DARE-STRACTION – Cohooter

A localised phrase from the Dictionary of American Regional English (Harvard Uni Press)

Cohooter:  (co var of ker & hooter  = noisemaker)

1 n. A sentinel for a flock of passenger pigeons

  • 1930 American Speech – (passenger pigeons) disappeared here about the middle seventies, and this word died out with them…. The pigeons fed in large flocks.. When feeding.. a flock would have from one to several old cock-pigeons posed on tall dead pines near by, watching. These birds kept up a constant calling, known from the sound as ‘cohootering’ and the sentinels were called ‘cohooters’.

2. n. A busy voluble leader in community affairs

  • 1930 American Speech – Fifty years ago in the central part of Maine, a person who made himself prominent in local matters was commonly spoken of as a ‘cohooter’. ‘Down to the Methodis’ old Deacon Blank is the head-co-hooter’ but the term was oftenest used of men, and of men who talked more than they worked, in my recollection. The word had nothing to do with the phrase ‘to be in cahoots with’. There was nothing derogatory about it save the whimsical implications that the person mentioned was both seen and heard.. it was about equivalent to the ‘bell-wether of the flock’. The people, on Penobscot.. applied the name to their neighbours who made more noise than they did work, and particular to those who in the prayer-meetings were constant exhorters.

3 v. verb of cohooter (2nd definition) – to go cohootering around – talking constantly and to little purpose

Mainly: Maine and surrounding areas.

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