Enter your email address to subscribe to the blog by email. The OED’s etymology makes sense, because being in on a scheme with someone is like being holed up in the same small cabin—much as we might use “in the same boat.”. The OED’s only two citations for the usage are from the 1500s (the earliest is a 1508 reference to a “foule cahute”). Probably from French cahute. It comes perhaps from French cahute (“ cabin ”), from Old French [Term? The word “cahoot” apparently continued to be used in the singular for a couple of generations. This page was last edited on 23 September 2020, at 04:12. It’s from a speech delivered by an Ohio congressman, Alexander Duncan, on the floor of the House in February 1839: “Only think of this! In cahoots definition is - working together or making plans together in secret —usually + with. as hiding out in a grimy hut and plotting together. This page was last edited on 11 October 2019, at 10:50. Where was “cahute” or “cahoot” for that missing 250 years or so between 1553 and the early 1800s? Q: I can’t seem to find the origin of the phrase “in cahoots.” Any idea? This leaves us a bit up in the air. A: One reason you can’t find the origin of “in cahoots” is that the origin has never been definitively pinned down. [Note: This post was updated on Jan. 7, 2020. ], possibly blend of cabane (“ cabin ”), and hutte (“ hut ”). Where was “cahute” or “cahoot” for that missing 250 years or so between 1553 and the early 1800s? Grammar, etymology, usage, and more, brought to you by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window). CAHOOTS Meaning: "company, partnership," 1829, Southern and Western American English, of unknown origin; said [OED] to be… See definitions of cahoots. The French word, with the French meaning, was adopted into Scots English in the 16th century, but “cahute” was short-lived in English and is now labeled obsolete. The first known use of the term in this sense appeared in the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle on June 20, 1827: “I ha’nt read newspapers for nothing–Gin’ral Government and the ministration are going in cahoot to undermine and overrule the undertakings of the free People of Georgia.” (This early sighting was reported in 2016 by the linguist Ben Zimmer. ), The OED’s first citation comes from Chronicles of Pineville, a collection of sketches about backwoods Georgia by William T. Thompson from the early 1800s (specific date unknown): “I wouldn’t swar he wasn’t in cahoot with the devil.”, The dictionary’s next quotation is from Samuel Kirkham’s English Grammar in Familiar Lectures (1829): “Hese in cohoot with me.” (Kirkham lists it among provincialisms to be avoided.). Etymology . The one favored by the Oxford English Dictionary is that English got the expression from the Scots, with a little help from the French. cahoot (third-person singular simple present cahoots, present participle cahooting, simple past and past participle cahooted), Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary, Gineral Government and the ministration are going in, Nay, we feel so pleasant a humour, at the recovery of the stolen articles, that we are really disposed to extend our forgiveness to the whole ", This particular day he set the scene by arranging with his, Intelligent and power loving Indraprabha took the advantage and agreed to become his, https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=cahoot&oldid=60475324, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The OED says the “cahoot” in the expression is “probably” from the French cahute, meaning a cabin or a poor hut. This word was used in popular English literature in the early nineteenth century. If you are an old subscriber and not getting posts, please subscribe again. This word was used in popular English literature in the early nineteenth century. For … The OED notes that others have suggested an origin in the French cohorte, the source of the English “cohort,” which originally meant a band of soldiers. The OED’s etymology makes sense, because being in on a scheme with someone is like being holed up in the same small cabin—much as we might use “in the same boat.” There’s only one problem with this explanation. fr. F cahute cabin, hut} (1829) : PARTNERSHIP, LEAGUE — usu. But apart from the resemblance between “cohort” and “cahoot,” we haven’t found any evidence that would connect the dots and support that theory. The site has become a favorite resource of teachers of reading, spelling, and English as a second language. Meaning alternately companions, confederates, partners and/or conspirators, in cahoots is a phrase used to describe a situation where people are working together, often on an illegal, immoral, secret and/or unethical scheme. But we’d like to think the OED is right, and imagine people “in cahoots” (old coots, perhaps?) How to use cahoot in a sentence. Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield discuss the etymology and history of the phrase in cahoots with Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer. ", cahoots pl (normally plural, singular cahoot), Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary, collusion or collaboration to nefarious ends, “They probably give it back to him; they're all in, Third-person singular simple present indicative form of, https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=cahoots&oldid=55019384, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. It is professional enough to satisfy academic standards, but accessible enough to be used by anyone. Cahoot definition is - partnership, league —usually used in plural. ], possibly blend of cabane (“cabin”), and hutte (“hut”). Did You Know? (uncommon) A group of people working together (usually for an illicit purpose) 1827 September 15, The Wanderer, “Barney Blinn”, in Norwalk Reporter and Huron Advertiser‎[1], Norwalk, OH, page 4: Gineral Government and the ministration are going in cahoot to undermine and overrule the undertakings of the free people of Georgia. As for the word “cahoot” itself, it is defined as a “partnership, league.” As it happens, there’s another theory about the source of “cahoot.”. And the next, with the usual spelling, is from the Congressional Globe, predecessor of the Congressional Record. A rank Abolition Whig from the North in ‘cahoot’ with a rank anti-Abolition Whig from the South.”. used in pl. The word (if indeed it’s the same one) reappeared as “cahoot” in early 19th-century America, where the phrase “in cahoot” meant in partnership or in league with. {they're in cahoots} But an early reference work that listed the word—John Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms (1848)—lists a different etymology: CAHOOT. Earlier cahoot. There’s only one problem with this explanation. The online etymology dictionary is the internet's go-to source for quick and reliable accounts of the origin and history of English words, phrases, and idioms. How to use in cahoots in a sentence. The OED’s first citation for the plural “cahoots” is from a manuscript diary of G. K. Wilder (1862): “Mc wished me to go in cahoots in a store.” And “cahoots” it’s been ever since. Also thought to be from French cohorte, or a slang form of English cohort in the meaning "accomplice. Earlier cahoot. It comes perhaps from French cahute (“cabin”), from Old French [Term? See cahoots. ], Check out our books about the English language. cahoot n {perh.