cockscomb (n.) Look up cockscomb at
c. 1400, "comb or crest of a cock," from possessive of cock (n.1) + comb (n.). Meaning "cap worn by a professional fool" is from 1560s; hence "conceited fool" (1560s), a sense passing into the derivative coxcomb. As a plant name, from 1570s.
cocksucker (n.) Look up cocksucker at
1890s, "one who does fellatio" (especially a male homosexual); 1920s as "contemptible person," American English, from cock (n.1) in phallic sense + sucker (n.). Used curiously for aggressively obnoxious men; the ancients would have recoiled at this failure to appreciate the difference between passive and active roles; Catullus, writing of his boss, employs the useful Latin insult irrumator, which means "someone who forces others to give him oral sex," hence "one who treats people with contempt."
cocksure (adj.) Look up cocksure at
1520s, "certain," from cock (n.1) + sure (adj.). Probably "as assured as a cock." "The word was originally perfectly dignified, and habitually used in the most solemn connexions" [OED]. D.H. Lawrence playfully coined hensure as a female version (1929).
cocktail (n.) Look up cocktail at
first attested 1806; H.L. Mencken lists seven versions of its origin, perhaps the most durable traces it to French coquetier "egg-cup" (15c.; in English cocktay). In New Orleans, c. 1795, Antoine Amédée Peychaud, an apothecary (and inventor of Peychaud bitters) held Masonic social gatherings at his pharmacy, where he mixed brandy toddies with his own bitters and served them in an egg-cup. On this theory, the drink took the name of the cup. Used from 1920s of any mix of substances (fruit, Molotov). Cocktail party first attested 1928.
cocky (adj.) Look up cocky at
"arrogantly pert," 1768; originally "lecherous" (1540s); from cock (n.1) + -y (2). Related: Cockiness.
coco (n.) Look up coco at
"palm tree," mid-16c., from Spanish and Portuguese coco "grinning face," on resemblance of the three holes at the base of the shell to a human face. The earlier word for it was the Latinized form cocus, which sometimes was Englished as cocos.
cocoa (n.) Look up cocoa at
powder from cacao seeds, 1707, corruption (by influence of coco) of cacao. The printing of Johnson's dictionary ran together the entries for coco and cocoa, fostering a confusion that never has been undone.
coconut (n.) Look up coconut at
1610s, from coco + nut. Meaning "the head" is slang from 1834.
cocoon (n.) Look up cocoon at
1690s, from Middle French coucon (16c., Modern French cocon), from coque "clam shell, egg shell, nut shell" (7c.), from Old French coque "shell," from Latin coccum "berry," from Greek kokkos "berry, seed" (see cocco-). The sense of "one's interior comfort place" is from 1986. Also see -oon.
cocoon (v.) Look up cocoon at
1986, "to stay inside and be inactive," from coccoon (n.).
A lady with an enchanting name, Faith Popcorn, has identified a menacing new American behavior that she gives the sweet name of 'cocooning.' It threatens the nation's pursuit of happiness, sometimes called the economy. [George Will, April 1987]
Related: Cocooned; cocooning.
cocotte (n.) Look up cocotte at
type of cooking vessel, 1907, from French cocotte "saucepan" (19c.), a diminutive from cocasse, ultimately from Latin cucama. Sense of "prostitute," 1867, is from French cocotte, originally a child's name for "little hen" (18c.), hence "sweetie, darling."
cod (n.) Look up cod at
large sea fish, mid-14c. (late 13c. in a surname, Thomas cotfich), of unknown origin; despite similarity of form it has no conclusive connection to the widespread Germanic word for "bag" (represented by Old English codd, preserved in codpiece). Cod-liver oil known since at least 1610s, was recommended medicinally since 1783, but not popular as a remedy until after 1825.
coda (n.) Look up coda at
"concluding passage in a musical composition," 1753, from Latin cauda "tail of an animal."
coddle (v.) Look up coddle at
c. 1600, "boil gently," probably from caudle "warm drink for invalids" (c. 1300), from Anglo-French caudel (c. 1300), ultimately from Latin calidium "warm drink, warm wine and water," neuter of calidus "hot," from calere "be warm" (see calorie). Verb meaning "treat tenderly" first recorded 1815 (in Jane Austen's "Emma"). Related: Coddled; coddling.
