The history of 'slut'

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More than 500 years before Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut,” Geoffrey Chaucer used a form of the word to describe an “untidy man” in "The Canterbury Tales." “Why is thy lord so sluttish, I thee pray, And is of power better clothes to bey,” he wrote in the 14th century poem.

But in the ensuing centuries, the would come to take on different meanings – and much more provocative ones, as Limbaugh’s crude use of the word reminds. (Photo: Alex Wong for Getty)

According to what linguist Lisa Sutherland told the BBC, the noun “slut” was first used in 1402 by Thomas Hoccleve, in much the same way Chaucer used the related adjective. In his “The Letter of Cupid,” Hoccleve refers to “the foulest slutte in al a town.”...

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