- cotton in its raw state, as on the boll or gathered but unprocessed.
- British. absorbent cotton.
Origin of cotton wool
First recorded in 1590–1600
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cotton wool
That,” she said more or less after Sterne, “is a cotton-wool story.The Children
Round about the shrapnel burst in little puffs like cotton-wool.One Man's Initiation--1917
John Dos Passos
I tried to intercept it by a large respirator of cotton-wool.Fragments of science, V. 1-2
This man, Buchanan, that is over us at present, he is no better than a bit of cotton-wool.Daisy
I know—the oil from that old reading-lamp and this cotton-wool.
- Also called: purified cotton mainly British bleached and sterilized cotton from which the gross impurities, such as the seeds and waxy matter, have been removed: used for surgical dressings, tampons, etcUsual US term: absorbent cotton
- cotton in the natural state
- British informal
- a state of pampered comfort and protection
- (as modifier)a cotton-wool existence
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