American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A grayish European bird (Cuculus canorus) that has a characteristic two-note call and lays its eggs in the nests of birds of other species.
- n. Any of various related birds of the family Cuculidae, having grayish-brown plumage and a slender body.
- n. The call or cry of one of these birds.
- n. Slang A foolish or crazy person.
- v. To repeat incessantly, as a cuckoo does its call.
- adj. Slang Lacking in sense; foolish or crazy.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A bird of the family Cuculidœ, and especially of the subfamily Cuculinœ or genus Cuculus: so called from its characteristic note. The common cuckoo of Europe is Cuculus canours, about 14 inches long, with zygodactyl feet, broad rounded tail, curved bill, and ashy plumage varied with black and white. It is notorious for its parasitism, having the habit common to many birds of the family of depositing its eggs in the nests of other birds, chiefly smaller than itself, and causing its young to be reared by the foster-parents—a condition generally entailing the destruction of their own progeny. The remarkable cries which have given the bird imitative names in many languages are the love-notes, uttered only during the mating season. The species of cuckoos are very numerous, and are found in most parts of the world; they are not all parasitic. There are several subfamilies of Cuculidœ, and many genera. (See
Cuculidœ.) The American or tree-cuckoos are arboricole, not parasitic, and are confined to America; they are also called hook-billed cuckoos, a term not of special pertinence. The ground-cuckoos are American birds of terrestrial habits. The crested cuckoos are old-world forms, as are also the coucals, lark-heeled or spur-heeled cuckoos, also called pheasant-cuckoos.
- n. A simpleton; a fool: used in jest or contempt, like the ultimately related gowk.
- adj. Crazy; not sane.
- n. Any of various birds, of the family Cuculidae (from Latin cuculus ("cuckoo")), famous for laying its eggs in the nests of other species; but especially the common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, that has a characteristic two-note call
- n. The sound of that particular bird.
- n. The bird shaped figure found in Swiss/German clocks (cuckoo clocks) or the clock itself.
- n. Someone found where they shouldn't be (used especially in the phrase 'A cuckoo in the nest'.)
- n. Someone who is crazy.
- v. To make the call of a cuckoo
- v. To repeat something incessantly
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) A bird belonging to Cuculus, Coccyzus, and several allied genera, of many species.
- n. any of numerous European and North American birds having pointed wings and a long tail
- v. repeat monotonously, like a cuckoo repeats his call
- n. a man who is a stupid incompetent fool
- (onomatopoeia) (Wiktionary)
- Middle English cuccu, of imitative origin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Some of his inventions are based on the technology used in cuckoo clocks, mechanical toys, piano rolls, and player pianos.”
“But cuckoo is a very simple call? it could be that one of the reasons why it is such a simple call is precisely because of the phenomenon they describe.”
““The cuckoo is a pretty bird, she sings as she flies, she brings us good tidings and she tells us no lies” went the song, and Michael recalled that Mary Bright had sounded much sweeter than any bird when she sang that song.”
“Known only by a handful of specimens collected over the past century, the Sumatran ground cuckoo is considered to be one of the worlds rarest, most secretive birds, and is restricted to Sumatras deep jungles and rainforests.”
“Southern Slavs the cuckoo is supposed to be the sister of a murdered man ever calling or vengeance.”
“The cuckoo is not to be seen on the furze; the leaves are withering and the trees complaining of the cold.”
“The cuckoo is not asleep, the thrush is not asleep, the tops of the trees are a noisy place; the duck is not asleep, she is made ready for good swimming; the bog-lark is not asleep to-night on the high stormy bogs; the sound of her clear voice is sweet; she is not sleeping between the streams.”
“We use consonants where the bird uses none, as when we give the name cuckoo to a bird whose cry is really "ooh, ooh.”
“Then blest if I won't have something too, that'll make things go round!" said Lasse, and went in and had a "cuckoo" -- coffee with brandy in it.”
“Teresa expressed shock upon seeing the other women say she was "dropped on her head as a baby" and call her "cuckoo.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘cuckoo’.
Words formed in imitation of the sound of the things they signify.
words (seemingly) formed in imitation of a natural sound
Animal sounds in different languages, and the verbs that specify them.
Since Georgetown took down their page, the current definitive website for this information is:
birds with singular names from
at least 9 English dictionaries
words for quiet sounds
( randomness, descriptive )
List for old and new terms and phrases meaning crazy, nuts, batty, prone to extreme nervousness, etc.
abducens.....draw..., ablation.....carr..., acetylcholine......., adrenalin.....nea..., afferent.....to c..., agnosia.....no kn..., alar.....wing-like, alexia.....no words, alveus.....canal, amacrine.....no l..., ambidextrous........, ambiguus.....doub... and 701 more...
Words for the mentally irregular
Adjective (or noun) designating a human or nonhuman animal that lives in the abode of another
Birds endemic to the United States and/or North America.
Words formed in imitation of a natural sound.
... as in "by James Joyce"
Looking for tweets for cuckoo.