The perineum is the small region between the anus and the genitalia in both men and women. The word, first used in a 1425 translation of a treatise on surgery, comes from Latin, like a lot of other medical terms. Ultimately, we can trace it to Ancient Greek perinaion, which is composed of the word peri, meaning "near" or "around", and inein, meaning "to evacuate" or "empty out". I've looked all over for an explanation, but I can't seem to find one, or an origin, for that matter. Peri is reconstructed as coming from Proto-Indo-European per, "forward". The common slang term taint to describe the perineum emerged in the 1970s from the phrase 'taint your balls and 'taint your butt. Actually, there are a lot of words to describe as specific area an area as the perineum, including barse, bonch, chad, geish, gooch, grundle, guiche, nifkin, and notcher. They probably arose so much (and remained out of mainstream use) due to the inappropriate nature of the subject.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a sophomore studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.