The Origin of the Word Cootie

by Melissa on January 10, 2017

coot·ie /

ˈko͞otē/

noun North American informal

plural noun: cooties

  1. a louse
  2. a children’s term for an imaginary germ or repellent quality transmitted by obnoxious or slovenly people

While most people are familiar with the imaginary cootie, the history behind the word and its more literal usage is interesting. Initially, cootie was used to refer to as an actual body louse. Reportedly, as far back as the 1920’s, children called actual head lice “cooties.” Using this term to refer to real cases of head lice was still common into the 1960’s especially since no natural head lice treatments were yet available to help identify and fix the outbreak.

In Malay, a language of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean, the word kutu refers to a parasitic biting insect. It is thought that the word cootie originates from this family of languages. British soldiers in the First World War were the first to record the word cootie to refer to a louse. The term cooties was seemingly popularized in the U.S in the 1950’s by military personnel who had returned from service alongside the British, in the South Pacific.

By the 1970’s, the literal application of cooties was fading and the reference to the invisible contaminant little boys had (if you were a girl) or little girls had (if you were a boy), was taking over. The fictional cooties disease can be “caught” through bodily contact or by being in close proximity to an already “infected” person. People you don’t like because of some generally repulsive qualities may also be the sad victims of cooties.

Any way the word is used, cooties are not pleasant. People don’t want to have them.

This background explains the name chosen for the Happyheads’ line of natural lice prevention products. Happyheads Scootie-Cootie products include:

  • Happyheads Scootie-Cootie Organic Shampoo
  • Happyheads Scootie-Cootie Leave-In Conditioner & Detangler
  • Happyheads Scootie-Cootie Nontoxic Spray/Shield

Happyheads Scootie-Cootie products are an effective, all natural lice treatment that aids in repelling and deterring the transmission of head lice. These homeopathic lice treatments are safe for the whole family.

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