Slang of the Week: cooties
An imaginary communicable disease or parasitic insect suffered by children
Until he met Sandy in junior high school, Bob thought all girls had
“Kissing Brad (Pitt) was so uncomfortable for me. I remember saying
in interviews that I thought it was gross, that Brad had cooties.
I mean, I was ten.”
-Kirsten Dunst, remembering her childhood performance in Interview with
Cooties used to be something pretty specific - body
lice or head lice. The term came into use around the time of the First
World War, when many soldiers undoubtedly suffered from them. But this
meaning was lost over time.
Many decades later, when I got to first grade, no one knew what cooties
really were. We just knew that they were really bad and that many undesirable
people, especially members of the opposite sex, were infested with them.
Getting to close to someone who had them was a serious social risk, as
they were easy to catch.
Girls invested (and still invest) a lot of time in making cootie
catchers out of folded paper, which were apparently used at one
time to catch cooties as they fell from someone's head.
This custom had also died out by my school days and cootie catchers
were used exclusively for telling fortunes.
The primary cure for cooties is adulthood. While being
interviewed by a cow this spring on Nickelodeon, Brad Pitt was asked about
the horrors of getting cooties from kissing his film
costars. He responded by saying, “"Cooties
are all right. I don't know where this myth started. Cooties
are okay." Or perhaps he just thinks they're okay because Kirsten
Dunst said he had them.
What’s new at Slang City?
Watch out Net Nanny! It’s the Adult
Slang Picture Dictionary. Find everything you always wanted to know
about sex related slang and more than you wanted to know about yellow
rubber ducks in this X-Rated guide. WARNING: FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.
MUST BE 18 TO ENTER!
Slang City Bookstore
This month, our pick is Slayer Slang - A Buffy
the Vampire Slayer Lexicon. Written for fans of the cult TV show and
other lovers of the cool undead, it contains vampire slang and all kinds
of quotes and inside information. Check it out!
NEW! Now you can get Red Devil T-shirts and bags at the Slang
City Gift Shop! Our cute "bad word" mascot makes for high