Clitoris

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The clitoris is a sexual organ that is present only in female mammals. In humans, the visible button-like portion is located near the anterior junction of the labia minora, above the opening of the urethra and vagina. Unlike the penis, which is homologous to the clitoris, the clitoris does not contain the distal portion of the urethra. The only known exception to this is in the Spotted Hyena. In this species, the urogenital system is unique in that the female urinates, mates and gives birth via an enlarged, erectile clitoris, known as a pseudo-penis.[1]

In humans, the clitoris is the most sensitive erogenous zone of the female, the stimulation of which may produce sexual excitement and clitoral erection; its continuing stimulation may produce sexual pleasure in the female and orgasm, and is considered the key to females' sexual pleasure.[2][3]

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Pronunciation and etymology

The word is pronounced /ˈklɪtərɨs/ ( listen) or /klɨˈtɔərɨs/  ( listen). The plural forms are clitorises in English and clitorides in Latin. In slang, it is sometimes abbreviated as clit, which originated in the 1950s. The OED suggests that the pronunciation /ˈklaɪtɒrɪs/) is also used in the UK, and gives the likely etymology as coming from the Greek κλειτορίς, kleitoris, perhaps derived from the verb κλείειν, kleiein, to shut. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the etymology of this diminutive is uncertain. Possible etymological candidates are a Greek word meaning "key", "latch", "hook"; a Greek verb meaning "to touch or titillate lasciviously", "to tickle" (the clitoris is called in German slang der Kitzler, "the tickler"), although this verb is more likely derived from "clitoris"; and a Greek word meaning "side of a hill", from the same root as "climax".[4] Its Latin genitive is clitoridis, as in "glans clitoridis".

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