10 October 2015


In American English, cooties is used as a term of abuse by children, indicating some other child is abnormal in some way. Typical usage might be 'Now you've got cooties.'

Originally, apparently it referred to lice, but now it seems to have become extended to refer to anything abnormal.

One of my students today told me that it comes from the Malay word kutu, meaning 'louse'.