Cooties (occasionally spelled coodies) is an imaginary disease that little boys say little girls have.

  • And what's the subtle difference between Cootie and Coodies?
    – Stamm
    Mar 12 '12 at 19:30
  • @Stamm I'm fairly sure it's just a variant spelling because the /t/ becomes a flap in that word.
    – Circeus
    Mar 12 '12 at 23:06
  • 3
    Imaginary? Little girls only? Damn! And I've been applying anti-cootie lotion every day for decades.
    – Drew
    Mar 4 '16 at 17:36
  • @Drew Si un jeune enfant est infesté de poux et donc infecté de cette grave maladie, est-il destiné à devenir infect plus tard (comme le lien entre la varicelle et le zona)? Punaise, ça expliquerait pas mal de chose, quand même!
    – Papa Poule
    Mar 4 '16 at 23:58
  • I'm older and from the southern USA . This word has been around all my life. Refers to imaginary bugs. Think head lice. Connotes uncleanliness. Usually uttered in jest referring to girl or boy. Jul 8 '17 at 22:37

To the best of my knowledge, there is no such thing as an equivalent to "cooties" in French "childhood culture", either in Europe or North America. You might find references to the other sex being icky, but I have never seen it "formalized" as something like it is in English.


I'm French. The best translation I can think of is (as, apparently, "cooties" is an insult boys use against girls) "les filles c'est nul" or "les filles ça craint" (not "ça craint = it scares" but "ça craint = it's the shame of being with, it's boring". Literary translation would be "les filles c'est des pouilleuses", "the girls are dirty / verminous persons", but it is not something children say in real life. This is too "nasty" and saying that would probably result in the children being scolded by their parents; saying "les filles c'est nul" might make parents smile.

  • 2
    The local variant I heard is des pisseuses, it refers to little girls, but it's not used by little boys, mostly grown-ups, and it's pejorative also. May 27 '13 at 0:48
  • 1
    Cooties (Wikipedia) do not apply only to girls.
    – Drew
    Mar 4 '16 at 17:39

A possible translation for “cooties” (which works for speakers from Québec or Europe) would be « des microbes de fille ».


In French, we would use something like "la touche pas, elle a des poux" (don't touch her, she has lice).

  • I've never heard anything of the sort...
    – Eusebius
    Mar 4 '16 at 16:57
  • 1
    louses -> lice
    – Drew
    Mar 4 '16 at 17:37
  • Mais tu comprends bien que les "cooties" en anglais, ils ne indiquent pas une vraie infestation en ce moment? Mar 8 '16 at 16:13

Je ne connais pas l'expression anglaise, mais en France quand j'étais gamin j'entendais souvent les garçons moquer les filles en les qualifiant de pisseuses.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.