any small North American rabbit of the genus Sylvilagus, having a brownish coat and fluffy white tail.

Origin of cottontail

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70; cotton + tail1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cottontail

Historical Examples of cottontail

  • The snowshoe rabbit replaces the cottontail in Canada and the most northern portions of the United States.

    Science of Trapping

    Elmer Harry Kreps

  • Cottontail rabbits huddled in their burrows and snowshoe hares crept about in the thickets.

    The Black Fawn

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

  • Andy peered between the slats of one crate at two brown-furred animals about as big as cottontail rabbits.

    Swamp Cat

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

  • On seven occasions a cottontail used a form that had been used by another within 24 hours.

  • And, sure enough, they started a cottontail down there and went in for him keenly, followed by ma and brother and sister.

    Somewhere in Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for cottontail



any of several common rabbits of the genus Sylvilagus, such as S. floridanus (eastern cottontail), of American woodlands
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