"amorous, flirtatious person, one who seeks to be romantically attractive out of vanity," 1690s, originally of both sexes (as it was in French), from French coquet "a beau," literally "a little cock" (17c.), diminutive of coq "cock" (see cock (n.1)). A figurative reference to its strut or its lust. The distinction from fem. coquette began c. 1700, and use of the earlier word in reference to males has since faded. As a verb, "to act the lover," from 1701. Related: Coqueting.