Home > Letter C >


First attested in Samuel Rowland's 1600 The Letting of Humours Blood in the Head-Vaine as "a Bowe-bell Cockney", from Middle English cokenay (a spoiled child; a milksop, an effeminate man), used in the 16th c. by English country folk as a term of disparagement for city dwellers, of uncertain etymology. Possibly from Middle English cokeney (a small, misshapen egg), from coken (cocks') + ey (egg) or from Cockney and Cocknay, variants of Cockaigne, a mythical land of luxury (first attested in 1305) eventually used as a humorous epithet of London. Compare cocker (to spoil a child).