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I'm surprised how I never been able to found an online translation of "cocotte en papier" (which is the thing pictured below), or people able to answer IRL, other than via less precise terms as "origami" or "paper bird".

"Paper bird" is too un-specific (see link below) compared to the original. E.g. I know 3 types of cranes, and there are yet other origami birds, than the "hen/cocotte" (that is supposed to be famous for being one on the most easy and well-known origami after the plane ;-) , at least in France ). https://www.google.com/search?q=paper+bird&tbm=isch

Searching "paper bird" from my French account, the cocotte appears only once on this search, at rank ~35, and not again in the several hundreds following. I didn't suspected such a peculiar folding and concept could be idiomatic! Like, all French children know how to fold it, for generations and up to now, and it's not by school teaching.

--> Is there a name for that thing ?

(NB: in French "cocotte" is a colloquial term for hen, but maybe other countries' people see another kind of bird in this origami :-) ).

Note that this very origami figure used to be the typical illustration for procrastination in France; I don't know if it carries the same connotation in other countries.

cocotte

  • Are you looking for a word that people familiar with origami would know, or a word that the general population would recognize? The former may exist, but I don't think the latter does. That's not a common enough design (at least not in the US) for it to have a commonly known name. – Juhasz Nov 12 '19 at 19:09
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    As far as I know, there is no particular English term for this specific origami form like there is in French (because as far as I know, it does not have the same special significance for any English speakers that it apparently does for French). I suspect most English speakers would not even know that this is supposed to be a hen (or even a bird) at all.. This is likely just one of those things that is so culturally-rooted that it just doesn't translate well. – Foogod Nov 12 '19 at 21:19
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    I will agree with what @foogod said. The picture does not look like a bird. I guess I would call it "origami", but it is much simpler than the usual origami figures I've seen. It does not have any connotations for me at all. – Deolater Nov 12 '19 at 23:12
  • As discussed in another answer, strangely it seems that this shape (as well as its name) is very idiomatic to France: it is universally known in France from ultra-old to recent generations (even non-origami fans), and even a symbol of procrastination. I never suspected it could be specific to a country. Now I wonder why (maybe from some old movie/story/illustration ? ). Not sure where to ask this. – Fabrice NEYRET Nov 14 '19 at 13:17
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Use this format:

origami [object name in noun form]

If you say “origami,” then the “paper” part is implied.

For example, you can search origami tiger, origami rabbit or anything else.

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    In the OP's example, it would be an "origami chicken" or "origami hen". – CJ Dennis Nov 13 '19 at 1:54
  • @CJDennis Correct – gen-z ready to perish Nov 13 '19 at 4:42
  • The difficult part is "cocotte", not "paper/origami". ;-) – Fabrice NEYRET Nov 13 '19 at 10:10
  • @FabriceNEYRET There are all different patterns of origami, so searching for an origami hen/chicken may not give you exactly what you want – gen-z ready to perish Nov 13 '19 at 21:53
  • Neither google image on hen or chicken bring this shape. As discussed in another answer, strangely it seems that this shape (as well as its name) is very idiomatic to France: it is universally known in France from ultra-old to recent generations (even non-origami fans), and even a symbol of procrastination. I never suspected it could be specific to a country. Now I wonder why (maybe from some old movie/story/illustration ? ). Not sure where to ask this. – Fabrice NEYRET Nov 14 '19 at 13:14
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This appears to be what I would call a paper crane, but I am not an origami expert.

  • Sure, origami crane. It's easily found via google. – Lambie Nov 12 '19 at 18:25
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    Nope: a paper crane is this ;-) : fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Origami-crane.jpg (way more complicated for beginners than the basic 'hen/cocotte", BTW). – Fabrice NEYRET Nov 12 '19 at 18:33
  • @FabriceNEYRET I'm not aware of any other English terms that would describe this more accurately than "paper crane" and more precisely than "origami." There may well be one, but if so I don't think it's in common use. This design is not familiar to me and I don't think it has the connotations you describe in Anglophone culture. – TypeIA Nov 12 '19 at 20:24
  • @FabriceNEYRET paper bird or pajarita: pinterest.com/pin/94786767136401971 – Lambie Nov 12 '19 at 20:37
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At least concerning the (probably) idiomatic origin of the term & concept or 'cocotte' folding, French wikipedia brings some clues: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocotte_en_papier_(origami)

My translation of key parts:

The paper 'cocotte' is a type of folding representing a stylized hen. Presumably of Spanish origin, the 'cocotte' is the emblem of folding in Europe, like the paper crane in Japan. The origin of the paper 'cocotte' is not known. It could be a folding from North Africa, transmitted via Spain. In Spanish, this folding is called pajarita, diminutive of pájara, term designating a bird, especially of small size. Such folding appears in 3 famous French paintings around 1870. An espagnol philosopher published in 1934 a 'treaty of cocotology', ironically translating various philosophical questions into origami. There's also a spanish 1921 poetry and 1928 sculpture on the theme.

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