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, 2012 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, 2012 at 23:06
  • 3
    Imaginary? Little girls only? Damn! And I've been applying anti-cootie lotion every day for decades.
    – Drew
    Mar 4, 2016 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, 2016 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, 2017 at 22:37

5 Answers 5


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, 2013 at 0:48
  • 1
    Cooties (Wikipedia) do not apply only to girls.
    – Drew
    Mar 4, 2016 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, 2016 at 16:57
  • 1
    louses -> lice
    – Drew
    Mar 4, 2016 at 17:37
  • Mais tu comprends bien que les "cooties" en anglais, ils ne indiquent pas une vraie infestation en ce moment? Mar 8, 2016 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.

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