if they had good legs they were supposed to be good for you-know, and if they didn’t they weren’t; and to notice their boobs, if they were big enough to bounce."

The true origins of the word date back centuries ago. Credit: Shutterstock
The true origins of the word date back centuries ago. Credit: Shutterstock
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These days, although there are a number of different words to represent breasts, according to one study, most women prefer using the term 'boobs' as opposed to other slang.

In 2013, Australian retailer Bonds conducted a survey and found almost three quarters of Australian women preferred the word to other variations.

What do you think?

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Life

Lucy Devine
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