• synonyms


  1. any aquatic bird of the genus Fulica, as F. americana, of North America, and F. atra, of the Old World, characterized by lobate toes and short wings and tail.
  2. any of various other swimming or diving birds, especially the scoters.
  3. Informal. a foolish or crotchety person, especially one who is old.
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Origin of coot

1250–1300; Middle English cote; cognate with Dutch koet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coot

Historical Examples of coot

  • Putt when Nature says "No further," then it is no coot snapping your fingers in her face.

    Strife (First Series Plays)

    John Galsworthy

  • He's as lonely as a coot; it's a thousand pities he ever lost his wife.

    Saint's Progress

    John Galsworthy

  • I hear the noise of a coot proceeding from the reeds of a pond.

  • Vit smoking, no; you cannot smok vat is coot; it is all pad togeder.

    The Red Man's Revenge

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • “Dinna lat him coot it off, Meester Stevey, sir,” he whispered.

    Steve Young

    George Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for coot


  1. any aquatic bird of the genus Fulica, esp F. atra of Europe and Asia, having lobed toes, dark plumage, and a white bill with a frontal shield: family Rallidae (rails, crakes, etc)
  2. a foolish person, esp an old man (often in the phrase old coot)
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Word Origin for coot

C14: probably from Low German; compare Dutch koet
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 coot


c.1300, cote, used for various water fowl (now limited to Fulica atra and, in North America, F. americana), of uncertain origin. Cf. Dutch meercoet "lake coot." Meaning "silly person, fool" is attested from 1766.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper