Definition of cuckold in US English:



  • A man whose wife is sexually unfaithful, often regarded as an object of derision.

    ‘jokes in literature about elderly cuckolds and misers are rife’
    • ‘By marrying a simpleton, he hopes to prevent his fear of being made a cuckold being realized.’
    • ‘She had taken his trust and made a cuckold out of him.’
    • ‘The disaffected mugger and the enraged cuckold were despised as lowbrows; the true craftsmen of murder inaugurated ever more elaborate schemes.’
    • ‘Alienation of affection was once a salve to the broken hearts and bruised pride of cuckolds across the nation, but the claim began losing favor in the early 1900s.’
    • ‘Richard Gere, as Edward, finds himself in the unaccustomed position of playing the cuckold.’


[with object]
  • 1(of a man) make (another man) a cuckold by having a sexual relationship with his wife.

    ‘in the novel Humberto cuckolds his employer’
    • ‘Several studies have shown that yearling passerines are more frequently cuckolded by older males than vice versa.’
    • ‘Heathcliff goes on to torment Edgar by hinting that he has cuckolded him.’
    • ‘Seriously, if you're looking to cuckold your woman, there are craftier ways to do it.’
    • ‘But the show reminds us that he not only pimped for the president and cosied up to the mafia, but may have been responsible for the death of a cop whom he was cuckolding.’
    • ‘But that may not be beneficial if his primary mate cuckolds him as soon as he starts to look seedy and worn out.’
    • ‘Patrick, the moneybags of the gang with a supermodel girlfriend, is cuckolded by Serge, the class clown.’
    • ‘By closely following the female and tying with her after mating, the dog fox tries to prevent himself from being cuckolded by other dog foxes.’
    • ‘‘I began to respond,’ writes Tynan, ‘and then suddenly thought how impossible it would be to cuckold a man I venerated under his own roof.’’
    • ‘He plans to make Desdemona slowly abhor Othello and to use Cassio as a means of cuckolding him, bringing nothing but hatred and dishonor to Othello's world.’
    • ‘His sole diversion is sex - bedding down young virgins, cuckolding his close subordinates, and then boasting of the exploits in banquet speeches.’
    • ‘Yellow-throated sneaker males are female mimics and cuckold orange males at a high rate.’
    • ‘Your character, Keith, who has been cuckolded by Geoff, is a cab driver.’
    • ‘Actor Charles Freeman razored up a husband he was cuckolding.’
    • ‘In the film, he was cuckolded by his father, played by Laurence Olivier.’
    • ‘Prosaically, Villa was killed years later not by the U.S. Army but by a man he had cuckolded.’
    • ‘While the young drifter proves he's not so heartless when he saves one of the kids from drowning, he is certainly not above cuckolding Les.’
    • ‘Alone, Iago speaks of his hatred of Othello and a rumour that the Moor has cuckolded him, and hatches a plan to persuade Othello that his wife is unfaithful with Cassio.’
    • ‘Males experience an advantage in sperm competition when cuckolding other males breeding later than themselves.’
    • ‘It's just one deceitful Wasp after another, cuckolding their best friends as they bilk them of their inherited wealth.’
    • ‘The yellow males are ‘sneakers’ because they mimic females and sneak behind the back of orange males to cuckold them, or steal their mate.’
    1. 1.1 (of a man's wife) make (her husband) a cuckold by being sexually unfaithful.
      ‘he was repeatedly cuckolded by his wife Aphrodite’
      • ‘Which sexy starlet who was just caught cuckolding her boyfriend had been cheating on him for years?’
      • ‘He'll be forced to go on living under the care of a woman who's cuckolded him, or find some way to live without his only support.’
      • ‘By retaining her dead husband's name, she is publicly, subliminally cuckolding him with the power of another man.’
      • ‘As you see, this is no simple story about a man who is cuckolded by his wife, but the story of man who chooses not to know what it is too painful for him to accept.’
      • ‘The programme first surfaced in 2001 with each 10-minute episode taking the form of a monologue in which minicab driver Keith would detail how his wife Marion had cuckolded him with her lover Geoff and taken his two children with them.’
      • ‘Rand cuckolded her do-nothing spouse in front of his face and with long, tedious rationalizations with which she forced him to agree.’
      • ‘Desdemona is the innocent victim in Iago's plan of destruction: he causes Othello to believe his wife has cuckolded him with Cassio.’
      • ‘Apparently it's commonplace, when a wife in this country is discovered to be cuckolding a husband, for said husband to press charges, and for the wife to be prosecuted and sent to jail.’
      • ‘While he fears that all women will cuckold their husbands, Eliot's work answers such prevalent misogyny by revealing its other side.’
      • ‘Italian women who stay at home and work while their husbands ogle beauties on the beaches are increasingly cuckolding their spouses.’
      • ‘But when Spartan Princess Helen cuckolds Menelaus with Trojan Prince Paris, warmongering Agamemnon uses it as an excuse for launching an all out war on Troy.’
      • ‘Even the original Vulcan, as connoisseurs of Roman mythology will remember, was a clumsy bore, which is one reason his wife Venus cuckolded him with the more mobile Mars.’
      • ‘He is cuckolded by his wife, Alison, and injured after falling down from the roof in a tub.’
      • ‘Here she isn't the rather selfish and silly queen of legend, cuckolding Arthur with Lancelot.’


Late Old English, from Old French cucuault, from cucu ‘cuckoo’ (from the cuckoo's habit of laying its egg in another bird's nest). The equivalent words in French and other languages applied to both the bird and the adulterer; cuckold has never been applied to the bird in English.