- a pin, wedge, key, or the like, fitted or driven into an opening to secure something or hold parts together.
- cotter pin.
- to secure with a cotter.
Origin of cotter1
1300–50; Middle English coter; akin to late Middle English coterell iron bracket; of uncertain origin
- Scot. a person occupying a plot of land and cottage, paid for in services.
- cottager(def 2).
Origin of cotter2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cotter
We soon rounded the point, and Cotter and the trappers and the Post were lost to view.The Long Labrador Trail
There was only room beside me for Cotter, so I had him send down the knapsacks first.
I want to live in a cot like a cotter—that is, for us to live like two cotters.John Gayther's Garden and the Stories Told Therein
Frank R. Stockton
The young men visited the cotter, and returned with the cart and the news.The Art of Disappearing
John Talbot Smith
Whereupon Walton grinned and Cotter, with a sigh, begged him to scowl again!Left Guard Gilbert
Ralph Henry Barbour
- any part, such as a pin, wedge, key, etc, that is used to secure two other parts so that relative motion between them is prevented
- short for cotter pin
- (tr) to secure (two parts) with a cotter
C14: shortened from cotterel, of unknown origin
- Also called: cottier English history a villein in late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman times occupying a cottage and land in return for labour
- Also called: cottar a peasant occupying a cottage and land in the Scottish Highlands under the same tenure as an Irish cottier
C14: from Medieval Latin cotārius, from Middle English cote cot ²
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
Word Origin and History for cotter
1640s, perhaps a shortened form of cotterel, a dialectal word for "cotter pin or bolt, bracket to hang a pot over a fire" (1560s), itself of uncertain origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper