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[kot-n-pik-uh n] /ˈkɒt nˌpɪk ən/
adjective, Slang.
damned; confounded:
That's a cottonpickin' lie.
Also, cottonpicking
[kot-n-pik-uh n, -pik-ing] /ˈkɒt nˌpɪk ən, -ˌpɪk ɪŋ/ (Show IPA)
Origin of cottonpickin'
An Americanism dating back to 1950-55; cotton + pick1 + -ing2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cotton-picking
Historical Examples
  • You must not, however, run away with the notion that cotton-picking is a hurried process.

    Carl and the Cotton Gin Sara Ware Bassett
  • All they are fit for is education for cotton-picking and dish-washing.

    Darkwater W. E. B. Du Bois
  • I have a girl who to-day has done as good a day's work at grubbing as any man, but I could not make her a hand at cotton-picking.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 3 of 4 American Anti-Slavery Society
  • cotton-picking is at once the most difficult and most expensive operation in cotton production.

  • They telled me she was a good cook; and they can use her for that, or set her at the cotton-picking.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • When they have learned their manual alphabet tolerably well, they are placed in the field to take a spell at cotton-picking.

    The South-West Jonathon Holt Ingraham
  • Indeed, she did little field-service except in times of special pressure and during the quarter Page 446of cotton-picking.

  • Not able to increase his force, it was his custom to hire during the hurry of cotton-picking.

    Twelve Years a Slave Solomon Northup
  • It was just at the beginning of the cotton-picking season, when labour of every sort was much needed, Negro labour especially.

    Following the Color Line Ray Stannard Baker
  • If they want better pay for their labor, why didn't they strike in the midst of the cotton-picking?

    An Arkansas Planter Opie Percival Read
British Dictionary definitions for cotton-picking


(US & Canadian, slang) (intensifier qualifying something undesirable): you cotton-picking layabout!
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cotton-picking

as a deprecatory term first recorded in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but a similar noun meaning "contemptible person" dates to around 1919, perhaps with racist overtones that have faded over the years. Before mechanization, cotton picking was the most difficult labor on a cotton plantation.

I drove out to a number of the farms near Denison and found many very young white children working all day in the hot sun picking and dragging sacks of cotton. In one field the labor corps consisted of one woman and six children, one of them 5 years, one 6 years, one 7 years, one 9 years, and two about 11. The father was plowing. The 5 and 6 year olds worked all day as did the rest. The 7-year-old said he picked 50 pounds a day and the 9 year old 75 pounds. (A good picker averages several hundred a day.) School begins late on account of the cotton picking, but the children nearly all prefer school to the picking. Picking hours are long, hot, and deadly monotonous. While the very young children seem to enjoy it, very soon their distaste for it grows into all-absorbing hatred for all work. ["Field Notes of Lewis W. Hine, Child-Labor Conditions in Texas," report to U.S. Congressional Commission on Industrial Relations, 1916]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cotton-picking



Despicable; wretched; damned: They're out of their cotton-picking minds/ I don't think it's anybody's cottonpickin' business what you're doing

[1950s+; fr the inferior status of the field hand or poor farmer in southern US society]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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