Thursday, 19 August 2010


Once upon a time there was cokes meaning "A silly fellow, fool, ninny; a simpleton, one easily ‘taken in’", possibly related to cockney. The phrase make a cokes of appeared to be shorted to cokes, later spelled coax. The OED:

f. COKES n. According to Johnson 1755-73, ‘a low word’, and probably in vulgar use long before it became usual in literature, which may account for want of literary evidence for the early history of the senses. The original meaning seems to have been ‘make a cokes of’: cf. to fool, to pet, to gull; and the transition from ‘make a fool of’ to ‘make a pet of’, is paralleled by the passage of fond from ‘befooled’ to its present sense.


Adam Roberts said...

When I saw the post title I read it first-off as an Aristophanic reference to the 'co-ax' sound his Frogs make.

goofy said...

"co-ax" makes me think of coaxial cable.

Amelia said...

How interesting!

These days the word "coax" is in fashion, we all use it but we certainly do not know how this word was coined.

We also deal with very interesting topics related to translation in our blog:

We would like to get your insights on some of our posts.