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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Raccoon \Rac*coon"\ (r[a^]k*k[=oo]n"), n. [F. raton, prop., a little rat, fr. rat rat, perhaps of German origin. See Rat.] (Zo["o]l.) A North American nocturnal carnivore ( Procyon lotor) allied to the bears, but much smaller, and having a long, full tail, banded with black and gray. Its body is gray, varied with black and white. Called also coon, and mapach.

Raccoon dog (Zo["o]l.), the tanate.

Raccoon fox (Zo["o]l.), the cacomixle.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

short for raccoon, 1742, American English. It was the nickname of Whig Party members in U.S. c.1848-60, as the raccoon was the party's symbol, and it also had associations with frontiersmen (who stereotypically wore raccoon-skin caps), which probably ultimately was the source of the Whig Party sense (the party's 1840 campaign was built on a false image of wealthy William Henry Harrison as a rustic frontiersman).\n

\nThe insulting U.S. meaning "black person" was in use by 1837, said to be ultimately from Portuguese barracoos "building constructed to hold slaves for sale." No doubt boosted by the enormously popular blackface minstrel act "Zip Coon" (George Washington Dixon) which debuted in New York City in 1834. But it is perhaps older (one of the lead characters in the 1767 colonial comic opera "The Disappointment" is a black man named Raccoon). Coon's age is 1843, American English, probably an alteration of British a crow's age.


n. 1 (context informal chiefly Southern US English) A raccoon. 2 (context racial slur English) A black person. 3 (context informal South Africa English) A person who is a member of a colourfully dressed dancing troupe in Cape Town during New Year celebrations. 4 (context Southern US ethnic slur English) A coonass; a white Acadian French person who lives in the swamps. vb. 1 (context Southern US colloquial English) To hunt racoons. 2 (cx climbing English) To traverse by crawling, as a ledge. 3 (context Southern US colloquial English) To crawl while straddle, especially in crossing a creek. 4 (context Georgia colloquial English) To fish by noodling, by feeling for large fish in underwater holes. 5 (context African American Vernacular English of an African American English) To play the dated stereotype of a black fool for an audience, particularly including Caucasians. 6 (context Southern US colloquial dated English) To steal.

  1. n. an eccentric or undignified rustic; "I'll be a gone coon when the battle starts"

  2. (ethnic slur) offensive name for a Black person; "only a Black can call another Black a nigga" [syn: nigger, nigga, spade, jigaboo, nigra]

  3. North American raccoon [syn: common raccoon, common racoon, ringtail, Procyon lotor]


In Greek mythology, Coön (Κόων, gen. Κόωνος), also known as Cynon , was the eldest son of Antenor who, like most of his brothers, fought and fell in the Trojan War. In the Iliad, he confronted Agamemnon over the body of his brother Iphidamas and wounded the opponent in the arm, but Agamemnon struck back and chopped Coon's head off. The fight between Agamemnon and Coon was depicted on the chest of Cypselus according to Pausanias.

Usage examples of "coon".

Pittsburgh area could no longer make mortgage payments, and foreclosure sales were scheduled, 60 pickets jammed the courthouse to protest the auction, and Allegheny sheriff Eugene Coon halted the proceedings.

Bay she has fifteen cats, mostly Angoras, Persians, and coons, with several dogs.

That is why we shall leave the garrison in Almeida, because its presence will force Lord Wellington to fight on this bank of the Coa and when he does fight we shall destroy him.

And it would begin, with a little cunning from Ducos 6i and his most secret agent, on the banks of the Coa near the fortress of Almeida.

That second road ran through flat country and led to the passable fords that crossed the Coa further south.

It was the road that went to the safe fords across the Coa, the road which went home, the road to security, but all that was left to guard it were the nine squares of infantry, a battery of light guns and the cavalry who had survived the fight south of Poco Velha.

Charles Cavendish into an army encampment on the banks of the Coa river near the fortress of Alineida.

She would not have forgiven him for his behaviour at the Coa bridge, would she.

Pamela almost blurted out that Lizard could stuff coa Puffs up her nose for all she carexl--i was pleasant, they would definitely after day of rain had left her emotionally She was as eager as Lizard to get out of into the sunshine.

They had just marched from the Coa and were looking forward to warm billets, drink, and a meal.

Divisions of the Army of Portugal, reinforced by men from the Army of the Centre and even one division from the Army of the South would cross the Coa, stripped of its defenders from the British Light Division, and they would capture Frenada, possibly Almeida, and hoped even to surprise the Spanish garrison of Ciudad Rodrigo.

In the knock of axes, the plunking of a banjo being tuned, the smell of corn mush and fatback frying, it was not hard to pretend they were all young fellows and good friends assembling for a camp meeting or coon hunt.

The frogs, they dig and scratch in the sand until after while they had a right smart hole, and Brer Coon was down in there.

Hawk Returns 31 VII A Brave Little Bird 35 VIII Uncle Sammy Coon 40 IX A Bag of Corn 44 X Tails and Ears 49 XI Jimmy Rabbit is too Late 53 XII Frisky Visits the Gristmill 57 XIII Fun on the Milldam 62 XIV Mrs.

The coon hunters invite them to a hoedown in the settlement the following night.