- a louse, especially one affecting humans, as the body louse, head louse, or pubic louse.
- a child's term for an imaginary germ or disease that one can catch by touching a person who is disliked or socially avoided: The girls at camp thought the boys had cooties.
Origin of cootie1
1910–15; perhaps < Malay kutu biting body louse, with final syllable conformed to -ie
- a wooden container, especially a wooden bowl, for storing or serving food or drink.
Origin of cootie2
1775–85; variant of Scots cood, of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cooties
Or worse, they act like you have cooties or must be broken somehow because of this one experience.#SurvivorPrivilege Schools George Will on the Reality of Rape
June 10, 2014
The time had come, I am glad to say, when we and the cooties, must forever part.In the Flash Ranging Service
Edward Alva Trueblood
One night, however, I discovered that I had been captured by "cooties."Outwitting the Hun
They were lucky to escape with their lives, their cooties and their appetites.The Iron Puddler
James J. Davis
The various dopes and patent preparations guaranteed as "good for cooties" are just that.
The cooties were very active, as we were drenched with sweat and hadn't had a bath since heavens knew when.
- US and NZ a slang name for the body louseAlso called (NZ): kutu See louse (def. 1)
C20: perhaps from Malay or Māori kutu louse
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 cooties
1917, see cootie.
"body lice," 1917, British World War I slang, earlier in nautical use, said to be from Malay kutu "dog tick."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper