[ kot-n ]
/ ˈkɒt n /
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verb (used without object)

Informal. to get on well together; agree.
Obsolete. to prosper or succeed.

Verb Phrases

cotton (on) to, Informal.
  1. to become fond of; begin to like.
  2. to approve of; agree with: to cotton to a suggestion.
  3. to come to a full understanding of; grasp: More and more firms are cottoning on to the advantages of using computers.



Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of cotton

1250–1300; Middle English coton<Old French <Old Italian cotone<Arabic qutun, variant of qutn


half-cotton, adjectivesem·i·cot·ton, nounun·cot·toned, adjective

Definition for cotton (2 of 2)

[ kot-n ]
/ ˈkɒt n /


John, 1584–1652, U.S. clergyman, colonist, and author (grandfather of Cotton Mather).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for cotton

British Dictionary definitions for cotton (1 of 2)

/ (ˈkɒtən) /


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
  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

Derived forms of cotton

cottony, adjective

Word Origin for cotton

C14: from Old French coton, from Arabic dialect qutun, from Arabic qutn

British Dictionary definitions for cotton (2 of 2)

/ (ˈkɒtən) /


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