Today, the word coquettish is basically a synonym of flirtatious, and that adjective comes from the rarer noun coquette, which was specifically a flirtatious woman. Earlier, however, coquette could refer to a flirtatious individual of any gender, and when the term was borrowed from French coquet, it meant "male flirt" (so the associated sexes slowly swapped over time). Here it gets even more interesting: coquet literally means "little cock" (as in the rooster), because of the belief that male chickens strut in a pompous, provocative manner. Coquet is a diminutive of the word coq, which in Old French was spelled coc (the etymon of our word cock), and that in turn comes from Latin coccus and Frankish kok, with the same definitions. Beyond that, the term is probably imitative of the cry of a chicken, perhaps by way of Proto-Germanic kukkaz.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a sophomore studying linguistics and government at Harvard University, where I founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. I also have disturbing interests in politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, and law.