convoluted (adj.) Look up convoluted at
1811, past participle adjective from verb convolute (1690s), from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere (see convolution); or perhaps a back-formation from convolution. French has convoluté (18c.), in form a past participle adjective, without the verb.
convolution (n.) Look up convolution at
1540s, from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere "to roll together," from com "with, together" (see com-) + volvere "to roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve."
convoy (n.) Look up convoy at
early 16c., "the act of guiding or escorting for protection," from convoy (v.), late 14c., from Old French convoier, from Vulgar Latin *conviare, literally "go together on the road," from Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + via "way, road" (see via). The meaning "train of ships or wagons carrying munitions or provisions in wartime under protection of escort" is from c. 1600.
convulse (v.) Look up convulse at
1640s, transitive; 1680s, intransitive; from Latin convulsus, past participle of convellere (transitive only) "to pull away, to pull this way and that, wrench," hence "to weaken, overthrow, destroy" (see convulsion). Related: Convulsed (1630s); convulsing.
convulsion (n.) Look up convulsion at
1580s, from Latin convulsionem (nominative convulsio), noun of action from past participle stem of convellere "to tear loose," from com "with, together" (see com-) + vellere "to pluck, pull violently" (see svelte).
convulsive (adj.) Look up convulsive at
1610s, from French convulsif, from Medieval Latin *convulsivus, from convulsus, past participle of convellere (see convulse (v.)). Related: Convulsively.
cony (n.) Look up cony at
see coney.
coo (v.) Look up coo at
1660s, echoic of doves; the phrase to bill and coo is first recorded 1816. Related: Cooing. The noun is recorded from 1729.
cooch (n.) Look up cooch at
"vagina," slang, c.2003, short for coochie.
coochie (n.) Look up coochie at
"vagina," slang, by 1991, perhaps from hoochie-coochie, especially in the blues song "Hoochie Coochie Man" by Willie Dixon (1954), featuring a sexually suggestive phrase that traces at least to the 1893 World's Fair (see hoochy koochy).
cook (v.) Look up cook at
late 14c., from cook (n.); the figurative sense of "to manipulate, falsify, doctor" is from 1630s. Related: Cooked, cooking. To cook with gas is 1930s jive talk.
cook (n.) Look up cook at
Old English coc, from Vulgar Latin cocus "cook," from Latin coquus, from coquere "to cook, prepare food, ripen, digest, turn over in the mind" from PIE root *pekw- "to cook" (source also of Oscan popina "kitchen," Sanskrit pakvah "cooked," Greek peptein, Lithuanian kepti "to bake, roast," Old Church Slavonic pecenu "roasted," Welsh poeth "cooked, baked, hot"). Germanic languages had no one native term for all types of cooking, and borrowed the Latin word (Old Saxon kok, Old High German choh, German Koch, Swedish kock).
There is the proverb, the more cooks the worse potage. [Gascoigne, 1575]
cookbook (n.) Look up cookbook at
1809, from cook + book (n.). Earlier was cookery book (1630s).
cooker (n.) Look up cooker at
type of stove, 1884, from cook (v.) + -er (1).
cookery (n.) Look up cookery at
late 14c.; see cook (n.) + -ery.
cookie (n.) Look up cookie at
1703, American English, from Dutch koekje "little cake," diminutive of koek "cake," from Middle Dutch koke (see cake (n.)). Slang application to persons attested since 1920. Phrase that's the way the cookie crumbles "that's the way things happen" is from 1957.
cookout (n.) Look up cookout at
also cook-out, 1930, American English, from cook (v.) + out (adv.).
cooky (n.) Look up cooky at
variant of cookie.
cool (n.) Look up cool at
c. 1400, "coldness, coolness," from cool (adj.). Meaning "one's self-control, composure" (the thing you either keep or lose) is from 1966.
cool (v.) Look up cool at
Old English colian, "to lose warmth," also figuratively, "to lose ardor," from the root of cool (adj.). Meaning "to cause to lose warmth" is from late 14c. Related: Cooled; cooling.
cool (adj.) Look up cool at
Old English col "not warm" (but usually not as severe as cold), also, of persons, "unperturbed, undemonstrative," from Proto-Germanic *koluz (source also of Middle Dutch coel, Dutch koel, Old High German kuoli, German kühl "cool," Old Norse kala "be cold"), from PIE root *gel- "cold, to freeze" (see cold (adj.)).

