Definition of coot in US English:



  • 1An aquatic bird of the rail family, with blackish plumage, lobed feet, and a bill that extends back on to the forehead as a horny shield.

    Genus Fulica, family Rallidae: several species, in particular the widespread F. atra, which has a white bill and frontal shield

    • ‘Of course, native birds such as the American coot, mallard, and Brewer's blackbird also used this valuable oasis.’
    • ‘My passing further disgruntled gloomy herons slouching along the bank, and startled grebes and coots fussing around in ever contracting pools of water.’
    • ‘American coots also nest at quite high densities so there are more potential host nests available.’
    • ‘A recent study shows that American coots are able to distinguish between parasitic eggs and their own, and are able to ‘count’ their clutch size.’
    • ‘Other birds I saw near the pond were coot, moorhen, purple swamphen and a few Gray Wagtails walking around near the water.’
    • ‘For the celebration sweet foods were prepared from an abundance of eggs collected from the nests of coots and black-headed gulls and, in all likelihood, other marsh and water birds.’
    • ‘Outside, coots and herons stalk the downtown canals.’
    • ‘The laundry pond had a few coots and a couple of moorhens.’
    • ‘However, the American coot's most surprising defense against sneaky egg-layers is its ability to count.’
    • ‘When I first visited the Lake in July 2000, there were over 200 coot and great numbers of other birds, including 40 Black Swans.’
    • ‘Swans, herons, coots and oystercatchers are just some of the bird species recently observed, and fish have also seen in at least one of the ponds.’
    • ‘Not even a coot presented itself among the boats and docks, but I finally saw an Osprey at a great distance.’
    • ‘Overall, of the 10 coot eggs that were scored as similar to the host's, five were buried and five were accepted.’
    • ‘Herons and egrets swooped at our bow, and at night we moored alongside sand islands and among reeds and coots.’
    • ‘I remember being badly scratched and bitten by a coot which I had rescued one autumn night after it had dropped through a skylight of a house in Yarmouth, mistaking the glass for water.’
    • ‘Among American coots, for example, chicks hatch already sporting a red head splotch, and when feeding their broods, parents consistently favor offspring with the reddest adornment.’
    • ‘Eagles and coots were collected and sent to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin for examination.’
    • ‘One Hickling nest was built on the top of an abandoned coot's nest and in water so deep that the keeper had difficulty in reaching it clad in thigh waders.’
    • ‘There are the usual species for this wetland habitat mallard, tufted duck, coot, wigeon, teal and mute swan.’
    • ‘The typical concrete edge, the unhealthy pollution caused by too much sliced white bread and the overpowering dominance of aggressive species such as Canada geese and coots combine to turn them into lifeless wet deserts.’
  • 2informal A foolish or eccentric person, typically an old man.

    • ‘So the Jerry and David conversations become warning sessions, not just between a ranting coot and an upstart kid but also between different generations of the same Woody.’
    • ‘He was also an endearingly tetchy coot whose prejudices, passions, and irascibility remained uncompromised over time.’
    • ‘Can't those poor coots see that you don't know two cents about phrenology?’
    • ‘Why should the oldest coot in the majority party be the one who is in line for the presidency?’
    • ‘Well, then, what in the name of Abraham Lincoln are you coots waiting for?’
    • ‘I object to all preachy busybodies, including young coots like Roberts.’
    • ‘That's why it's simply not wise for coots like me to look in a mirror.’
    • ‘In a few hours, Uncle Ivan, a Mocha Frappuccino-loving old bald coot, was due to arrive.’
    • ‘That's right, it was the CD release party for those lovable coots, The Scurvy Pirates.’
    • ‘But I hope you'll indulge an old-fashioned coot like me if I choose to believe otherwise.’
    • ‘The stubborn coot had me trying for six months, during which I wasn't whipped once.’
    • ‘Look, I'm the oldest coot in the business, but even I do not want to just keep reliving the past over and over.’
    • ‘Even if you're one of the cranky coots who loathe every nanosecond of the prequel trilogy, Clone Wars still qualifies as top-notch.’
    idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
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Middle English: probably of Dutch or Low German origin and related to Dutch koet.