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See more synonyms for cooter on Thesaurus.com
  1. Chiefly Southern U.S. any of several large aquatic turtles of the southern U.S. and northern Mexico.
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Origin of cooter

1820–30; said to be < Bambara, Malinke kuta turtle (with related forms in other Niger-Congo languages); compare coot to copulate (of sea turtles), first attested in the Caribbean in 1667
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cooter

tortoise, slowpoke, chelonian, snapper, terrapin, cooter, leatherback, loggerhead, testudinal

Examples from the Web for cooter

Contemporary Examples of cooter

Historical Examples of cooter

  • The cooter is the terrapin, and a very expert boatman he is.

    Letters of a Traveller

    William Cullen Bryant

  • A “cooter” is a box-tortoise, and the noun is turned into a verb with an ease characteristic of the mountaineers.

Word Origin and History for cooter


name for some types of freshwater terrapin in southern U.S., 1835 (first attested 1827 in phrase drunk as a cooter, but this probably is a colloquial form of unrelated coot), from obsolete verb coot "to copulate" (1660s), of unknown origin. The turtle is said to copulate for two weeks at a stretch.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper