cuckold

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English[edit]

Ca. 1815 French satire on cuckoldry, which shows both men and women wearing horns.
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Etymology[edit]

Derived from Old French cucuault; a compound of cucu ("cuckoo"; some varieties of the cuckoo bird lay their eggs in another’s nest) and Old French -auld. Cucu is either a directly derived onomatopoeic derivative of the cuckoo's call, or from Latin cuculus. Latin cuculus is a compound of onomatopoeic cucu (compare Late Latin cucus) and the diminutive suffix -ulus. -auld is from Frankish *-wald (similar suffixes are used in some personal names within other Germanic languages as well; confer English Harold, for instance), a suffixal note of Frankish *wald (power, mastery, dominion), from Proto-Germanic *waldą (might, power, authority), from *waldaną (to rule), from Proto-Indo-European *wal- (to be strong). Appears in Middle English in noun form circa 1250 as cokewald. First known use of the verb form is 1589.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cuckold (plural cuckolds)

  1. A man married to an unfaithful wife, especially when he is unaware or unaccepting of the fact.
  2. A West Indian plectognath fish, Rhinesomus.
  3. The cowfish, Acanthostracion quadricornis and allied species.

Usage notes[edit]

  • This was a standard comic figure in medieval and Shakespearean drama.

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Verb[edit]

cuckold (third-person singular simple present cuckolds, present participle cuckolding, simple past and past participle cuckolded)

  1. (transitive) To make a cuckold of someone by being unfaithful, or by seducing his wife.

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