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From Middle English cokkou, probably from Old French cucu (whence French coucou); ultimately onomatopoeic, perhaps via Latin cucūlus (cuckoo). Displaced native Old English ġēac (> modern English yeke, yek (cuckoo)).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkʊk.uː/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkuː.kuː/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: cuc‧koo


cuckoo (countable and uncountable, plural cuckoos)

  1. Any of various birds, of the family Cuculidae, famous for laying its eggs in the nests of other species; but especially the common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, that has a characteristic two-note call.
  2. The sound of that particular bird.
  3. The bird-shaped figure found in cuckoo clocks.
  4. The cuckoo clock itself.
  5. A person who inveigles themselves into a place where they should not be (used especially in the phrase a cuckoo in the nest).
  6. (slang) Someone who is crazy.
  7. Alternative form of coo-coo (Barbadian food)

Related termsEdit



cuckoo (third-person singular simple present cuckoos, present participle cuckooing, simple past and past participle cuckooed)

  1. To make the call of a cuckoo.
  2. To repeat something incessantly. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
    Synonym: parrot



cuckoo (comparative more cuckoo, superlative most cuckoo)

  1. (slang) Crazy; not sane.
    I think I'm going cuckoo!

Derived termsEdit