Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang A body louse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A louse.
  • n. Any germ or contaminant, real or imagined, especially from the opposite gender (for pre-pubescent children).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Rough-legged: an epithet applied to birds whose legs are clad with feathers.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a parasitic louse that infests the body of human beings

Etymologies

Probably from Malay kutu.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1917, from British army slang during World War I, probably from Malay kutu ("flea, louse"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He wasn't called a cootie aboard ship, but he was the same bird.

    A Yankee in the Trenches

  • I also used to love the folded up fortune tellers (some people called the cootie catchers) that honestly, used to contain mostly mean fortunes! redjet on March 11th 2009 at 10: 18am view redjet's

    Apartment Therapy Main

  • The most elaborate preparations for the housing of their men and officers had been made; dugouts of every description, from the temporary "hole in the ground" with a wooden door and a "cootie" bunk to the palatial suite sixty feet underground with cement stairs and floors, and with bathrooms, officers and lounging quarters, all electrically lighted and well heated.

    The Fight for the Argonne Personal Experiences of a 'Y' Man

  • Sometimes, while engaged in a "cootie" hunt you think.

    Over the Top

  • France is to see the men engaging in a "cootie" hunt.

    Over the Top

  • Pediculus humanus capitis); the body louse, better known as the cootie (

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  • "cootie," who was to become so familiar in the trenches later on.

    A Yankee in the Trenches

  • "cootie" hunt; but such is the creed of the trenches.

    Over the Top

  • I rifled through his hair like a monkey and announced him cootie free.

    Little Grey Elephant

  • He walked over to me on the couch and I demanded he sit down for his cootie inspection.

    Little Grey Elephant

Comments

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  • Coincidence, yes, but not necessarily evidence of a derivational link.

    August 4, 2011

  • Because the word “cootie” is an Americanism, it is much more likely a loan-word from the Tagalog “kuto” than from the Malay “kutu”. The Philippines was an American colony from 1898 until 1946, a time frame that coincides with the first appearance of the word “cootie”, referring to a body louse, in print during World War I.

    August 4, 2011

  • The name of a table game, the object of which is to be the first player to complete a comic model of an insect from the supplied plastic parts, as determined by the roll of a die. Its rules are essentially the same as those of the dice game Beetle. The patent is held by Milton Bradley.
    _Wikipedia

    January 28, 2008

  • the original with a board and pegs, not the newfangled bug-parts version.

    January 31, 2007