Kook (1960)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Oct 27 00:53:06 UTC 2005

>I just came across (still cleaning this mess of a home, under orders of new
>occupant) TRUE, November 1966, pg. 92, col. 2: "It stems from the Hawaiian
>word  'Kukai' which means excrement. Surfers picked up the term and
>applied it to
>  troublemakers and hangers-on who never went near the water. Its popularity
>spread and it now denotes all offbeats and deadbeats."
>Interesting, but I'll still go with "cuckoo."

seems safe enough, but if you're feeling more adventurous, HDAS also
sports a "cf. KOOKABOO" under _KOOK_, which in turn is glossed as 'a
crazy person' and is a "poss. alter. of _kookaburra_ 'Australian bird
whose call resembles human laughter', infl. by CUCKOO".  I guess the
"kookaburra" part is there because of the K in KOOK.


>[prob. abbrev. of _CUCKOO_
>uckoo&ps=a.)  a. or  _CUCKOO_
>d=cuckoo&ps=n.)  n.  3.]
>1. A  cranky, crazy, or eccentric person. Freq. attrib. or as adj.
>1960  Daily Mail 22 Aug.  4/5 A kook, Daddy-O, is a screwball who is 'gone'
>farther than  most. 1963  Time 4 Oct. 37 'Don't think that  just because he
>talked about those way-out rockets he's a kook,' cautioned a  fellow officer.
>1964  Economist 28 Nov. 969/2  Thousands of 'beatniks, kooks, and crackpots'.
>1965  _J.  POTTS_ (http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-p3.html#j-potts)
>Only Good Secretary (1966) ii. 26 Max is kind of a kook. He paints these kooky
>pictures. 1968  _MRS. L. B.  JOHNSON_
>White House Diary 18 Jan. (1970) 623 Mrs.
>Hughes..said..'I think that anybody who takes pot because  there is
>a war on is a kook.'
>1968  N.Y. Times 26 Mar. 32 'Has it  ever occurred to you that the kook
>market has grown?' said a United States auto  executive when asked
>to explain the
>growing sales of foreign cars. 1970  E. R. JOHNSON  God Keepers (1971) xv. 166
>It's  a kook clique all right. It's..a happy place. That's kooks to you cops.
>1971  Black World June 67/1 These  marchers were all probably a bunch of kooks
>like Harry always said. 1973  Publishers Weekly 25 June 68/1 A  bona fide
>kook who is never quite able to get in gear till he finally dies  paddling his
>canoe across the Atlantic.
>2.  orig. U.S. A novice, or one who is inexpert, in surf-riding. Also
>1961  in Amer. Speech (1962) XXXVII. 150.  1966  Surfer VII. 9 This letter is
>to  protest about dumb kook girls out in the water. Ibid. 17 All most of
>[these surfers] are is a bunch of loud-mouthed kooks  who come down here and
>clutter up the beach. Ibid. 39 Malibu..was also the birthplace of
>the 'kook box',
>that  monstrosity known as the poor man's paddle board. 1971  Studies in
>English (Univ. of Cape Town) II. 25 The reason for this reticence is
>that surfers
>wish to  differentiate themselves from kooks, who surf badly.
>New York Times (1857-Current  file). New York, N.Y.: Feb 28, 1960. p. SM94 (1
>_kook._ One who is cuckoo; a nut.
>_Article  7 -- No Title; Cool--and Dedicated _
>JOHN FINK.  Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963). Chicago, Ill.: Nov  12, 1960.
>p. C6 (2 pages)
>...some call "kooks"--strange in look and  behavior--...

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