This is the latest installment (after a one week delay due to sickness!) of our weekly series, The Language of the Blues, in which author/rocker Debra Devi explores the meaning of a word or phrase found in the blues. Grab a signed copy of Devi’s award-winning book The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to ZuZu (Foreword by Dr. John) at Bluescentric.com. Also available on Amazon Kindle. “One of the wittiest, bawdiest, most fascinating dictionaries ever.” (Reuters)
Coochie is blues slang for “vagina.” Hoochie is slang for “whore” or “hooker.” In the blues, coochie is also used as a verb, as in: “I got a girl across town/she coochies all the time.” A hoochie-coochie dancer is a stripper, and a hoochie-coochie man is a pimp.
The sound “cu” has been associated with femininity and fertility even before the development of written language. Slang terms for vagina, such as cooch, coot, and cooze, all derive from this ancient syllable. It’s also the root for “cow” and “cove” and for words that mean “knowledge,” such as the Middle English word “cunne.” This is why one can be cunning, can conceive both an idea and a baby–and can engage in cunnilingus!
Hoochie is probably derived from hooch, which is slang for moonshine. Hooch is named for the Hoochinoo tribe of Alaska, known for its potent homemade brew. It wasn’t much of a leap from hooch to hoochie, and from there for some wit to rhyme hoochie with coochie.
Songs: “Broken-Hearted, Ragged, and Dirty Too”- Sleepy John Estes (John Adam Estes) “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” – Willie Dixon “J.C. Johnson’s Blues”- T.C. Johnson
Video: Muddy Waters – “Hoochie Coochie Man”