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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 periodicals archive ?
Varma explores the making of coolie labor relationships in the Assam tea plantations during the 19th century as part of a broader homogenizing project of coerced labor under capitalism, and seeks to explain its specific yet varied articulations.
In addition they, once again expounded the economic benefits of this labor by citing how the Mauritian economy had flourished since the arrival of "coolie labor." Here again it is evident that if not for their labor power Indian immigrants would not have been added to the already large "native" or "colored" population in the colony.
Drawing in part on these historical debates, modern scholars, like Denise Helly and Evelyn Hu-DeHart, have researched the historical claim that coolie labor could allow Cuba to transition from a labor-intensive, slave-based economy to a technologically advanced, wage-based economy.
In her elision of coolie labor and plantation scholarship about Ceylon, Malaya, Natal, Sumatra, and Assam, Bahadur effectively misses the point that the same transmitting districts and colonial mechanisms that sent indentured migrants such as Sujaria from colonial North India to sugar plantations in Guyana also sent her sisters in spirit into similar conditions elsewhere, even within India.
The weekly maligned Hayes throughout his presidency for ignoring the outcry against the continued importation of Chinese coolie labor. Although the Wasp mocked a number of marginal groups, its cartoonists expended a disproportionate amount of effort ridiculing the Chinese and those deemed complicit in their continued arrival on the West Coast.
Supreme Court's commentary on the Thirteenth Amendment in the Slaughter-House Cases, which stated that "[i]f Mexican peonage or the Chinese coolie labor system shall develop slavery of the Mexican or Chinese race within our territory," the amendment would render it illegal.