Punani, an often-vulgar slang word for "vagina", originated from the 1980s Jamaican patois term punanny and was popularized through reggae and use on Da Ali G Show. Some think that the term comes from Hawaiian puanani, meaning "beautiful flower" (from pua, "blossom", and nani, "lovely"), but geographically speaking that's hard to buy. It's also been proposed is that it's from poon, another nickname for "vagina" and a shortening of poontang, which is a Haitian Creole corruption of French putain, "prostitute". Putain, through Old French pute, traces to Latin putus, meaning "pure" (this may have been influenced by putidus, "stinking"; also the source of Spanish puta). Finally, that would be from Proto-Indo-European pewh, which meant "to purify". It's often hard to find etymologies for such colloquial words, but both options are fascinating!
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior 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.