Opposite of phallic?

It seems we see phallic symbols almost daily, but something stumped me. My girlfriend was talking about the art of Georgia O’Keeffe and how alot of it resembles a vagina in some way or other, and I realized that there is no word that I know which means “resembling a vagina.” So, dopers, what is the femenine counterpart to “phallic?”

“yonic”. It’s fairly obscure, and it’s not the opposite of “phallic”. The opposite of “phallic” is “non-phallic”.

I know it’s not correct, but I offer vaginalia

The word you’re looking for is ‘vulvar’.

vulvar works, but the vaginal analog to phallic is, as ultra posted, yonic.

Then shouldn’t the opposite of “yonic” be “lingamic” or something? Why is a Hindu term that’s in fairly limited use as far as I’ve ever seen the opposite of “phallic”? How about “vaginal”?

‘Labial’ would be more analogous to ‘phallic’ than ‘vaginal’ since we’re dealing with outward shape and not necessarily the function of the organ.


All the words mentioned do indeed have something to do with the female genitalia. However, ‘phallic,’ in modern usage, is a term used in psychology. And the complement of ‘phallic,’ used commonly in the the psych biz, is ‘vulvar.’ It refers to the externally visible female genitalia (thereby complementary to phallic) and the mental attitudes related to them.


Well, you’re very, very wrong.

Just do a Google search for ‘phallic’ and you’ll find most references to phallic in the context of “hey, it looks like an erect penis.”

I’ll agree that ‘vulvar’ is just as good an analogue to ‘phallic’ as ‘labial’ is. However, I can’t find one single cite of ‘vulvar’ in the psychological coinage. Could you please provide a cite? Thanks.


Since the OP asked the question in the context of Georgia O’Keefe’s art, I think “yonic” is the best answer. The reason: artists who paint in that O’Keefian style overwhelmingly prefer *yoni* to describe their focus, and in my forays in the arts world I have never seen “vulvar” used to describe this style of art. It’s always “yoni.”

Camel’s Hoof?

“fairly” obscure?

I vote for coochy-esque.

Hmmm, I’m starting to think about new age music for some reason… :smiley:

How long before this thread converges with the camel toe one?

I vote for "vestibular"

Relevant link

(The adjective form’s in the dictionary too, but it has non-useful definitions like “pertaining to a vestibule”)

Vestibular and vulvar are both from Latin, while phallic is from Greek. If you object to using a Sanskrit word as parallel to the Greek one, how is Latin any better? To satisfy the hobgoblin of consistency, you would need to come up with a Greek word. Strangely, the classical Greek language seems to lack a word for the yoni. When the Greeks talked about it, they used other words metaphorically: either kolpos = ‘inlet’ or kteis = ‘comb’. (“Comb”? :confused: Huh?) So you could coin your own Greek-based adjectives, either colpic or cteic.

I still go with yonic, as it’s the term that’s already won acceptance from those who care about the subject. A Google search brings up 5,510 hits for “yonic.” The second and third hits right off the search page tell us, and I quote:

Word: “yonic”.
Short Definition: the opposite of phallic.

yonic. Andrew Van Schaack writes: … The feminine counterpart of phallic
is doughnutish. No, just kidding. There really is a word, and it is yonic.


Didn’t they have a word…umm, I saw it written in Greek characters and looked them up to see how it would sound, so this may not be how others would transliterate it into our alphabet, but kophon with both o’s as long o’s. (I saw it w/reference to ancient female fecundity carvings that were being compared to the [URL=“http://www.pantheon.org/areas/gallery/mythology/europe/celtic/sheila-na-gig.jpg"]"shiela-na-gig”[/ULR] images found elsewhere).

So, kophonic?