Coon’s Age – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Feeling as old as dirt is pretty normal, but there are a few more fun phrases that can express the same sentiment. If you’ve ever heard someone say they feel “as old as a coon’s age,” you might have wondered what in the world that means. Well, wonder no more! We’re here to give you the lowdown on this intriguing phrase. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The phrase “coon’s age” describes an extended period. It often refers to a time longer than what is considered average or typical. It is often used to express how long someone has been waiting for something or how long ago something happened. For example, you might say, “I’ve been waiting for this bus for a coon’s age!” to express your frustration at the delay.

It was once thought that raccoons live for a very long time. There is no exact explanation for how this assumption came to be, only that it was well-known. The term “coon” is a shortened form of the word raccoon. A “coons age” further refers to a long period of time, as was assumed to be the length of a raccoon’s life. Natural raccoons only live for about three years in actuality, which made the phrase obsolete in terms of modern usage.

Example Usage

  • I’ve been waiting for you for a coon’s age! Where have you been?
  • I can’t believe it’s been a coon’s age since I last saw you.
  • It feels like a coon’s age since I’ve had a vacation.
  • You haven’t called me in a coon’s age; I was starting to think you’d forgotten about me!

Origin

When someone says, “That’ll take a coon’s age,” they say it will take a very long time. The phrase is most likely derived from the idea of a raccoon being an exceptionally long-lived animal. Raccoons in captivity have been known to live for over 20 years, so it’s no surprise that this creature has come to symbolize a long and healthy life.

While the exact origins of the phrase are unknown, it’s safe to say it’s been around for quite some time. The first recorded use of “as old as a coon’s age” dates back to 1834, although it’s likely that the phrase was used informally long before then. At this time, the word “coon” was used to describe a type of animal but also had racist connotations against African Americans. The phrase is still used today but is not considered offensive.

Phrases Similar to Coon’s age

  • A lifetime
  • Ages
  • Since the dawn of time
  • Forever
  • Blue moon

Phrases Opposite to Coon’s age

  • In a flash
  • In a jiffy
  • In no time
  • Before you know it
  • In the blink of an eye
  • Like a lightning bolt

What is The Correct Saying?

  • The phrase “coon’s age” is the correct way to say it.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Coon’s age.

There are a few ways that people may incorrectly say “coon’s age.” This includes speaking “coyote’s age,” “cow’s age,” and “cat’s age.” Another common mistake is to say, “as long as a coon’s tail.” This is the phrase that “coon’s age” is derived from.

  • I’ll be back in a coon’s age, which is before you know it!
  • That was really quick, it only took a coon’s age.
  • She grew up as fast as a coon’s age.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Coon’s age

The phrase “coon’s age” often expresses frustration or impatience at how long something is taking.

The phrase “coon’s age” is generally acceptable when used in conversation. However, some people may find it offensive due to its origins. Some proper usage examples are:

  • Why does it take so long for the order to arrive, it’s been a literal coon’s age!
  • It has been a coon’s age since we last had a night out on the town.

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