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[koo-ter] /ˈku tər/
Chiefly Southern U.S. any of several large aquatic turtles of the southern U.S. and northern Mexico.
Origin of cooter
1820-30; said to be < Bambara, Malinke kuta turtle (with related forms in other Niger-Congo languages); compare coot to copulate (of sea turtles), first attested in the Caribbean in 1667 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cooter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The cooter is the terrapin, and a very expert boatman he is.

    Letters of a Traveller William Cullen Bryant
  • A “cooter” is a box-tortoise, and the noun is turned into a verb with an ease characteristic of the mountaineers.

    Our Southern Highlanders Horace Kephart
Word Origin and History for cooter

name for some types of freshwater terrapin in southern U.S., 1835 (first attested 1827 in phrase drunk as a cooter, but this probably is a colloquial form of unrelated coot), from obsolete verb coot "to copulate" (1660s), of unknown origin. The turtle is said to copulate for two weeks at a stretch.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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