coon's age

[ koonz-eyj ]

  1. a long time: I haven't seen you in a coon's age!

Origin of coon's age

An Americanism dating back to 1835–45; coon (in the sense “raccoon”) + age (from the folk belief that raccoons are long-lived)

usage note For coon's age

Coon is a shortened form of raccoon. Although a wild raccoon survives only 2 or 3 years on average, the phrase coon's age arose from the mistaken belief that these animals can live a long time. We still use the similar expression donkey's years, but coon's age has declined in use because coon is also a highly insulting term used to refer to a Black person.

Words Nearby coon's age Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for coon's age

coon's age

  1. US slang a long time

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with coon's age

coon's age

Also, a dog's age. A very long time, as in I haven't seen Sam in a coon's age, or It's been a dog's age since I went to the ballpark. The first phrase rests on the mistaken idea that raccoons (“coons”) live a long time. The variant may reflect a similar assumption but the true origin is not known. [c. 1835] Also see donkey's years.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.