rooster or/and cock

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Jerome-dong

Senior Member
Chinese-China
Dear all,

I'm a Chinese and we just celebrated the Chinese New Year which is the year of the rooster this year according to Chinese zodiac. I know both rooster and cock mean the same thing when they are referring to male chickens, but I have seen and heard more rooster than cock used when people talk about the year of the rooster/cock in English. According to Longman dictionary, rooster is American and cock British, but even British PM Teresa May used the year of the rooster instead of the year of the cock when she sent her Chinese New Year greetings to Chinese people.

I know that cock also means penis and that's a rude word to use. Is this the reason why cock is less used than rooster? Thanks!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I can imagine aides and speechwriters begging her with tears in their eyes not to say it, because they can imagine the next issue of the Sun or Private Eye: PM WISHES FOR LOTS OF GOOD COCK. PM ENCOURAGES CHINESE TO ENJOY COCK. (Private Eye would put that on a cover cartoon relating to ending the one-child policy.)
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Cock is only considered to be rude by Americans and dim-witted computerised censorship programs (I once contributed to a USA-based website which automatically substituted ****tail dress and where you had to write D!ck Tracy to be understood).

    In Britain we have Cock and Hen public houses, gamecocks, moorcocks, stopcocks, mains water cocks and many others, all in perfect working order, thank you.

    Don't avoid the word at all.
     

    Jerome-dong

    Senior Member
    Chinese-China
    I can imagine aides and speechwriters begging her with tears in their eyes not to say it, because they can imagine the next issue of the Sun or Private Eye: PM WISHES FOR LOTS OF GOOD COCK. PM ENCOURAGES CHINESE TO ENJOY COCK. (Private Eye would put that on a cover cartoon relating to ending the one-child policy.)
    Thanks, entangledbank! So I should avoid using the word cock in the future since it means something not nice? :)
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thanks, PaulQ! Cockerel means young male chicken though.
    Not always in everyday speech it doesn't, it can mean any male chicken.

    Cock is only considered to be rude by Americans and dim-witted computerised censorship programs (I once contributed to a USA-based website which automatically substituted ****tail dress and where you had to write D!ck Tracy to be understood).
    How did that program deal with Scunthorpe...? :D
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    No, I wouldn't avoid it. I'm just saying that the Prime Minister might have had political image reasons for avoiding it. There are numerous words that have double meanings. Some people will always snigger at an innocent use of them.
     

    Jerome-dong

    Senior Member
    Chinese-China
    It's the word itself that's "not nice", not its meaning.:)
    Got you! :)

    No, I wouldn't avoid it. I'm just saying that the Prime Minister might have had political image reasons for avoiding it. There are numerous words that have double meanings. Some people will always snigger at an innocent use of them.
    I think I know what you mean. Thanks, entangledbank!

    Cock is only considered to be rude by Americans and dim-witted computerised censorship programs (I once contributed to a USA-based website which automatically substituted ****tail dress and where you had to write D!ck Tracy to be understood).

    In Britain we have Cock and Hen public houses, gamecocks, moorcocks, stopcocks, mains water cocks and many others, all in perfect working order, thank you.

    Don't avoid the word at all.
    Thanks, Keith!
     
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    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    Everyone from the UK who posted on that thread used "rooster", so your use of "all" is fine.
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I advise non-native speakers not to use the word 'cock'. There's a huge difference between how things should be and how they actually are.

    There's even an insurance TV ad in which the insurance man tells the client that he has a problem with his "stopcock", the name for the master tap which controls the main water supply to a residence or building. The humour of the ad is based on the man's horrified misunderstanding of what was being referred to.

    Non-native speakers have a hard enough time as it is. If you use 'rooster', everybody understands and you avoid the risk of saying something that's ambiguous. The learner doesn't always meet well-intentioned people. It's very easy to make fun of foreigners' accents , and sadly it happens.

    Many women (rightly or wrongly) avoid using the word 'cock' in male company because of its connotations.
     

    Jerome-dong

    Senior Member
    Chinese-China
    I advise non-native speakers not to use the word 'cock'. There's a huge difference between how things should be and how they actually are.

    There's even an insurance TV ad in which the insurance man tells the client that he has a problem with his "stopcock", the name for the master tap which controls the main water supply to a residence or building. The humour of the ad is based on the man's horrified misunderstanding of what was being referred to.

    Non-native speakers have a hard enough time as it is. If you use 'rooster', everybody understands and you avoid the risk of saying something that's ambiguous. The learner doesn't always meet well-intentioned people. It's very easy to make fun of foreigners' accents , and sadly it happens.

    Many women (rightly or wrongly) avoid using the word 'cock' in male company because of its connotations.
    Thanks for your advice, Hermione Golightly!
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I used 'rooster' in that other thread because I was agreeing with someone who had just used 'rooster', and it's a perfectly good alternative word for the thing. (Actually, my words could have provoked merriment if I'd used the other word: I can't remember doing that deliberately.)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think when I grew up people certainly talked about the year of the cock. I accept that we seem to have moved to talking about the year of the rooster, and I hear cockerel from BrE speakers too. Interestingly, we still continue to talk about peacocks and peahens.
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I advise non-native speakers not to use the word 'cock'. There's a huge difference between how things should be and how they actually are.
    It's a staple joke of websites that show examples of "bad" translations, to show a restaurant menu that advertises "cock soup" (or other similar foodstuffs). Again - this may not be technically incorrect, but it certainly gives the wrong impression.
     
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