from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A pubic wig.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A wig; a tuft or portion of false hair added to the natural hair.
  • noun A mop used in cleaning cannon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Originally, a wig; afterwards, a mop for cleaning cannon.
  • noun A patch of false hair, or something resembling hair, worn on a string over the female pudenda; -- used by stripteasers.
  • noun slang The hair on the female pubic area.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun UK, slang, pejorative An American.
  • noun A woman's pubic wig. Worn for nude stage appearances and by women after shaving their pubic hair (originally to eliminate lice, etc.; now often as a fashion item).
  • noun A mop for cleaning cannon.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration of obsolete malkin, lower-class woman, mop, from Middle English, from Malkin, diminutive of the name Matilda.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the similar pronunciation to American.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1617, probably a variant form of malkin.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word merkin.


  • When I first heard the word merkin, I thought it had something to do with mermaids and mermen, all fresh fish below the waist.

    In the Fullness of Time Emily W. Upham 2010

  • Available in all colors, the merkin is the perfect way to hide those little imperfections.

    Pubic Hair Dye aka TBTAM 2008

  • A "merkin" is a pubic wig that has been around for centuries.

    Pubic Hair Dye aka TBTAM 2008

  • On the 1967 Chess LP The Baroques by the Milwaukee band of the same name, the word "merkin" is heard in the song "Bicycle."

    Archive 2007-11-01 Ann Althouse 2007

  • For the use of men they have the "merkin," [FN#410] a heart-shaped article of thin skin stuffed with cotton and slit with an artificial vagina: two tapes at the top and one below lash it to the back of a chair.

    Arabian nights. English Anonymous 1855

  • Toupee that masks a bad or excessive waxing job (popularly known as a "merkin").

    the latest from 2010

  • Friend: speaking of murking, did you know that a "merkin" is a vaginal wig

    The Clog 2009

  • Loved the 'merkin' SAT word: -). www.

    Advertising Age - Homepage 2009

  • He should have thought of that before he got his hair cut like a Frankie Cocozza merkin.

    This week's new singles 2011

  • "There was a lot of discussion that went into my merkin for the movie, because I was naked quite a lot," she said.

    Rooney Mara Naked, Merkin Details For 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' 2011


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  • 1. An artificial covering of hair for the female pubic region; a pubic wig for women. Also: an artificial vagina.

    2. slang in later use. The female genitals (obsolete).

    3. malkin (obsolete). Usage: 1802 C. JAMES New Mil. Dict., "Merkin, a mop to clean cannon."

    February 16, 2007

  • Ha! Isn't it also Australian slang for "American"? Might be spelled differently.


    Too Lazy To Google

    May 18, 2007

  • I thought that was "mercan"? ;-)

    May 19, 2007

  • "female pudenda," 1535, apparently a variant of malkin (q.v.) in its sense of "mop." Meaning "artificial vagina or 'counterfeit hair for a woman's privy parts' " is attested from 1617. According to "The Oxford Companion to the Body," the custom of wearing merkins dates from c.1450, was associated with prostitutes, and was to disguise either pubic hair shaved off to exterminate body lice or evidence of venereal disease.

    September 20, 2007

  • sashamd, I think you may appreciate a visit to the firkin page. :-)

    September 20, 2007

  • *is horrified to note that she is the one who added the definition in the first place*

    July 11, 2008

  • "Ah'm proud to be a merkin."

    --George W. Bush, as quoted on the TV show QI.

    July 11, 2008

  • HA! (I've called him worse, though...)

    July 11, 2008

  • That's made my weekend already.

    July 12, 2008

  • Also: an artificial vagina.

    Oh, this obsessive distinction between nature and nurture.

    July 12, 2008

  • toupee of Venus.

    October 21, 2008

  • Love your Google Ads, John.

    Effective solutions for M or F, huh? What about the rest of the hairy alphabet?


    No more pubic hair. Ever.

    Maintain the smooth look and feel.

    Safe effective solution for M or F

    October 21, 2008

  • *thinks about an hairy alphabet, delighted*

    October 21, 2008

  • Hairy Ss are especially annoying. ;-)

    October 21, 2008

  • But not hairy U-s ("Fine, thanks! You?).

    October 21, 2008

  • AAAND it's back from the 16th century, everyone!

    November 28, 2009

  • That's firkin great!

    December 1, 2009