In fact, cuckold is derived from cuckoo.
In Greek, the cuckoldry association has not captured people’s imagination: that’s all about horns (presumably via deer). The proverbial expressions about cuckoos are quite unlike the associations the bird has in English:
- solitariness—cuckoos don’t have their own nest, being parasitic, but they also don’t spent a lot of time in the host nest they take over; hence, various variants of “lonely as a cuckoo”. Also, Τρεις κι ο κούκος “three plus a cuckoo” = “almost noone”, the cuckoo being the Greek equivalent of tumbleweeds. (Apparently there is an anticipation of this in Aristophanes, Acharnians 598.)
- cheapness, low quality, compared to a nightingale: Θα σου κοστίσει ο κούκος αηδόνι “A cuckoo will cost you a nightingale” (i.e. you will be ripped off)
- harbinger of spring: Ένας κούκος δεν φέρνει την άνοιξη “one cuckoo doesn’t bring spring” (as opposed to the more common “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”, which dates from Aesop)
- going silent (in summer): Βουβάθηκε σαν ο κούκος τ’ αϊ-Γιαννιού “he’s gone dumb like a cuckoo on St John’s Day” (24 June)