coot(redirected from Coots)
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bald as a coot
Totally bald. My father had long hair as a teen, but now he's bald as a coot.
be as bald as a coot
To be totally bald. My father had long hair as a teen, but now he's as bald as a coot.
*bald as a cootand *bald as a baby's backside
completely bald. (*Also: as ~.) If Tom's hair keeps receding like that, he'll be bald as a coot by the time he's thirty. Fred: Now, I'll admit my hair is thinning a little on the top, but—Jane: Thinning? You're not thinning, you're as bald as a baby's backside!
as bald as a cootcompletely bald.
The coot (Fulica atra) has a broad white shield extending up from the base of its bill. The history of the word bald is somewhat obscure, but analogies with other northern European languages suggest a connection with the idea of ‘having a white patch or streak’.
(as) bald as a ˈcoothaving no hair on your head at all: Why did you buy him a hairbrush? He’s as bald as a coot!
A coot is a black bird with a white patch on its forehead that lives on or near water.
bald as a coot/billiard ball
Very bald indeed. The coot is a black waterbird whose white bill extends up to the forehead, making it appear to be bald. Indeed, this bird was already being called a balled cote in the thirteenth century. The later simile, to a billiard ball, has been less recorded, but since billiards was already popular in Shakespeare’s day it cannot be of very recent origin.
crazy as a coot/loon
Lunatic behavior. The simile to the water bird dates from the sixteenth century, when John Skelton (Phyllyp Sparowe, 1529) wrote, “the mad coote, with a balde face to toote.” It is not known whether the craziness refers to the bird’s strange behavior in winter, when flocks of coots on a frozen pond sometimes fly wildly at one another, or to the senile behavior of the very old. (See also bald as a coot.) A related ornithological simile is crazy as a loon, probably derived from the weird loud cry of this bird. However, loony for “crazy” comes not from the bird but from lunatic, in turn related to the ancient belief that the phases of the moon (Latin luna) influence human behavior.
Unflattering names for an elderly man. Old codger, dating from the mid-1700s, may imply that he is testy or crusty, whereas old coot, from the mid-1800s, indicates he is silly or ignorant. As for an old fogy, he may be hidebound in tradition. None of these is a desirable epithet, or, as Terrel Bell put it, “There’s only one thing worse than an old fogy, and that’s a young fogy” (commencement address at Longwood College, Virginia, June 17, 1985). A newer and decidedly vulgar synonym is old fart, dating from the first half of the 1900s. Phil Donahue said it of himself on his NBC television show in 1992: “I didn’t always look like an old fart like this.”