Cocky is also an Australian slang word for "farmer", especially a rich farmer.

For example, one could say "This boarding school is full of nothing but North Shore kids and cockies' sons."

One can speak of a "bush cocky" or a "wheat cocky" or a "pig cocky," in combination with any kind of farming.

This term probably has its roots in yet another Australian word shortening, that of cockatoo to cocky, although the etymology is far from certain, and often debated.

"Cocky" is the name of the mascot for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks since 1980. The previous mascot was the character "Big Spur," supposedly Cocky's father. Cocky is a red gamecock/rooster with black legs and a black jersey (garnet and black are the university's colors) and a yellow beak and legs. Apparently Cocky won some sort of mascot competition twice since he's become the USC mascot: the university's athletic website says he "captured National Championship titles as the No. 1 mascot in 1986 and 1994." In February 2002, he even appeared in an Anheuser-Busch ad with other mascots, urging people not to drink and drive. "Old World Christmas" even offers a figurine of Cocky making a snowman who resembles himself.

So, doesn't USC realize how innuendo-laden references to Cocky and the Gamecocks can become? Probably. Though the Gamecocks name for the teams dates back to the early 1900s, "Cocky" was named recently enough that the modern connotation of "cock" was probably considered. I have seen bumper stickers on cars in Columbia, South Carolina that proclaimed "God must love Carolina 'cause he made so many Cocks!" A current South Carolina resident's website records such merchandise as:

"even the simple black shirt with white lettering, reading, "You Can't Lick Our Cocks." Hats, notebooks, shirts, pins, bumper stickers, and so many more things are covered with these phallic sayings. Even the scuba club and football team have gotten into this with their own shirts saying such things as "Wet Cocks Go Deeper--Always Go Down With A Buddy" and "Iron Cocks." As one of my friends pointed out, if USC (my USC) went up against USC (University of Southern California) it would be a VERY phallic game--the Cocks versus the Trojans. Personally, I would love to see that game, if for nothing more than for the banners each side could come up with to cheer their team on. Maybe it's something that both universities should look into for a good athletics fundraiser."
So apparently fans find the double entendre amusing. (PETA's brief campaign in 2001 to persuade the school to call its teams something besides the Gamecocks probably made most fans even stubborner about keeping the old name. PETA's letter was placed with other 2001 memorabilia in a time capsule to be opened in 2051.)


I never really thought about the etymological root of the word cocky until my family got chickens. Five hens and one rooster who I named Maurice. Interacting with Maurice has been an interesting experience in inter-species communication. Chickens are not, on a whole, very smart and its possible to see certain individual cognitive glitches in their behavior, my favorite being that it takes them a very long time to understand that just because they can see through chicken wire doesn't mean they can walk through chicken wire. I have to assume the part of their visual cortex that handles environmental navigation tags areas above a certain opacity as not obstructed for the same reason we as humans wouldn't expect to be blocked by tall grass. It's a more useful heuristic when dealing with foliage than a metal lattice and I've watched several hens wander back and forth in front of the same two feet of fence as though a hole will reveal itself if they just kept at it.

Another glitch I've witnessed is that Maurice thinks he needs to fight me. This was funny the first dozen times but at this point it's kind of a routine for him. I know for a fact that this is not a universal response. I've seen him run from dogs, horses, and me when I wear a rain poncho which apparently breaks up my profile enough that I no longer register as a human. He understands self-preservation. He ignores squirrels even when they eat the chicken food. Yet, he insists on attacking me when I get between him and the hens, or when I walk too close to him, or just when he's in a bad mood. What's more, he acts like he's just picking at food when he's planning to attack, actually employing weak deception. That may sound like my overactive imagination but the process is fairly easy to recognize when he's doing it because he makes slow but persistent progress towards me and never lets me out of his field of vision. It's actually funny because it says a lot about chicken psychology that he thinks I can't recognize feigned nonchalance.

What galls me is that on some level he has to believe that he and I are on the same level, that I fit into the chicken social fabric and that I represent some sort of threat to his dominance. This is really weird to me. I'm four times his height and thirty times his weight and yet somehow he still thinks I'm in the pecking order. How? Why? What makes me worthy of his fowl machinations? The only thing I can think of is that I'm the only challenge he's ever know and that's really all there is to it. It's almost enough to make me feel bad for kicking his butt every time. Almost.


Cocky is a slang term used in the USA and UK to mean 'acting above one's station', 'arrogant', 'bold', or 'impudent'. It is not necessarily an insult, but does suggest that one's opinion of oneself does not match the reality.

While this is indeed derived from the attitude and bearing of a male chicken, the double entendre tying it to the male genitalia is apparent. This may explain why it is used most often to refer to males.

Cock"y (?), a. [See Cocket.]




© Webster 1913.

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