Applied since 1728 to large sums of money to give emphasis to amount. Meaning "calmly audacious" is from 1825. Slang use for "fashionable" is 1933, originally African-American vernacular; modern use as a general term of approval is from late 1940s, probably from bop talk and originally in reference to a style of jazz; said to have been popularized in jazz circles by tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Related: Coolly.
coolant (n.) Look up coolant at
"radiator fluid," 1930, from cool (adj.) + -ant.
cooler (n.) Look up cooler at
1570s, "a vessel in which something is set to cool," agent noun from cool (v.). Meaning "insulated box to keep things cool" is from 1958. Slang meaning "jail" is attested from 1884.
coolie (n.) Look up coolie at
name given by Europeans to hired laborers in India and China, c. 1600, from Hindi quli "hired servant," probably from kuli, name of an aboriginal tribe or caste in Gujarat. The name was picked up by the Portuguese, who used it in southern India (where by coincidence kuli in Tamil meant "hire") and in China.
coolness (n.) Look up coolness at
Old English colnesse; see cool (adj.) + -ness. Figurative sense of "calmness" is from 1650s; that of "absence of warm affection" is from 1670s.
coolth (n.) Look up coolth at
1540s, from cool on the model of warmth. It persists, and was used by Pound, Tolkien, Kipling, etc., but it never has shaken its odor of facetiousness and become standard.
coomb (n.) Look up coomb at
also combe, "deep hollow or valley, especially on flank of a hill," mainly surviving in place names, from Old English cumb, probably a British word, from Celtic base *kumbos (compare Welsh cwm in same sense). Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names says, "This is usually taken to be a Celtic loan ... but there was also OE cumb 'vessel, cup, bowl,'" which was "probably used in a transferred topographical sense reinforced in western districts by cwm."
coon (n.) Look up coon at
short for raccoon, 1742, American English. It was the nickname of Whig Party members in U.S. c. 1848-60, as the raccoon was the party's symbol, and it also had associations with frontiersmen (who stereotypically wore raccoon-skin caps), which probably ultimately was the source of the Whig Party sense (the party's 1840 campaign was built on a false image of wealthy William Henry Harrison as a rustic frontiersman).

The insulting U.S. meaning "black person" was in use by 1837, said to be from barracoon (by 1837), from Portuguese barraca "slave depot, pen or rough enclosure for black slaves in transit in West Africa, Brazil, Cuba." No doubt the word was boosted by the enormously popular blackface minstrel act Zip Coon (George Washington Dixon) which debuted in New York City in 1834. But it is perhaps older (one of the lead characters in the 1767 colonial comic opera "The Disappointment" is a black man named Raccoon). Coon's age is 1843, American English, probably an alteration of British a crow's age.
coop (v.) Look up coop at
1560s, from coop (n.). Related: Cooped; cooping.
coop (n.) Look up coop at
"small cage for poultry," mid-14c., from Old English cype, cypa "basket, cask," akin to Middle Dutch kupe, Swedish kupa, and all probably from Latin cupa "tub, cask," from PIE *keup- "hollow mound" (see cup (n.)).
cooper (n.) Look up cooper at
"craftsman who makes wooden vessels," attested from late 12c. as a surname, either from Old English (unattested) or from a Low German source akin to Middle Dutch cuper, East Frisian kuper, from Low German kupe (German Kufe) "cask," cognate with Medieval Latin cupa (see coop (n.)).
