- a soft, white, downy substance consisting of the hairs or fibers attached to the seeds of plants belonging to the genus Gossypium, of the mallow family, used in making fabrics, thread, wadding, etc.
- the plant itself, having spreading branches and broad, lobed leaves.
- such plants collectively as a cultivated crop.
- cloth, thread, a garment, etc., of cotton.
- any soft, downy substance resembling cotton, but growing on other plants.
- Informal. to get on well together; agree.
- Obsolete. to prosper or succeed.
- cotton (on) to, Informal.
- to become fond of; begin to like.
- to approve of; agree with: to cotton to a suggestion.
- to come to a full understanding of; grasp: More and more firms are cottoning on to the advantages of using computers.
Origin of cotton
- John,1584–1652, U.S. clergyman, colonist, and author (grandfather of Cotton Mather).
Examples from the Web for cotton
With a pop of color and fun print, this cotton pair is not at all stuffy.The Daily Beast’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Don Draper in Your Life
November 29, 2014
May we suggest Friendly Fox, a crotched animal made from 100-percent cotton.The Daily Beast’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Blue Ivy in Your Life
November 29, 2014
In his victory speech Tuesday night, Cotton declared, “The people of Arkansas have made their choice.”In Arkansas, The House That Bubba Built Crumbles
November 5, 2014
The Daily Beast did not provide this image to Buerck or the NRA but did so to the Cotton campaign.
A spokesman for the Cotton campaign confirmed to The Daily Beast that they had “not paid for or placed that ad.”
Two of us were going in company, each with a load of cotton.Biography of a Slave
The cotton was thrown overboard as fast as we could, and what the men could not start the seas did.
Here I quarrelled with the captain about some cotton wick, and I threw up my situation.
We got to the latter port without accident, and took in a cargo of cotton.
There is no account of indigo, and the cultivation of cotton had not commenced.
- any of various herbaceous plants and shrubs of the malvaceous genus Gossypium, such as sea-island cotton, cultivated in warm climates for the fibre surrounding the seeds and the oil within the seedsSee also sea-island cotton
- the soft white downy fibre of these plants: used to manufacture textiles
- cotton plants collectively, as a cultivated crop
- a cloth or thread made from cotton fibres
- (as modifier)a cotton dress
- any substance, such as kapok (silk cotton), resembling cotton but obtained from other plants
- Sir Henry. 1907–87, English golfer: three times winner of the British Open (1934, 1937, 1948)
Word Origin and History for cotton
late 13c., from Old French coton (12c.), ultimately (via Provençal, Italian, or Old Spanish) from Arabic qutn, a word perhaps of Egyptian origin. Philip Miller of the Chelsea Physic Garden sent the first cotton seeds to American colony of Georgia in 1732. Also ultimately from the Arabic word, Dutch katoen, German Kattun, Provençal coton, Italian cotone, Spanish algodon, Portuguese algodão. Cotton gin is recorded from 1794 (see gin (n.2)).
"to get on with" someone (usually with to), 1560s, perhaps from Welsh cytuno "consent, agree." But perhaps also a metaphor from cloth finishing and thus from cotton (n.). Related: Cottoned; cottoning.