• synonyms


or coot·y

See more synonyms for cootie on Thesaurus.com
noun plural coot·ies. Informal.
  1. a louse, especially one affecting humans, as the body louse, head louse, or pubic louse.
  2. 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.
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Origin of cootie1

1910–15; perhaps < Malay kutu biting body louse, with final syllable conformed to -ie


noun, plural coot·ies.
  1. cootie1.
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or coot·y

noun Scot.
  1. a wooden container, especially a wooden bowl, for storing or serving food or drink.
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Origin of cootie2

1775–85; variant of Scots cood, of uncertain origin


noun, plural coot·ies. Scot.
  1. cootie2.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for cooties

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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."

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for cooties


  1. US and NZ a slang name for the body louseAlso called (NZ): kutu See louse (def. 1)
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Word Origin

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.

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"body lice," 1917, British World War I slang, earlier in nautical use, said to be from Malay kutu "dog tick."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper