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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 ?
Having declared my intention not to drive but to walk down to the quay, I must render the wretched Steward justice that he bestirred himself to find me some coolies for the luggage.
I had just finished writing "The End of the Tether" and was casting about for some subject which could be developed in a shorter form than the tales in the volume of "Youth" when the instance of a steamship full of returning coolies from Singapore to some port in northern China occurred to my recollection.
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.
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.
A thousand miles beyond the last mission station toiled her engineers and spies, clad as coolies, under the guise of itinerant merchants or proselytizing Buddhist priests, noting down the horse-power of every waterfall, the likely sites for factories, the heights of mountains and passes, the strategic advantages and weaknesses, the wealth of the farming valleys, the number of bullocks in a district or the number of labourers that could be collected by forced levies.
The black labour is too wasteful, however, and in time Chinese or Indian coolies will be imported.
People who don't know a Chileno from a Kanaka can afford to hang out liberal ideas about Chinese immigration, but a fellow that has to fight for his bone with a lot of mongrel coolies hasn't any time for foolishness.
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.
Tell those coolies to get up that sail," Charley finally called to me.
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.
A man named Abelwhite, who had come out there as an indigo- planter, wanted an overseer to look after his coolies and keep them up to their work.
It was a simple war of the castes, Coolie versus Samurai, and the coolie socialists were executed by tens of thousands.