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When I was a child, my grandmother referred to down there as "pit-tow" (I never saw it written, this is just how I'd write it based on how she said it). She didn't speak French, but her parents grew up in French Canada.

I found the terms "pissou" and "petit fond". I don't know how realistic, linguistically, it is that their pronunciations "pissow" or "pteefo" turned into "pit-tow" within one generation, nor do I know whether these terms were common in Quebec in the early 20th century.

  • One point that no one has made yet is that the word petit is often pronounced ptee. Therefore, the term probably included the word petit. This ptee is even more pronounced in Canadian French and regional mainland French. Also, in English, the non-slang word you need is probably for the entire area and not the term you have posted which is only part of it. – Lambie Sep 1 at 16:01
  • Hi, can you please confirm you chose "tow" arbitrarily and you could have chosen "toe" just as well i.e. the final part of the word sounds like this... or rather like this? Also, any specific reason why you chose to have the "t" sound with both components i.e. why not "pee-toe"? – 0ne1 Sep 2 at 0:25
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    @personne tow vs. tow was arbitrary, it sounds more like your "tot" link. Not "pee-toe" because the i is short as in tin, not long as in teen. I didn't write pittow without the dash because that could sound like butter in the middle but there was an emphasis on the tow, like in behold. – Fleshman Sep 2 at 22:13
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The word must have been pissou.

Pissou is a colloquial word for a "wee", a "tinkle", mostly used with children. (From the French pisse → pee). But it is also used to designate the genital parts, male and female (wiktionnaire). Not very commonly used that way though in France nowadays (I don't know about Québec).

In this sentence it is used in a book about child's psychiatry in a way of talking that addresses children:

.. se toucher le « pissou », cela le fait grandir jusque par terre, et après on ne peut plus marcher (Jean-Louis Lang - 1978)

For fun (only) L’association pour la réhabilitation du mot "Pissou".

How your grandmother turned it into "pit-tow" is hard to say but it sounds possible to me. Both /t/ and /s/ are voiceless alveolar consonants in French and on top of that pronounced by someone who did not master all the French sounds.

As an aside, note that un pissou in Québec French is also colloquial for a coward. Some say that it derives from the English "peasoup", but and others from the fact that a child who urinates is bed used to be called un pissou (or pisseux according to regions).

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It’s a strange use, as I think she must had used the word pitou (pit-tow)

Which could be based off as pitounne, that can be used as a word to describe a beautiful women in Quebecois, but not her intimate part.

A note for pitou, if you check a dictionnary it would refer a synonym of the word dog, but in a slang use, in example a bar in Quebec, You could hear that word from a women to a men; ´Calme toi pitou’; there the meaning is a to calm down, as a pitou is seen like a dog that try to swing any other dog around.

It’s maybe a wrong word to describe her intimate part, but as you can see the word pitou got a strong indirect meaning

A word near pitou is minou, which could be used in Quebecois to pinpoint a vulva; ex; ‘Elle ma montree son minou..’.

  • @personne bien d’accord. Je pense qu’il nous manque des details pour mieux repondre. Qui c’est, peut-etre meme c’est du parler plus acadien/bleuet, plus difficile a comprendre a une oreille pas habituer. – yagmoth555 - GoFoundMe Monica Sep 2 at 2:11
  • @yagmoth555 I added details about the pronunciation in the comments to the OP – Fleshman Sep 2 at 22:14
  • @Fleshman with pit-tow I guessed pitou, which is spelled like pit-tou, so near what you said, but check the link there to know if it really sound near the word she used, and let me know if different, will edit my answer – yagmoth555 - GoFoundMe Monica Sep 3 at 2:15

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