• synonyms

cotton wool

  1. cotton in its raw state, as on the boll or gathered but unprocessed.
  2. British. absorbent cotton.
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Origin of cotton wool

First recorded in 1590–1600
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cotton wool

Historical Examples of cotton wool

  • That,” she said more or less after Sterne, “is a cotton-wool story.

    The Children

    Alice Meynell

  • Round about the shrapnel burst in little puffs like cotton-wool.

  • I tried to intercept it by a large respirator of cotton-wool.

  • This man, Buchanan, that is over us at present, he is no better than a bit of cotton-wool.


    Elizabeth Wetherell

  • I know—the oil from that old reading-lamp and this cotton-wool.

British Dictionary definitions for cotton wool

cotton wool

  1. Also called: purified cotton mainly British bleached and sterilized cotton from which the gross impurities, such as the seeds and waxy matter, have been removed: used for surgical dressings, tampons, etcUsual US term: absorbent cotton
  2. cotton in the natural state
  3. British informal
    1. a state of pampered comfort and protection
    2. (as modifier)a cotton-wool existence
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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