Programming language Coq wants to change its name for obvious reasons

Programming language Coq wants to change its name for obvious reasons Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (

Programming language Coq is looking to rebrand due to sounding like the English slang term for a certain male anatomy body part.

Coq is a dependently-typed functional programming language first created by Gérard Huet and Thierry Coquand. The development of Coq has been supported since 1984 by INRIA, École Polytechnique, University of Paris-Sud, Paris Diderot University, and CNRS.

However, the name of the language and its association with the male anatomy has supposedly put some people off participating in the language’s development.

Almost three decades on, Coq’s project wiki – last updated on Friday – says that it’s looking to change the name.

“This similarity [with the male anatomy slang term] has already led to some women turning away from Coq and others getting harassed when they said they were working on Coq,” the project wiki, last updated on Friday, claims. “It also makes some English conversations about Coq with lay persons simply more difficult.”

Many suggested alternative names have continued to be problematic.

The Latin word for rooster, gallus, was rejected for sounding too much like phallus. “Cocon”, suggested as the French word for cocoon, was rejected for similar reasons as “con” was formerly used as French slang for a part of the female anatomy and is now commonly used as an insult.

Coqi sounds like it could have potential, right? With the added “i” standing for induction, the mathematical proof technique? Nope, Coqi apparently sounds like “коки” in Russian which is slang for another feature of the male anatomy.

Before we start thinking every suggestion is going to somehow be linked to genitals in the vast and ever-growing slang vocabularies of at least one language, the suggestion of “Coquand” is proving to be a fairly popular option. The name doesn’t stray too far from the original while removing the direct problematic association and paying homage to one of the original creators, Thierry Coquand.

Personally, I think adopt Coquand and just embrace a naming convention for versions. We need more humour in the world, however juvenile. Bring on the Coquand ‘Balls’ release.

(Photo by Ashes Sitoula on Unsplash)

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3 comments on “Programming language Coq wants to change its name for obvious reasons

  1. Henri de Feraudy on

    Thierry Coquand and Gérad Huet are extremely smart guys. This language goes far beyond just functional programming: it’s an interactive theorem prover.
    How about CConstr for a new name, as its about the calculus of constructions.

  2. Paras Parmar on

    Well, that is really unfortunate, these days something as simple as a hen or a cock has deeper implications that push people away for something no one intends to do.. It seems our language is filling up with terms we are now simply not allowed to use.

    Otherwise inoffensive terms that have acquired negative connotations because someone somewhere could’nt think of a good name are:
    Left vs Right
    Woke vs Sleep
    Straight vs Gay vs Queer
    Homo vs Hetero
    Male vs Female
    Boy vs Girl
    Sir vs Madam
    If this goes on much longer, I think we will not be left with any words that donot offend no or in the future.

    Ok, ok! Finally getting back to the topic at hand, how about renaming the language to CQ “see Q”


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