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.
Adam Aleksic, a freshman studying linguistics at Harvard University, has been described as the internet's sixth most famous etymologist. He has disturbing interests in words, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law, and he loves writing about himself in the third person.
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