Coterie is an adorable-looking word that describes a small group of people with a unifying goal or interest. The term was borrowed in 1738 from French (no surprise there) and appears to be a diminutive of the Old French word cote, which meant "cottage" and is also a relative of our current English word cottage. The connection was in landholding; originally, a coterie was a group of people that had a property in common, and the definition grew from there. Cote, sometimes spelled cotte, probably traces to the Old Norse word kot, meaning "hut". This, through the Proto-Germanic reconstruction kutan, probably derives from a Proto-Indo-European root, but I can't find any theories as to which one. The word coterie has been declining in usage since the early 1900s.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.