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or cooty

[koo-tee] /ˈku ti/
noun, plural cooties. Informal.
a louse, especially one affecting humans, as the body louse, head louse, or pubic louse.
a child's term for an imaginary germ or disease that one can catch by touching a person who is disliked or socially avoided:
The girls at camp thought the boys had cooties.
Origin of cootie1
1910-15; perhaps < Malay kutu biting body louse, with final syllable conformed to -ie


[koo-tee] /ˈku ti/
noun, plural cooties.
cootie1 .


or cooty

[koo-tee] /ˈku ti/
noun, Scot.
a wooden container, especially a wooden bowl, for storing or serving food or drink.
1775-85; variant of Scots cood, of uncertain origin


[koo-tee] /ˈku ti/
noun, plural cooties. Scot.
cootie2 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cooties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Ye might ask 'em to come down and help us pick the cooties off," said Chrisfield and followed in Andrews's wake.

    Three Soldiers John Dos Passos
  • One night, however, I discovered that I had been captured by "cooties."

    Outwitting the Hun Pat O'Brien
  • The time had come, I am glad to say, when we and the cooties, must forever part.

    In the Flash Ranging Service Edward Alva Trueblood
  • They were lucky to escape with their lives, their cooties and their appetites.

    The Iron Puddler James J. Davis
  • LIFE in the trenches is made up of "cooties," "rats," "mud" and "gas masks."

  • The various dopes and patent preparations guaranteed as "good for cooties" are just that.

    A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes
  • If only the "cooties" could have been destroyed in the same way, the Germans might have been forgiven many of their offenses.

    Inventions of the Great War A. Russell (Alexander Russell) Bond
  • Best of all, the bathing was fine, and it was possible to keep the cooties under control,—more or less.

    A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes
  • Nine-tenths of the cooties died from mortification and the other tenth from lonesomeness.

British Dictionary definitions for cooties


(US & NZ) a slang name for the body louse Also called (NZ) kutu See louse (sense 1)
Word Origin
C20: perhaps from Malay or Māori kutu louse
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 cooties

1917, see cootie.



"body lice," 1917, British World War I slang, earlier in nautical use, said to be from Malay kutu "dog tick."

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



A body louse

[WWI Army fr British; origin uncertain; perhaps fr Malay kutu, ''dog tick''; one study suggests London cockney slang as the source]

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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