so… when zach and i bought machetes (god, if i had a nickel for every time i wrote THAT sentence..) we learned that the leather sheath that it comes in is called a vaina. one evening a bit later, some friends (who are fluent in spanish) told us that the word vaina is sort of used for everything in the common vernacular and then proceeded to act it out which was really funny. in doing some research on vanilla just now i learned the origin of this excellent word. here it is:

Next to saffron and cardamom, vanilla is the worlds next most expensive spice. Growers are known to “brand” their beans with pin pricks before they can be harvested, to identify the owner and prevent theft. Vanilla is native to Mexico, where it is still grown commercially. Vanilla was used by the Aztecs for flavouring their royal drink xocolatl – a mixture of cocoa beans, vanilla and honey. Cortez brought vanilla back to Europe in the sixteenth century, after having observed Montezuma drinking the cocoa concoction. It has many non-culinary uses, including aromatizing perfumes, cigars and liqueurs. Europeans prefer to use the bean, while North Americans usually use the extract. Substances called “vanilla flavour” don’t contain vanilla at all, being synthesized from eugenol (clove oil), waste paper pulp, coal tar or ‘coumarin’, found in the tonka bean, whose use is forbidden in several countries. Ice cream producers are unlikely to point out that their most popular flavour derives its name from the Latin word vagina. For ancient Romans, vagina meant sheath or scabbard. The Spanish adopted the word as vaina, which developed a diminutive form, vainilla, meaning “little sheath”. The Spanish made this diminutive the name of the plant because its pods resemble sheaths.

there you go. it seems that the lady business is more important in the parlance of our times than we thought.