Definition of cooee in English:



  • Used to attract attention, especially at a distance.

    ‘‘Cooee!’ The call brought all three heads round’

verbcooees, cooeed, cooeeing

[no object]informal
  • Make a call to attract attention.

    ‘Liz had to cooee as he seemed in danger of blundering into the table’
    • ‘I cooeed, which disturbed the dogs of the camp; but the cold wind blew so strong from the east, that I feared Charley would either not hear my cooee, or I not his.’
    • ‘I whistled and cooeed to John who was well out of sight and hearing by this stage, hoping that the wind would carry my voice.’
    • ‘That we seldom saw a snake was probably due to the noise we made cooeeing and ululating to each other through a labyrinth of tunnels under the wiry branches.’
    • ‘I cooeed back, and there was obvious relief in her replying cooee.’
    • ‘Bob was right with me when I pegged my first Yank nugget, but didn't seem all that enthusiastic when I started yelling and cooeeing at the top of my lungs, so I slunk off to find Chris so I could find more appreciative company.’
    • ‘He hurried back, cooeeing and calling her name without getting an answer.’
    call, shout, exclaim, sing out, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
    View synonyms


  • within cooee

    • informal Within reach; near.

      ‘there's loads of cheap accommodation within cooee of the airport’
      • ‘Suffice it to say, if Helen or Winston didn't rate a particular candidate, that person would not get within cooee of the top 40.’
      • ‘It allowed passengers to come into the country without being in sight of a detector dog and without being within cooee of a soft-tissue X-ray machine.’
      • ‘But only on condition that we get ourselves another flag; Australian beef would surely flop if we let our present flag appear ‘anywhere within cooee of even a sliver of Australian beef jerky’.’
      • ‘Many of those millions of dollars have been spent on programmes before this television service has even come within cooee of going to air.’
      • ‘‘To sustain their argument of no loss of open space the Health Department claims any land within cooee of any buildings at present is not open space,’ she said.’


Late 18th century: imitative of a signal used by Australian Aborigines and copied by settlers.