Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Cockney \Cock"ney\, a. Of or relating to, or like, cockneys.
Cockney \Cock"ney\ (k[o^]k"n[y^]), n.; pl. Cockneys (-n[i^]z). [OE. cocknay, cokenay, a spoiled child, effeminate person, an egg; prob. orig. a cock's egg, a small imperfect egg; OE. cok cock + nay, neye, for ey egg (cf. Newt), AS. [ae]g. See 1st Cock, Egg, n.]
An effeminate person; a spoilt child. ``A young heir or cockney, that is his mother's darling.''
This great lubber, the world, will prove a cockney.
A native or resident of the city of London, especially one living in the East End district; -- sometimes used contemptuously.
A cockney in a rural village was stared at as much as if he had entered a kraal of Hottentots.
the distinctive dialect of a cockney.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
c.1600, usually said to be from rare Middle English cokenei, cokeney "spoiled child, milksop" (late 14c.), originally cokene-ey "cock's egg" (mid-14c.). Most likely disentangling of the etymology is to start from Old English cocena "cock's egg" -- genitive plural of coc "cock" + æg "egg" -- medieval term for "runt of a clutch," extended derisively c.1520s to "town dweller," gradually narrowing thereafter to residents of a particular neighborhood in the East End of London. Liberman, however, disagrees:\n\n[I]n all likelihood, not the etymon of ME cokeney 'milksop, simpleton; effeminate man; Londoner,' which is rather a reshaping of [Old French] acoquiné 'spoiled' (participle). However, this derivation poses some phonetic problems that have not been resolved.\n\nThe accent so called from 1890, but the speech peculiarities were noted from 17c. As an adjective in this sense, from 1630s.
a. From the East End of London, or London generally n. 1 (context UK slang English) Any Londoner. 2 (context UK English) A Londoner born within earshot of the city's Bow Bells, or (context now generically English) any working-class Londoner. n. The dialect or accent of such Londoners.
adj. characteristic of Cockneys or their dialect; "cockney vowels"
relating to or resembling a cockney; "Cockney street urchins"
n. a native of the east end of London
the nonstandard dialect of natives of the east end of London
The term cockney has had several distinct geographical, social, and linguistic associations. Originally a pejorative term applied to all city-dwellers, it was eventually restricted to Londoners and particularly to the "Bow-bell Cockneys": those born within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow in the Cheapside district of the City of London. More recently, it is variously used to refer to those in London's East End, or to all working-class Londoners generally.
Linguistically, cockney English refers to the accent or dialect of English traditionally spoken by working-class Londoners. In recent years, many aspects of cockney English have become part of general South East English speech, producing a variant known as estuary English.
A Cockney is a working-class inhabitant of London. This and other similar terms may also mean:
- In Australia, a cocknie is a young Australasian snapper fish smaller than legal size
- Konkani people, an ethnic group from India
It may also refer to:
- Jesse Cockney (born 1989), Canadian cross-country skier
Usage examples of "cockney".
For, though it was his whim to dine in his rooms alone, and though he had no fixed plans for the evening, Lanyard was too thoroughly cosmopolitan not to do in Cockaigne as the Cockneys do.
His Cockney accent was like balm to Donna after listening to he thick Glaswegian tones of everyone else.
Cockney rhymester, dreaming a phantastic dream at the full of the moon.
Looked at from the outside, even the cockney and the Yorkshireman have a strong family resemblance.
And thou, trim cockney, that jeerest, consider thyself, to whom it may occur to be out in such a scene, and with what steps of a nervous dancing-master it would be thine to play the hunted rat of the elements, for the preservation of the one imagined dryspot about thee, somewhere on thy luckless person!
The radio was announcing a sale on ground round steak and then some old-time rock came on, lush and mystical, cockney voices wailing through a prayer wheel of electric sitars, and we roared past Boston in a low cloud of crematory smoke.
The man struck the opening chords, and in a high barytone, and in a cockney accent that made even the accompanist grin, Ford lifted his voice.
Their form is a ludicrous cockney perversion, but it retains the essence.
Two of them, the big Dutchman, Piet Van Voss, and Lefty Wister, the spidery little Cockney, were snoring in their bunks.
Van Voss and the little Cockney were fugitive criminals, but tough fighting-men.
Nelson, turning in the saddle, glimpsed the dark wolf-shape that was dragging the Cockney from his frantically bucking pony.
The Cockney staggered up, a forearm slashed and bleeding, mouthing curses.
Nelson and Li Kin and the Cockney had their rifles off their saddles and fired at the dark forms charging through the moonlight.
SECRET MISSION 61 The little Cockney had chosen to be the one to accompany Nelson despite the fact that of them all he had the most superstitious horror of the intelligent animals.
He pulled Lefty down after him as the bewildered Cockney drew his gun.