cooee

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Dharug guuu-wi adopted into English by white settlers in Australia from 1790.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: ko͞o'ē, IPA(key): /ˈkuːiː/
    In making the call, the first syllable may be quite elongated; the second is relatively short.

Noun[edit]

cooee (plural cooees)

  1. (Australia, informal, onomatopoeia) A long, loud call used to attract attention when at a distance, mainly done in the Australian bush.
    • 2002, Andrew Parkin, A Thing Apart, page 195,
      I call out, “Coo-ee” with long Coo and short ee like whip-bird call. Everybody in my mob know my cooee. Any one of my mob hear that, they give me cooee back.
      I listen.
      No cooee come back.
    • 2006, Saskia Beudel, Walking: West MacDonnell Ranges 2002, in Drusilla Modjeska, The Best Australian Essays 2006, page 309,
      Just as I was preparing to write in my exercise book, I heard a cooee. Cooees were not part of the code.
  2. (Australia, informal, with "within", also figuratively) A short distance; hailing distance.
    • 1996, australian House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates Australia, Volume 207, page 1469,
      That is not within cooee of 10 per cent; it is much closer to six per cent.
    • 1999, Tony Shillitoe, Joy Ride, page 136,
      We were carless, in the dark, and no one to help within cooee.

Verb[edit]

cooee (third-person singular simple present cooees, present participle cooeeing, simple past and past participle cooeed)

  1. (intransitive, Australia, informal) To make such a call.
    • 2001, Robert Holden, Nicholas Holden, Bunyips: Australia's Folklore of Fear, page 65,
      ‘Look out for snakes,’ said Long Charlie, flourishing his lantern. ‘And don′t all of us be coo-eeing all the time, or when the little chap sings out we shan't be able to hear him.’
    • 2003, Les Hughes, A Young Australian Pioneer: Henry Mundy, page 225,
      Slipping out of the tail of the dray, I cooeed as loud as I could which was answered.
    • 2006, Saskia Beudel, Walking: West MacDonnell Ranges 2002, in Drusilla Modjeska, The Best Australian Essays 2006, page 310,
      I cooeed back. Another cooee came in what seemed to be a reply. I cooeed again.

Interjection[edit]

cooee

  1. (informal, chiefly Australia, UK) Used to attract someone's attention.
    Cooee! I'm over here!
    • 1894, Temple Bar, Volume 183, page 587,
      Then, raising her hands to her lips she utters a long, loud, piercing " Cooee ! "
      " Coo — ee ! " comes back over the black waters.
    • 2001, June E. Barker, First Platypus, Gaygar—The Little Mother Duck, in Helen F. McKay (editor), Pauline E. McLeod, Francis Firebrace Jones, June E. Barker, Gadi Mirrabooka: Australian Aboriginal Tales from the Dreaming, page 58,
      Gaygar could hear her people cooee out to her, "COOEE, GAYGAR! COOEE, GAYGAR!" they would cry.

Synonyms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. M. W. Dixon, Australian Aboriginal Words, Oxford University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-19-553099-3, page 208.