1540s (now obsolete), originally apparently "housewife of a cot," from cot "hut, peasant's hut" (see cottage) + quean"woman." "Thence the transition is easy on the one side to 'one who has the manners of a labourer's wife, rude, ill-mannered woman, vulgar bedlam, scold ...' and on the other to 'a man who acts the housewife.' " These senses -- "rude, ill-mannered woman" and "man who busies himself with affairs which properly belong to women" -- both are attested from 1590s. Related: Cotqueanity.
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