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[kot-n] /ˈkɒt n/
John, 1584–1652, U.S. clergyman, colonist, and author (grandfather of Cotton Mather). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for john cotton
Historical Examples
  • The colonial seventeenth century was one which, like john cotton, regularly sweetened its mouth "with a piece of Calvin."

    Benjamin Franklin Frank Luther Mott
  • Yet I would not have believed it otherwise for all of john cotton's weight in gold.

    The Tory Maid Herbert Baird Stimpson
  • It was written by the Boston minister, john cotton, and it had but eighty-seven questions with short answers.

    Child Life in Colonial Days Alice Morse Earle
  • So, hammering on the door, I soon brought john cotton to it.

    The Tory Maid Herbert Baird Stimpson
  • Intensely religious as a child, she was deeply influenced when a young woman by the preaching of john cotton.

  • john cotton received the order with wide-open eyes, as it was growing somewhat late.

    The Tory Maid Herbert Baird Stimpson
  • john cotton and her brother-in-law, John Wheelwright, were held up as examples of those who lived in the covenant of grace.

    The Colonization of North America Herbert Eugene Bolton
  • A party of gay young sparks, meeting austere old john cotton, determined to guy him.

    Sabbath in Puritan New England Alice Morse Earle
  • john cotton said ministers and milk were the only things cheap in New England.

  • Richard Mather took for his second wife the widow of john cotton.

British Dictionary definitions for john cotton


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 seeds See also sea-island cotton
the soft white downy fibre of these plants: used to manufacture textiles
cotton plants collectively, as a cultivated crop
  1. a cloth or thread made from cotton fibres
  2. (as modifier): a cotton dress
any substance, such as kapok (silk cotton), resembling cotton but obtained from other plants
See also cotton on, cotton to
Derived Forms
cottony, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French coton, from Arabic dialect qutun, from Arabic qutn


Sir Henry. 1907–87, English golfer: three times winner of the British Open (1934, 1937, 1948)
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 john 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.

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


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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