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[koot] /kut/
any aquatic bird of the genus Fulica, as F. americana, of North America, and F. atra, of the Old World, characterized by lobate toes and short wings and tail.
any of various other swimming or diving birds, especially the scoters.
Informal. a foolish or crotchety person, especially one who is old.
Origin of coot
1250-1300; Middle English cote; cognate with Dutch koet Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for coot
Historical Examples
  • Putt when Nature says "No further," then it is no coot snapping your fingers in her face.

    Strife (First Series Plays) John Galsworthy
  • He's as lonely as a coot; it's a thousand pities he ever lost his wife.

    Saint's Progress John Galsworthy
  • I hear the noise of a coot proceeding from the reeds of a pond.

  • Vit smoking, no; you cannot smok vat is coot; it is all pad togeder.

    The Red Man's Revenge R.M. Ballantyne
  • “Dinna lat him coot it off, Meester Stevey, sir,” he whispered.

    Steve Young George Manville Fenn
  • The nest and eggs of the coot are very like those of the common Moorhen.

    Egyptian Birds Charles Whymper
  • The coot (Fulica atra) is a rail which has taken thoroughly to the water.

    Jungle Folk Douglas Dewar
  • But there is no necessity to shoot the coot in order to identify it.

    Jungle Folk Douglas Dewar
  • The sportsman will enjoy no peace until he sacrifices a coot.

    Jungle Folk Douglas Dewar
  • “Then it was thou as coot the bands,” cried Joe, seizing him by the throat.

    The Parson O' Dumford George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for coot


any aquatic bird of the genus Fulica, esp F. atra of Europe and Asia, having lobed toes, dark plumage, and a white bill with a frontal shield: family Rallidae (rails, crakes, etc)
a foolish person, esp an old man (often in the phrase old coot)
Word Origin
C14: probably from Low German; compare Dutch koet
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
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Word Origin and History for coot

c.1300, cote, used for various water fowl (now limited to Fulica atra and, in North America, F. americana), of uncertain origin. Cf. Dutch meercoet "lake coot." Meaning "silly person, fool" is attested from 1766.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for coot



A stupid or silly person, usually an aged one: a harmless old coot (1760s+)

Related Terms

crazy as a loon

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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