code (n.) Look up code at
c. 1300, "systematic compilation of laws," from Old French code "system of laws, law-book" (13c.), from Latin codex, earlier caudex "book, book of laws," literally "tree trunk," hence, book made up of wooden tablets covered with wax for writing. Meaning "cipher" (the sense in secret code) is from 1808.
code (v.) Look up code at
1815, from code (n.). Specifically in the computer sense from 1947. Related: Coded; coding.
codec (n.) Look up codec at
by 1970, an abbreviation from compressor-decompressor or coder-decoder, on model of modem.
codefendant (n.) Look up codefendant at
also co-defendant, 1640s, from co- + defendant.
codeine (n.) Look up codeine at
alkaloid present in opium, 1838, from French codéine, coined, with chemical suffix -ine (2), from Greek kodeia "poppy head," related to kooz "prison," literally "hollow place;" kodon "bell, mouth of a trumpet;" koilos "hollow," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to cover, conceal" (see cell). Originally codeina; modern form is from 1881.
codependent (adj.) Look up codependent at
also co-dependent, by 1905, in various senses, from co- + dependent. Modern psycological sense is attested from c. 1983. Related: Codependence, codependency.
codex (n.) Look up codex at
"manuscript volume (especially an ancient one)," 1845, from Latin codex (see code (n.)).
codger (n.) Look up codger at
1756, probably a variant of cadger "beggar" (see cadge (v.)), which is of unknown origin.
codicil (n.) Look up codicil at
early 15c., from Middle French codicille, from Latin codicillus "a short writing, a small writing tablet," diminutive of codex (genitive codicis), see code (n.).
codification (n.) Look up codification at
1817 (Bentham), noun of action from codify.
codify (v.) Look up codify at
c. 1800, from code (n.) + -fy. Related: codified; codifying.
codominant (adj.) Look up codominant at
also co-dominant, 1926, from co- + dominant.
codon (n.) Look up codon at
1962, from code (n.) + -on.
codpiece (n.) Look up codpiece at
mid-15c., "a bagged appendage to the front of the breeches; often conspicuous" [OED], from Old English codd "a bag, pouch, husk," in Middle English, "testicles" (cognate with Old Norse koddi "pillow, scrotum") + piece (n.).
codswallop (n.) Look up codswallop at
said to be from 19c. (but first attested 1963), perhaps from wallop, British slang for "beer," and cod in one of its various senses, perhaps "testicles."
coe (n.) Look up coe at
"hut built over a mine shaft," 1650s, from some source akin to Dutch kouw, German kaue in the same sense, from West Germanic *kauja-, an early borrowing of Latin cavea "hollow," from cavus "a hollow" (see cave (n.)).
coeducational (adj.) Look up coeducational at
also co-educational, 1881, from co-education (1852), from co- + education.
coefficient (n.) Look up coefficient at
also co-efficient, c. 1600, from co- + efficient. Probably influenced by Modern Latin coefficiens, which was used in mathematics in 16c., introduced by French mathematician François Viète (1540-1603). As an adjective from 1660s.
coelacanth (n.) Look up coelacanth at
1857, from Modern Latin Coelacanthus (genus name, 1839, Agassiz), from Greek koilos "hollow" (from PIE root *kel- (2); see cell) + akantha "spine" (see acrid). So called from the hollow fin rays supporting the tail. Known only as a fossil, the most recent one from 70 million years ago, until discovered living in the sea off the east coast of South Africa Dec. 22, 1938. The specimen was described by Marjorie Courtney-Latimer, who wrote about it to S.African ichthyologist J.L.B. Smith.
I stared and stared, at first in puzzlement. I did not know any fish of our own, or indeed of any seas like that; it looked more like a lizard. And then a bomb seemed to burst in my brain, and beyond that sketch and the paper of the letter, I was looking at a series of fishy creatures that flashed up as on a screen, fishes no longer here, fishes that had lived in dim past ages gone, and of which only fragmentary remains in rock are known. [J.L.B. Smith, "Old Fourlegs: The Story of the Coelacanth," 1956]
coeliac (adj.) Look up coeliac at
1660s, from Latin coeliacus, from Greek koiliakos "pertaining to the bowels," also "pain in the bowels," from koilia "bowels, abdominal cavity, intestines, tripe" from koilos "hollow," from PIE root *keue- "to swell; vault, hole" (see cumulus).
