[Image is a picture of a necklace but that isn’t really important at this stage.]
My post below is really long and is about the usage and etymology of words like ‘yonic’, ‘phallic’, ‘penis’, ‘vagina’, &c. You have been warned.
What’s the opposite of phallic ?
Though not nearly as common in use, “yonic” is the word for that.
I’m pretty sure that can’t be right. ”Phallic” comes from “phallus,” via Latin and Greek (which eventually evolved into “penis”), whereas “yonic” would come from “yoni,” which is Sanskrit. The Latin counterpart to “phallus” is “vagina,” which hasn’t changed in modern English, while the Sanskrit counterpart to “yoni” is “lingham.” It’s highly doubtful that the appropriate descriptive counterpart would come from a completely different language, meaning the correct (albeit somewhat sillier-sounding) counterpart would probably be “vaginic.”
Actually, it would work perfectly well with Sanskrit. Sanskrit is Indo-European just like Latin is. Nothing wrong with that.
Your argument seems to be that it’s illogical for the antonym of an English word with a Greek root to be an English word with a Sanskrit root, therefore this cannot be (or at least is unlikely to be) correct. This relies on an unstated assumption that English is logical. As to which: rofl.
Secondly, I’m no linguist, but I’m fairly certain that what makes something an English word is its usage in English by speakers and writers of English. If it’s used (to a certain threshold, about which I dare say there’s room for disagreement) to mean a thing, then it’s the word for that thing, regardless of logic or consistency.
I hadn’t heard ‘yonic’ before this post, but Wikitionary cites two examples from ordinary use, and a quick google reveals many more (for example, this online dictionary of literary terms, this published work on literary writing, and indeed the very subtitle of this published book about English words and etymology). Whereas a google of ‘vaginic’ reveals almost no examples of the word being used in the way you propose.
Of course this doesn’t stop you arguing that ‘yonic’ shouldn’t be the corresponding term to ‘phallic’ and that ‘vaginic’ should be, but I think it more or less does stop you credibly arguing that yonic isn’t the word.
But even by your own logic, ‘vaginic’ should definitely not be the corresponding word to ‘phallic’.
‘Phallic’ doesn’t come from Latin. There is a Latin word ‘phallicus’ but it means a line of verse that goes long-short-long-short-long-anceps. There is also a Latin word ‘phallus’ but it’s extremely rare and is used to mean exactly the same thing as the Greek word ‘phallos’.
The Greek word ‘phallos’ does not mean ‘penis’. It means a ritual image of a penis. There are various ancient Greek words for an actual, non-symbolic penis (the most common is ‘peos’), but ‘phallos’ is not one of them.
(Also, the Latin word ‘penis’ does not derive from ‘phallos’. The two words are completely unconnected. And the idea that ‘phallos’ ‘eventually evolved into “penis”’ is not only wrong but makes no historical sense because ancient Greek and Latin were contemporary languages, and how can a word from one of language ‘eventually evolve’ into a different word in another language that is being spoken at the same time? But I digress.)
Now, consistently with the meaning of ‘phallos’, the core meaning of the English word ‘phallic’ is ‘symbolic of a penis’. Not ‘like a penis’ or ‘resembling a penis’ (though those are nowadays more popular usages) but ‘symbolizing a penis’ (especially in a ritual context).
So to find (according to your own logic) the word that ought to correspond to ‘phallic’, you need to find a root in ancient Greek, not in Latin (because ‘phallic’ comes from Greek and not from Latin), and that root needs to mean not ‘vagina’ but ‘image of a vagina’ (preferably ‘ritual image of a vagina’).
But even if the correct language were Latin and not Greek, and even if the correct root were a word meaning ‘vagina’ and not a word meaning ‘image of a vagina’, your theory would still founder on one final but rather jagged rock: ‘vagina’ is not the Latin word for ‘vagina’. It’s the Latin word for ‘scabbard’ or ‘sheath’. It was occasionally used by Plautus as a sexual euphemism… for the anus. It was never used, even metaphorically, to mean the vagina. The word for a vagina was ‘cunnus’.
(The word for a penis, in case you’re wondering, was ‘mentula’, although the word ‘penis’, which literally means a tail, was sometimes used metaphorically to mean a penis. And yes, it is a mildly interesting fact that the Latin word for a penis is feminine and the Latin word for a vagina is masculine.)
So the word is actually ‘cunnic’. Except that it isn’t, because it’s a word derived from ancient Greek rather than Latin and its root is a word meaning ‘image of a vagina’ rather than ‘vagina’. Except that it isn’t, because none of those words is used in English, whereas ‘yonic’ plainly is.
Which is appropriate, actually, because from what I gather ‘yoni’ also means a ritual image of a vagina.
Sources (in no particular order):
The Oxford Latin dictionary (combined edition, reprinted with corrections 1996);
Liddell & Scott, A Greek-English lexicon (searchable on Perseus);
Lewis & Short, A Latin dictionary (searchable on Perseus);
Adams, The Latin sexual vocabulary (1982, Duckworth).