- 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
- a wooden container, especially a wooden bowl, for storing or serving food or drink.
Origin of cootie2
1775–85; variant of Scots cood, of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cooty
"Cooty" would not have that, but calmly began to refill an empty magazine.
So far as I know, it is the only thing sold that will do the cooty in.
If it is possible to get a louse pomade called Harrison's in this country, send it, as it is a cooty killer.
"Cooty" was seen to go rigid for a moment, and then he quickly rolled to one side to make way for "Number Two" to take his place.
Poor "Cooty," who had lost his left foot as well, passed out shortly after, was a Guardsman at one time.
- US and NZ a slang name for the body louseAlso called (NZ): kutu See louse (def. 1)
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
Word Origin and History for cooty
"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