cotton wool

  1. cotton in its raw state, as on the boll or gathered but unprocessed.

  2. British. absorbent cotton.

Origin of cotton wool

First recorded in 1590–1600

Words Nearby cotton wool Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use cotton wool in a sentence

  • The heavy clouds had nestled down the mountains, covering them like a huge thickness of wet cotton-wool.

    The Isle of Unrest | Henry Seton Merriman

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, etc: Usual US term: absorbent cotton

  2. cotton in the natural state

  1. British informal

    • a state of pampered comfort and protection

    • (as modifier): a cotton-wool existence

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