Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


also coo·ly  (ko͞o′lē)
n. pl. coo·lies Offensive
An unskilled Asian laborer.

[Hindi qulī, laborer, perhaps ultimately from Kulī, a tribe in Gujarat.]


(ˈkuːlɪ) or


n, pl -ies
1. (Peoples) (in China, India, and some other countries) a cheaply hired unskilled labourer
2. (Historical Terms) (in China, India, and some other countries) a cheaply hired unskilled labourer
3. (Peoples) an Indian living in South Africa
4. (Historical Terms) an Indian living in South Africa
[C17: from Hindi kulī, probably of Dravidian origin; related to Tamil kūli hire, hireling]


(ˈku li)

a laborer hired at subsistence wages for unskilled work, esp. formerly in the Far East.
[1545–55; < Urdu kūlī < Tamil kūli hire, hireling]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.coolie - (ethnic slur) an offensive name for an unskilled Asian laborercoolie - (ethnic slur) an offensive name for an unskilled Asian laborer
derogation, disparagement, depreciation - a communication that belittles somebody or something
ethnic slur - a slur on someone's race or language
Asian, Asiatic - a native or inhabitant of Asia
عامِل هِنْدي أو صيني
indverskur eîa kínverskur verkamaîur
Hintli ya da Çinli işçi


[ˈkuːlɪ] Ncooli m, culi m


[ˈkuːli] ncoolie m


n (pej)Kuli m


(ˈkuːli) noun
an Indian or Chinese labourer.
References in classic literature ?
He noticed that when the swaying fan stopped I would call out to the coolie and bid him pull with a long stroke.
All the past corruption and cowardice is hampering us, of course; the West country is pretty stormy and doubtful even in a military sense; and the Irish regiments there, that are supposed to support us by the new treaty, are pretty well in mutiny; for, of course, this infernal coolie capitalism is being pushed in Ireland, too.
When they addressed the latter they used what appeared to be a third language, and which I later learned is a mongrel tongue rather analogous to the Pidgin-English of the Chinese coolie.
Its various parts, however, were set together with the same strange irregularity that marked the architecture of the city as a whole; and it was capped by an enormous saucer-shaped roof which projected far beyond the eaves, having the appearance of a colossal Chinese coolie hat, inverted.
It was a simple war of the castes, Coolie versus Samurai, and the coolie socialists were executed by tens of thousands.
He was only a coolie, and he smuggled himself into the United States twenty years ago.
There was a full complement of passengers on board, among them English, many Americans, a large number of coolies on their way to California, and several East Indian officers, who were spending their vacation in making the tour of the world.
The contractor said that if Mulvaney could pay the passage he would give him command of a gang of coolies for old sake's sake.
He played the usual tricks on the patient coolies pulling the punkahs in the sleeping- rooms where the boys threshed through the hot nights telling tales till the dawn; and quietly he measured himself against his self- reliant mates.
Don't care a rap," another voice answered; he took about fifteen of my best coolies while the bridge was building, and it's time he was put a stop to.
He told her of the days when he had worked on the banks of the Congo with the coolies, a slave in everything but name, when the sun had burned the brains of men to madness, and the palm wine had turned them into howling devils.
The black labour is too wasteful, however, and in time Chinese or Indian coolies will be imported.