Where Did Boob Come From?

A lot of the words we use on a regular basis have mysterious or obscure beginnings, and even though there are a great many obsessive fans of the most popular female body part–the breasts–you might have trouble finding someone who really knows where the accompanying favorite word “boob” actually came from or how it stuck. So why do we use the word boob in place of breasts? Is it just because we like to sound less scientific when we’re in the bedroom or hanging out with friends, and boob sounds more light-hearted and fun? Well, here’s what we know for sure about where the word “boob” came from (and it’s not much).

First, you might want to note that not all cultures sexualize a woman’s breasts. We hide much of the female form behind clothing (or at least some overbearing male figures–i.e. Politicians, law practice software fans and old people–try to force women to do so). If we didn’t, then perhaps people would find less appeal in a woman’s breasts. Thus does the “free the nipple” campaign exist. Although there are plenty of women who have no trouble staring at a guy’s chest, the male form isn’t nearly as sexualized. It depends mostly on where you live.

In the sixteenth century, new insults cropped up (let’s face it, new insults crop up no matter when you live). If you really wanted to insult your neighbor’s taste in farming technique, you might refer to him as a boob or booby. The words were basically synonymous with the word “stupid” but hardly an insult that would rock someone’s world. Where people got the words is still up for debate. Perhaps boob is loosely derived from the Latin word for “stammering”, “balbus.” Balbus was the primary reason that the Spanish found the word “bobo”, which also means stupid. It isn’t so far-fetched to think that perhaps the archaic use for boob comes from the Spanish word bobo.

Maybe that’s not where it comes from, though.

As far as we know, the earliest use of the word boob meaning breast graced Henry Miller’s Tropic of cancer. The famous line is as follows: “She was lying on the ground with her boobies in her hands.” Interesting.

There has to be more to it, though. Right?

Right you are. The Latin word for “little girl” is puppa. From puppa came the German word “bubbi.” From bubbi came the English word “bubby.” The word “bubby” started in the late seventeenth century as slang. So the word “boob” most likely comes from the Latin word that meant “little girl.” Aren’t you glad you’re informed now? Now when you call someone a boob, you know that you’re also potentially insulting masculinity, gender identity, and maturity! Good job!

The Most Famous “Boobs” Of All Time

You probably won’t be too hard pressed to find a guy who loves boobs–but then again gender and sexuality may have nothing to do with their mysterious allure. Luckily for those of us who love them to death, it’s just as easy to find a pair of famous boobs that suffered from the TV nip slip, enjoyed the Playboy treatment, or were the subject of an erotic Hollywood movie masterpiece. Then again, it’s not always about the real-life experience. The naked form is a permanent part of popular culture in the form of famous art. So what are the most famous boobs of all time? Here are just a few of our favorite pairs!

The famous painter Botticelli graced us all with an artistic peek at the most elusive parts of Venus’s body. We’ll be forever grateful for the fantasy.

Sometimes you can’t always get what you’re after, and such is the case with Jayne Mansfield. Her cleavage was widely sought after at the time, and the dresses she wore catered to her male fans.

Take a look at Bettie Page, and you’ll be mesmerized for one reason or another. Her form offers a stark difference to the typical Hollywood fare, but it never hurt her beauty even a little bit.

Brigitte Bardot was an icon in the ‘50s because she wasn’t afraid to bare it all. Because of this rare degree of exhibitionism for the time period, she acquired a number of fans both at home and abroad, and her career in film took off quickly.

Who wouldn’t want to take a gander at the form of Wonder Woman? We’re talking about the Wonder Woman of the ‘70s during a budding era of sexuality and exposure, not today’s form. One of the first female superheroes generated a lot of buzz at the time because of her revealing costumes, and the actresses who were lucky enough to play her exposed a lot of skin as well–making her just as popular with men as she was with women.

In the 1982 movie Fast Times, Phoebe Cates did a bit of showing off, garnering her the attention of, well, everyone who enjoys the female form. She would have been only nineteen years old at the time, and she already looked pretty young in the first place. We can only imagine that she was fending off pervy old men for quite a while thereafter.

You know the name Dolly Parton, and while she’s famous for a lot of reasons, her boobs are definitely among the top few. They’re large and bouncy and much loved by a great many fans.

In stark contrast to why we love Dolly, Kate Moss proves that you don’t necessarily have to have the biggest pair to have the biggest following. She was a jaw-dropping sight on the runway, and she had men drooling for years.