coelomate (n.) Look up coelomate at
1883, from Coelomata (1877), from Modern Latin neuter plural of coelomatus, from Greek koilomat- "hollow, cavity," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to cover, conceal" (see cell).
coeno- Look up coeno- at
word-forming element meaning "common," Latinized from Greek koinos "common, public, shared, general, ordinary," from PIE *kom "beside, near, by, with" (see com-).
coequal (adj.) Look up coequal at
late 14c.; see co- + equal.
coerce (v.) Look up coerce at
mid-15c., cohercen, from Middle French cohercer, from Latin coercere "to control, restrain, shut up together," from com- "together" (see co-) + arcere "to enclose, confine, contain, ward off," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane). Related: Coerced; coercing. No record of the word between late 15c. and mid-17c.; its reappearance 1650s is perhaps a back-formation from coercion.
coercion (n.) Look up coercion at
early 15c., from Old French cohercion (Modern French coercion), from Medieval Latin coercionem, from Latin coerctionem, earlier coercitionem, noun of action from past participle stem of coercere (see coerce).
coercive (adj.) Look up coercive at
c. 1600, from coerce + -ive. Form coercitive (attested from 1630s) is more true to Latin.
coetaneous (adj.) Look up coetaneous at
"having the same age," c. 1600, from Late Latin coaetanus "one of the same age," from com- "with, together with" (see co-) + aetat- "age" (see age (n.)) + adjectival suffix -aneus.
coeval (adj.) Look up coeval at
"having the same age," formed in English early 17c. from Late Latin coaevus, from Latin com- "equal" (see co-) + aevum "an age" (see eon). As a noun from c. 1600.
coevolution (n.) Look up coevolution at
also co-evolution, 1965, from co- + evolution; supposedly introduced by Paul Ehrlich and Peter Raven in a study of the relationship between caterpillars and plants.
coexist (v.) Look up coexist at
1670s, from co- + exist. Of political/economic systems (especially with reference to communism and the West) from 1931. Related: Coexisted; coexisting.
coexistence (n.) Look up coexistence at
also co-existence, mid-15c., "joint existence;" see co- + existence. As "peaceful relations between states of different ideologies," 1954, a Cold War term.
coextensive (adj.) Look up coextensive at
1771, from co- + extensive.
coffee (n.) Look up coffee at
c. 1600, from Italian caffe, from Turkish kahveh, from Arabic qahwah "coffee," said originally to have meant "wine," but perhaps rather from Kaffa region of Ethiopia, a home of the plant (coffee in Kaffa is called buno, which was borrowed into Arabic as bunn "raw coffee"). Much initial diversity of spelling, including chaoua.

Yemen was the first great coffee exporter and to protect its trade decreed that no living plant could leave the country. In 16c., a Muslim pilgrim brought some coffee beans from Yemen and raised them in India. Appeared in Europe (from Arabia) c. 1515-1519. Introduced to England by 1650, and by 1675 the country had more than 3,000 coffee houses. Coffee plantations established in Brazil 1727. Meaning "a light meal at which coffee is served" is from 1774. Coffee break attested from 1952, at first often in glossy magazine advertisements by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau. Coffee pot from 1705.
Did you drink a cup of coffee on company time this morning? Chances are that you did--for the midmorning coffee break is rapidly becoming a standard fixture in American offices and factories. ["The Kiplinger Magazine," March 1952]
coffer (n.) Look up coffer at
mid-13c., from Old French cofre "a chest" (12c., Modern French coffre), from Latin cophinus "basket" (see coffin).
coffin (n.) Look up coffin at
early 14c., "chest or box for valuables," from Old French cofin "sarcophagus," earlier "basket, coffer" (12c., Modern French coffin), from Latin cophinus "basket, hamper" (source of Italian cafano, Spanish cuebano "basket"), from Greek kophinos "a basket," which is of uncertain origin.

Funeral sense in English is 1520s; before that it was the literal Latin one and had also a meaning of "pie crust" (late 14c.). Meaning "vehicle regarded as unsafe" is from 1830s. Coffin nail "cigarette" is slang from 1880; nail in (one's) coffin "thing that contributes to one's death" is from 1792.
cog (n.) Look up cog at
c. 1300, "cog wheel;" late 14c., "tooth on a wheel," probably a borrowing from a Scandinavian language (compare Norwegian kugg "cog") and cognate with Middle High German kugel "ball."