The first attestation of the word condom dates back to the early seventeenth century writings of Scottish noble John Hamilton, who spelled it condum. Shortly afterwards, other spellings like condon, condam, quandam, cundum, and eventually condom emerged; it was also often bowdlerised into c----- or something along those lines. There was a lot of secrecy around the word throughout its history - it wasn't used in media until the late 1980s and it was absent from the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary - and partially due to the lack of confirmed usages it's difficult to trace an exact etymology. There's an urban myth that it was named after a British court physician, but far more plausible is another theory that the term traces to the Italian word for "glove", guanto. It's probably impossible to ever know for sure, though.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.