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noun, plural (especially collectively) cod, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) cods.
  1. any of several soft-rayed food fishes of the family Gadidae, especially Gadus morhua, of cool, North Atlantic waters.
  2. a closely related fish, Gadus macrocephalus, of the North Pacific.
  3. any of several unrelated fishes, as rockfishes of the genus Sebastes.

Origin of cod1

1325–75; Middle English origin uncertain


  1. Slang: Vulgar. testicle.

Origin of cod2

before 1000; Middle English; Old English codd; akin to Old Norse koddi pillow


  1. Cape. Cape Cod.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cods

Historical Examples

  • And a little happiness will do more than all the cods in Hammerfest!

    Hopes and Fears

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • The Cods represented the interests of the powerful burgher corporations.

    History of Holland

    George Edmundson

  • This Lupus marinus or Lycostomus is often taken by our seamen wch fish for cods I haue had diuers brought mee.

  • A cart load of cods weighed by means of a double steel yard, one below and suspended from the other.

  • The Cods follow them as the bloodhound follows his prey, and their compact masses literally line the shores.

British Dictionary definitions for cods


noun plural cod or cods
  1. any of the gadoid food fishes of the genus Gadus, esp G. morhua (or G. callarias), which occurs in the North Atlantic and has a long body with three rounded dorsal fins: family Gadidae . They are also a source of cod-liver oil
  2. any other fish of the family GadidaeSee gadid
  3. Australian any of various unrelated Australian fish, such as the Murray cod

Word Origin

C13: probably of Germanic origin; compare Old High German cutte


  1. British and US dialect a pod or husk
  2. an obsolete word for scrotum
  3. obsolete a bag or envelope

Word Origin

Old English codd husk, bag; related to Old Norse koddi, Danish kodde


verb cods, codding or codded (tr)
  1. British and Irish slang to make fun of; tease
  2. British and Irish slang to play a trick on; fool
  1. British and Irish slang a hoax or trick
  2. Irish slang a fraud; hoaxerhe's an old cod
adjective (prenominal)
  1. British slang mock; shamcod Latin

Word Origin

C19: perhaps from earlier cod a fool, perhaps shortened from codger


  1. Northern English dialect a fellow; chaphe's a nice old cod

Word Origin

of unknown origin


  1. Cape Cod See Cape Cod


abbreviation for
  1. cash on delivery
  2. (in the US) collect on delivery
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cods



large sea fish, mid-14c. (late 13c. in a surname, Thomas cotfich), of unknown origin; despite similarity of form it has no conclusive connection to the widespread Germanic word for "bag" (e.g. Old English codd, preserved in codpiece). Cod-liver oil known since at least 1610s, was recommended medicinally since 1783, but not popular as a remedy until after 1825.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cods in Culture


An abbreviation for “cash on delivery” or “collect on delivery.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.