Recently, while reading the Wikipedia page on feminist language reform, I stumbled across a fascinating instance in Swedish. Apparently, prior to the 2000s, there were no casual yet appropriate words for vagina in the language; all previous names for it were either vulgar or extremely formal medical terms. People just referred to female private parts by alluding to them, preferring to not discuss such matters if it could be helped. At the turn of the century, however, social worker Anna Kosztovics introduced the word snippa, which was a feminine version of the existing word snopp (roughly translating to "willy"), meant to sound more innocent and less sexual or inappropriate. She promoted it by visiting different nurseries, and it took off, reaching widespread usage, especially after going viral in an educational Swedish cartoon about genitalia. In 2008, snippa was officially added to the dictionary by the Swedish Academy, cementing its place as one of the most successful examples of anti-misogynistic language change.
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.