verb (used without object)
- to become fond of; begin to like.
- to approve of; agree with: to cotton to a suggestion.
- to come to a full understanding of; grasp: More and more firms are cottoning on to the advantages of using computers.
Origin of cotton
Related Words for cotton toadaptable, consistent, suitable, appropriate, advise, patronize, enjoy, crave, covet, love, like, savor, appreciate, relish, champion, support, advocate, back, accept, encourage
verb (intr, preposition) US and Canadian informal
- a cloth or thread made from cotton fibres
- (as modifier)a cotton dress
Word Origin for 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.
To take a liking to someone or something: “I was afraid Janet wouldn't like my brother, but she cottoned to him immediately.”
Take a liking to, get along with, as in This dog doesn't cotton to strangers. Although this verbal phrase comes from the noun for the fabric, the semantic connection between these parts of speech is unclear. [Early 1800s]
Also, cotton on to. Come to understand, grasp, as in She didn't really cotton on to what I was saying. [Colloquial; early 1900s]