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1706, traditionally named for a British physician during reign of Charles II (a story traceable to 1709), but there is no evidence for that. Also spelled condam, quondam, which suggests it may be from Italian guantone, from guanto "a glove." A word omitted in the original OED (c.1890) and not used openly in the U.S. and not advertised in mass media until November 1986 speech by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop on AIDS prevention. Cf. prophylactic.
condom con·dom (kŏn'dəm)
A flexible sheath, usually made of thin rubber or latex, designed to cover the penis or vagina during sexual intercourse for contraceptive purposes or as a means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
A similar device, consisting of a loose-fitting polyurethane sheath closed at one end, that is inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse.
contraceptive device consisting of a sheath that fits over the penis and that is intended to prevent the escape of semen into the vagina. It is made of very thin, flexible rubber or a rubberlike plastic (latex). The condom has long been used as protection against venereal infections and other sexually transmitted diseases, and by the 17th century it was utilized as a contraceptive as well. Early condoms were generally made of animal gut or fish membrane and were often inefficient. Legend is confused on the origin of the term condom-one story telling of a man named Condom devising such a contraceptive for Charles II of England. Since the 1840s most condoms have been made of vulcanized rubber or, since the 1930s, of latex. At first they were usually washable but now are generally disposable and slightly lubricated. Efficient, convenient, but still disliked for its dulling of physical sensation, the condom fails mainly because of irregular use. It is an effective form of protection against a broad range of sexually transmitted diseases. See contraception.