Etymology
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cuckoo (n.)

European bird noted for its love-note cry and notorious for parasitism, c. 1300, cokkou (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French cocu "cuckoo," also "cuckold," echoic of the male bird's mating cry (compare Greek kokkyx, Latin cuculus, Middle Irish cuach, Sanskrit kokilas).

Slang adjectival sense of "crazy" is American English, 1918, but noun meaning "stupid person" is recorded by 1580s, perhaps from the bird's unvarying, oft-repeated call. The Old English name was ʒeac, cognate with Old Norse gaukr, source of Scottish and northern English gowk, which also has insulting senses. The Germanic words presumably originally were echoic, too, but had drifted in form. Cuckoo-clock is from 1789.

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kooky (adj.)

1959, American English, originally teenager or beatnik slang, possibly a shortening of cuckoo.

Using the newest show-business jargon, Tammy [Grimes] admits, "I look kooky," meaning cuckoo. [Life magazine, Jan. 5, 1959]

Related: Kookily; kookiness.

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cuckold (n.)

derisive name for a man whose wife is false to him, "husband of an adulteress," early 13c., kukewald, cokewold, from Old French cucuault, from cocu (see cuckoo) + pejorative suffix -ault, of Germanic origin. So called from the female bird's alleged habit of changing mates, or her authentic habit of leaving eggs in another bird's nest.

In Modern French the identity is more obvious: Coucou for the bird and cocu for the betrayed husband. German Hahnrei (13c.), from Low German, is of obscure origin. The second element seems to be connected to words for "ardent," and suggests perhaps "sexually aggressive hen," with transferal to humans, but Kluge suggests rather a connection to words for "capon" and "castrated." The female equivalent, cuckquean, is attested by 1560s.

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Cloud Cuckoo Land 

imaginary city built in air, 1830, translating Aristophanes' Nephelokokkygia in "The Birds" (414 B.C.E.). Cloud-land "place above the earth or away from the practical things of life, dreamland, the realm of fancy" is attested from 1840.

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coo (v.)

1660s, "to utter a low, plaintive, murmuring sound," echoic of doves. Compare, in the same sense, Danish kurre, German girren; also Hindi kuku "the cooing of a dove," Persian huhu "a dove," and see cuckoo.

Meaning "to utter by cooing" is from 1798. Meaning "to converse affectionately, make love in murmuring endearments" is from 1816. Related: Cooing. The noun is recorded from 1729.

What are you doing now,
   Oh Thomas Moore?
What are you doing now,
   Oh Thomas Moore?
Sighing or suing now,
Rhyming or wooing now,
Billing or cooing now,
   Which, Thomas Moore? 
[Lord Byron, from "To Thomas Moore," 1816]
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gowk (n.)
"cuckoo," early 14c., from Old Norse gaukr, from Proto-Germanic *gaukoz (source also of Old English geac "cuckoo," Old High German gouh). Meaning "fool" attested from c. 1600.
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ani (n.)
black bird of the cuckoo family native to the American tropics, 1829, from Spanish or Portuguese ani, from Tupi.
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echoic (adj.)

1880; see echo (n.) + -ic. A word from the OED.

Onomatopoeia, in addition to its awkwardness, has neither associative nor etymological application to words imitating sounds. It means word-making or word-coining and is strictly as applicable to Comte's altruisme as to cuckoo. Echoism suggests the echoing of a sound heard, and has the useful derivatives echoist, echoize, and echoic instead of onomatopoetic, which is not only unmanageable, but when applied to words like cuckoo, crack, erroneous; it is the voice of the cuckoo, the sharp sound of breaking, which are onomatopoetic or word-creating, not the echoic words which they create. [James A.H. Murray, Philological Society president's annual address, 1880]
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Picus (n.)

woodpecker genus, from Latin picus "woodpecker," from PIE root *(s)peik- "woodpecker, magpie" (source also of Umbrian peica "magpie," Sanskrit pikah "Indian cuckoo," Old Norse spætr, German Specht "woodpecker"); possibly from PIE root *pi-, denoting the pointedness of the beak. 

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road-runner (n.)

"long-tailed crested desert cuckoo, the chaparral-cock," 1847, American English, from road (n.) + runner. Earliest references give the Mexican Spanish name for it as correcamino and the English name might be a translation of that. The Warner Bros. cartoon character dates to 1948.

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