- (sometimes initial capital letter) a native or inhabitant of the East End district of London, England, traditionally, one born and reared within the sound of Bow bells.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) the pronunciation or dialect of cockneys.
- a pampered child.
- a squeamish, affected, or effeminate person.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) of or relating to cockneys or their dialect.
Origin of cockney
Examples from the Web for cockney
“Yes, I do,” he says with a Cockney accent so thick Judge Whitehead asks him to deliver his testimony while facing him.The Stacks: The Judas Priest Teen Suicide Trial
June 28, 2014
They have been in situ all week, with tents, Union Jacks, and lashings of cockney wisdom.Superfans Take Over Westminster Abbey
April 29, 2011
Characters in the soap Eastenders, which charts the lives of cockney Londoners, call their children Chelsea.Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry's Hard-Partying Royal Wedding Date
April 26, 2011
The punk movement started here, as did the infamous Cockney Rhyming Slang.Gal With a Suitcase
November 21, 2009
You listen to these Cockney fellows talking, and then you'll understand me.The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
Oddly enough, this last Cockney epigram clings to my memory.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
Geoff could almost have fancied there was a cockney twang about it.Great Uncle Hoot-Toot
There was a Cockney in that yarn, too, and a South Sea woman and a schooner.Cape Cod Stories
Joseph C. Lincoln
I am neither a Cockney, nor accustomed to listen to impertinence.Tony Butler
Charles James Lever
- (often capital) a native of London, esp of the working class born in the East End, speaking a characteristic dialect of English. Traditionally defined as someone born within the sound of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow church
- the urban dialect of London or its East End
- Australian a young snapper fish
- characteristic of cockneys or their dialect of English
Word Origin and History for cockney
c.1600, usually said to be from rare Middle English cokenei, cokeney "spoiled child, milksop" (late 14c.), originally cokene-ey "cock's egg" (mid-14c.). Most likely disentangling of the etymology is to start from Old English cocena "cock's egg" -- genitive plural of coc "cock" + æg "egg" -- medieval term for "runt of a clutch," extended derisively c.1520s to "town dweller," gradually narrowing thereafter to residents of a particular neighborhood in the East End of London. Liberman, however, disagrees:
[I]n all likelihood, not the etymon of ME cokeney 'milksop, simpleton; effeminate man; Londoner,' which is rather a reshaping of [Old French] acoquiné 'spoiled' (participle). However, this derivation poses some phonetic problems that have not been resolved.
The accent so called from 1890, but the speech peculiarities were noted from 17c. As an adjective in this sense, from 1630s.