cotton

[kot-n]

noun

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.

Origin of cotton

1250–1300; Middle English coton < Old French < Old Italian cotone < Arabic qutun, variant of qutn
Related formshalf-cot·ton, adjectivesem·i·cot·ton, nounun·cot·toned, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for cotton to

cotton to

verb (intr, preposition) US and Canadian informal

to become friendly with
to approve of

cotton

noun

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 Formscottony, adjective

Word Origin for cotton

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

Cotton

noun

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

Word Origin and History for cotton to

cotton

n.

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)).

cotton

v.

"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

cotton to in Culture

cotton to

To take a liking to someone or something: “I was afraid Janet wouldn't like my brother, but she cottoned to him immediately.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with cotton to

cotton to

1

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]

2

Also, cotton on to. Come to understand, grasp, as in She didn't really cotton on to what I was saying. [Colloquial; early 1900s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.