"cootie" Australian slang? 1917-18?

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Mon Jul 6 08:17:22 UTC 2009

FWIW, unverified google-snippetwise, putatively from The Marines
Magazine vol. 3, 1917 p. 60 [col. 1](NYPL has v.3 as Dec. 1917-Nov. 1918; a
running head shows The Marines Magazine, though the small title page image does
not look right:

and the men there sooner or later have experiences with 'cooties,' which is
trench lingo for plain, ordinary louse of the grayback variety. These foreign
"cooties" seem to have exceedingly sharp teeth or some instrument of warfare
that makes a mosquito bite seem mild in comparison.
If a "cootie"--the word, I believe, is Australian slang and may have been
brought here from the Antipodes...
{same page?:]
Suddenly a 'cootie' made its presence known in the small of his back and he ...
...Lester Elliott, an Australian who saw service at Gallipoli and on the Somme,
is now in this country on a tour assisting in recruiting and in Red Cross work.

Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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