How exactly did the myth originate? Did anyone actually believe it?

I’m interested about the origins of the myth and whether people claimed to see the horns, similar to the idea of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Also, is there any relationship between that story and the myth?

Uh, krish? What myth?

AFAIK, “cuckold” is a good old Anglo-Saxon word for a man whose wife is unfaithful. Is there a myth associated with this? Why do I feel like I came in in the middle of a conversation?

If man was meant to fly faster than the speed of sound
he would have been born with 50,000 pounds of thrust.

Woops… I never finished the subject. It should have read Cuckold myth. IIRC, the myth is that a cuckold has a horn on his forehead that only others can see.

Sounds like more of an expression than a myth, along the lines of … when someone talks about you it will feel like your ears are burning.
“Your wife’s sleepin around!”
“No she ain’t!”
“Yeah she is, it’s written all over yer face an ya can’t see it!”

That sort of thing. But there might be some mythological origin I don’t know of.

Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.

  • Boris Badenov

It appears in Shakespeare’s works.

“the cuckold to his horn”All’s Well That Ends Well

“like an old cuckold, with horns on his head”Much Aso About Nothing

I am just curious to know about its origins, whether people actually believed it, etc.

In England, when you would castrate a rooster (but keep it around so that you could have capon later) you would cut off his spurs and sew them onto its head, on either side of its comb. I believe it was so you could tell the breeders at a glance. The analogy with a husband who is no longer the main cock in the barnyard was obvious.

Oh, God, how disgusting!

Was it just an expression? I was under the impression that this was a myth.

      • I dunno nothing about the myth.
  • The present day usage of the word seems limited to describing men who are not the father of their wives’ children. (in other words, just cheatin’ ain’t enough) - MC

For reasons that would take too long to explain, this remark got me thinking that we could invent a new mass psychosis. If that sounds like a fun project for us to do, here’s how it works…

Tell people that Bill Clinton (or some suitable target – we can vote) actually has small devil horns. However, because they’re devil horns, you can only see them with your peripheral vision. If you look right at him, you can’t see them.

I’m sure that if you printed this in, say, the National Enquirer, it would quickly catch on.

Incidentally, I believe this process would work better on a target who has a full head of hair.

I like T.C.'s idea. Lets pick one of the presidential candidates, and see if we can make him lose :smiley: . It won’t be as much fun if we don’t alter the course of history.

It is too clear, and so it is hard to see.

Do we have a useful contact at the National Enquirer, or some similarly august publication? (Actually, this “devil’s horns” thing sounds more like a Weekly World News item, but I’d like to be a bit more upscale than that, if possible.)

Hey, Nickrz, do subversive plots go under GQ? :wink:


Do this with Bush.
I don’t think that a man should be able to blatantly buy his way into the Presidency. I definitely do not like the fact that we don’t know who has given him money.

Devil horns. Sounds good.


A cover of “Time” magazine some years ago had a photo of the Prez’s face, and the way it was placed (under the “M” in “TIME”) you could actually visualize he had horns.

It got a few humorous snickers for the week that it was out, then was forgotten.

Getting back on topic, was the horn reference to a cuckold merely an expression?

The reason I still think it is a myth is because it was alleged that the cuckold could not see his horn. Only other people could see them.

I think it is an expression. I did find one reference (in Barbara Walker’s Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets to “medieval folk [thinking] it might be possible for human beings to grow real horns on their heads for a variety of reasons…” Cuckolding was mentioned as one of those reasons. Still, this could hardly have been a wide-spread myth. After all, how many people do you see walking around with horns?

The thing about the cuckold being unable to see his own horn actually supports the expression-only theory, IMO. After all, the husband is always the last to know, right?


Full of 'satiable curtiosity

Sometimes the husband is the first to know and the last to care.

In my country, when your SO is cheating on you, we say that he/she is “poniéndote los cuernos”, or “putting horns on you”.

Sounds to me that Dr.F is right (as usual). I will have to do some research now.

From :


A man whose wife has committed adultery. Said to be an allusion to the cuckoo bird’s habit of laying it’s eggs in the nests of
other birds, to be raised by the other birds as their own.

More later.