(often capital) a native of London, esp of the working class born in the East End, speaking a characteristic dialect of English. Traditionally defined as someone born within the sound of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow church
the urban dialect of London or its East End
(Austral) a young snapper fish
characteristic of cockneys or their dialect of English
C14: from cokeney, literally: cock's egg, later applied contemptuously to townsmen, from cokene, genitive plural of cokcock1 + eyegg1
c.1600, from M.E. cokenei "spoiled child, milksop," orig. cokene-ey "cock's egg" (mid-14c.). Most likely disentangling of the etymology is to start from O.E. cocena "cock's egg" -- genitive plural of coc "cock" + æg "egg" -- medieval term for "runt of a clutch," extended derisively c.1520s to "town dweller," gradually narrowing thereafter to residents of a particular neighborhood in the East End of London. The accent so called from 1890, but speech peculiarities were noted from 17c.