A dry cooper makes casks, etc., to hold dry goods, a wet cooper those to contain liquids, a white cooper pails, tubs, and the like for domestic or dairy use. [OED]
The surname Cowper (pronounced "cooper") preserves a 15c. spelling.
cooperate (v.) Look up cooperate at
also co-operate, c. 1600, from Late Latin cooperatus, past participle of cooperari "to work together with" (see cooperation). Related: Cooperated; cooperating.
cooperation (n.) Look up cooperation at
late 15c., from Middle French coopération, or directly from Late Latin cooperationem (nominative cooperatio) "a working together," noun of action from past participle stem of cooperari "to work together," from com- "with" (see com-) + operari "to work," from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance."
cooperative (adj.) Look up cooperative at
also co-operative, c. 1600, from Late Latin cooperat-, past participle stem of cooperari (see cooperation) + -ive. Political economy sense is from 1808, from the pre-Marx communist movement. The noun meaning "a cooperative store" is from 1883; meaning "a cooperative society" is from 1921.
coopt (v.) Look up coopt at
see co-opt.
cooptation (n.) Look up cooptation at
1530s, "election to fill a vacancy," from Latin cooptationem (nominative cooptatio) "election," noun of action from past participle stem of cooptare (see co-opt). Related: Cooptative.
coordinate (adj.) Look up coordinate at
1640s, "of the same order," from Medieval Latin coordinatus, past participle of coordinare "to set in order, arrange" (see coordination). Meaning "involving coordination" is from 1769. Related: Coordinance.
coordinate (n.) Look up coordinate at
1823, in the mathematical sense, especially with reference to the system invented by Descartes; from coordinate (adj.). Hence, coordinates as a means of determining a location on the earth's surface (especially for aircraft), attested by 1960.
coordinate (v.) Look up coordinate at
1660s, "to place in the same rank," from Latin coordinare (see coordination). Meaning "to arrange in proper position" (transitive) is from 1847; that of "to work together in order" (intransitive) is from 1863. Related: Coordinated; coordinating.
coordination (n.) Look up coordination at
also co-ordination, c. 1600, "orderly combination," from French coordination (14c.) or directly from Late Latin coordinationem (nominative coordinatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin coordinare "to set in order, arrange," from com- "together" (see com-) + ordinatio "arrangement," from ordo "row, rank, series, arrangement" (see order (n.)). Meaning "action of setting in order" is from 1640s; that of "harmonious adjustment or action," especially of muscles and bodily movements, is from 1855.
coordinator (n.) Look up coordinator at
also co-ordinator, 1864, agent noun in Latin form from coordinate (v.).
coot (n.) Look up coot at
c. 1300, cote, used for various water fowl (now limited to Fulica atra and, in North America, F. americana), of uncertain origin. Compare Dutch meercoet "lake coot." Meaning "silly person, fool" is attested from 1766.
cooter (n.) Look up cooter at
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), which is of unknown origin. The turtle is said to copulate for two weeks at a stretch.
cootie (n.) Look up cootie at
"body lice," 1917, British World War I slang, earlier in nautical use, said to be from Malay (Austronesian) kutu "dog tick."
cooties (n.) Look up cooties at
1917, see cootie.
cop (n.) Look up cop at
"policeman," 1859, abbreviation of earlier copper (n.2), 1846, from cop (v.).
cop (v.) Look up cop at
1704, northern British dialect, "to seize, to catch," perhaps ultimately from Middle French caper "seize, to take," from Latin capere "to take" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"); or from Dutch kapen "to take," from Old Frisian capia "to buy," which is related to Old English ceapian (see cheap). Related: Copped; copping.
cop out Look up cop out at
by 1942, noun and verb, "sneak off, escape," American English slang, probably from cop a plea (c. 1925) "plead guilty to lesser charges," probably from northern British slang cop "to catch" (a scolding, etc.); as in cop a feel "grope someone" (1930s); see cop (v.). Sense of "evade an issue or problem" is from 1960s.
copacetic (adj.) Look up copacetic at
1919, but it may have origins in 19c. U.S. Southern black speech. Origin unknown, suspects include Latin, Yiddish (Hebrew kol b'seder), Italian, Louisiana French (coupe-sétique), and Native American. None is considered convincing by linguists.
copasetic Look up copasetic at
see copacetic.