This name is of early medieval English origin, and derives from the Middle English "co(a)te" meaning a coot, and was originally given as a nickname to a bald person. The bird was regarded as bald because of the large white patch, an extension of the bill, on its head. The expression "as bald as a cote" has become standard in English. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, or to supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. The surname from this source is first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century (see below), and one William le Coot appears in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of John Coote and Agnes Grace on July 5th 1558, at South Mimms; the marriage of John Coote and Catherine Hale on February 1st 1582; and the christening of Agnes, daughter of Lewes Coote, on February 25th 1598, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Edmund Coote, who flourished around the year 1597 when he published "The English Schoolmaster", a method of learning English, which went through fifty editions before 1704. In the modern idiom the name has a number of spelling variations, these include: Coot, Coote, Cootes and Coots. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald Cote, which was dated 1201, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coot — (k[=oo]t), n. [Cf. D. koet, W. cwtair; cwta short, bodtailed + iar hen; cf. cwtau to dock. Cf. {Cut}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) (a) A wading bird with lobate toes, of the genus {Fulica}. The common European or bald coot is {Fulica atra} (see under {bald});… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coot — [ku:t] n [Date: 1200 1300; Origin: Perhaps from Middle Dutch coet] 1.) a small black and white water bird with a short beak 2.) old coot AmE informal an old man who you think is strange or unpleasant ▪ a miserable, mean old coot …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • coot — c.1300, cote, used for various water fowl (now limited to Fulica atra and, in North America, F. americana), of uncertain origin (Cf. Du. meercoet lake coot ). Meaning silly person, fool is attested from 1766 …   Etymology dictionary

  • coot — ► NOUN 1) (pl. same) an aquatic bird of the rail family with black plumage and a white bill that extends back on to the forehead as a horny shield. 2) (usu. old coot) informal a stupid or eccentric person. ORIGIN probably Dutch or Low German …   English terms dictionary

  • coot — [ko͞ot] n. pl. coots or coot [ME cote < ? MDu koet] 1. any of a genus (Fulica) of ducklike, freshwater birds of the rail family, with long lobed toes ☆ 2. SCOTER 3. Informal an amusing or eccentric old fellow …   English World dictionary

  • coot — [ kut ] noun count a small black bird with a white beak that lives near water …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • coot|ie — «KOO tee», noun. 1. Slang. a louse; body louse. 2. a children s game played by rolling a die to determine who will complete a stylized drawing of a louse. ╂[origin unknown] …   Useful english dictionary

  • Coot — For other uses, see Coot (disambiguation). Coots Eurasian Coot Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Coot — Famille Écoutum La famille Écoutum (Coot Kin en anglais), dans l univers des canards imaginé par la Walt Disney Company[1], constitue principalement l ascendance de Donald Duck. Fondée par Cornélius Écoutum, elle est alliée à la famille Duck par… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • coot — /kooht/, n. 1. any aquatic bird of the genus Fulica, as F. americana, of North America, and F. atra, of the Old World, characterized by lobate toes and short wings and tail. 2. any of various other swimming or diving birds, esp. the scoters. 3.… …   Universalium

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