Word of the Day / Kookoo קוקו

From baby talk to more grown-up hairstyles, this slightly kooky word has several meanings.

Most single Israeli men have little reason to utter the word “kookoo.” But it becomes an oddly prominent part of your vocabulary once you have a baby, since Israeli parents play peekaboo by imitating cuckoo clocks. And if that baby’s a girl, the word will likely remain part of your life, since “kookoo” also means “ponytail.”

As you might imagine, neither pigs nor their tails are mentioned in the Holy Land when referring to clumps of hair sprouting from both sides of the head, which are known as “kookiyot,” the plural of “kookoo.”

But all this is not to say that ponies have no role to play in Israeli children’s hair. As if competing English words for that curtain of forehead-covering hair -- known as “bangs” in American English and “fringe” in British English -- weren’t enough, Israelis use yet another English word for it.

Yup, that would be “pony.” Just don’t let it drive you cuckoo.