- a common European bird, Cuculus canorus, of the family Cuculidae, noted for its characteristic call and its brood parasitism.
- any of several other birds of the family Cuculidae.
- the call of the cuckoo, or an imitation of it.
- Slang. a crazy, silly, or foolish person; simpleton.
- to utter the call of the cuckoo or an imitation of it.
- to repeat monotonously.
- Slang. crazy; silly; foolish.
- of, relating to, or like a cuckoo.
Origin of cuckoo
Examples from the Web for cuckoo
We understand—who would want to give up the angelic Keita, even if it means raising a cuckoo?The Oscar International Film Festival: ‘Stranger By the Lake’ and Foreign Films You Should Watch
February 2, 2014
She Said: Jace, their daughter was on the verge of another home invasion at the hands of Cuckoo Disfigured Larry.The Craziest Show on TV
Jace Lacob, Maria Elena Fernandez
November 7, 2011
The cuckoo clock struck nine, and Claude made a gesture of annoyance.His Masterpiece
Perhaps it was only the striking of the cuckoo clock in my room.The Woman Thou Gavest Me
When you get the cuckoo into the garden, build a wall round and keep it in.'A Son of Hagar</p>
Sir Hall Caine
For it's not I'll be the cuckoo to push you out, McMurrough, lad.The Wild Geese
Stanley John Weyman
Come, my cuckoo; here we are at the bottom of the valley; now or never.Hidden Hand</p>
Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth
- any bird of the family Cuculidae, having pointed wings, a long tail, and zygodactyl feet: order Cuculiformes. Many species, including the European cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and have a two-note call
- informal an insane or foolish person
- informal insane or foolish
- an imitation or representation of the call of a cuckoo
- (tr) to repeat over and over
- (intr) to make the sound imitated by the word cuckoo
Word Origin and History for cuckoo
mid-13c., from Old French cocu "cuckoo," also "cuckold," echoic of the male bird's mating cry (cf. Greek kokkyx, Latin cuculus, Middle Irish cuach, Sanskrit kokilas). Slang sense of "crazy" (adj.) is American English, 1918, but noun meaning "stupid person" is first recorded 1580s, perhaps from the bird's unvarying, oft-repeated call. The Old English name was geac, cognate with Old Norse gaukr, source of Scottish and northern English gowk. The Germanic words presumably originally were echoic, too, but had drifted in form. Cuckoo clock is from 1789.
Idioms and Phrases with cuckoo
see cloud-cuckoo land.