cottage industry


Definition of cottage industry

1 : an industry whose labor force consists of family units or individuals working at home with their own equipment
2 : a small and often informally organized industry
3 : a limited but enthusiastically pursued activity or subject this debate about sex and law became a cottage industry for feminist academics— Wendy Kaminer

Examples of cottage industry in a Sentence

weaving, pottery, and other cottage industries

Recent Examples on the Web

As the pet influencers field has gotten crowded, a cottage industry has sprung up to help pets — or their owners, at least — manage their newfound marketability. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "How to make your dog Instagram-famous, according to an agent for “pet influencers”," 6 Nov. 2018 The road passed through the hamlet of Preila, where the smell of zuvis, or smoked fish, a celebrated cottage industry, wafted out of lagoon-side smokehouses. Henry Wismayer, WSJ, "An Unmissable Summer Holiday in the Baltics," 22 Aug. 2018 Travelers rely on a budding cottage industry of companies such as Unsettled, Remote Year, Hacker Paradise and Wanderist Life to help navigate the logistics of working in a foreign country, although not to find the work. Mike Plunkett,, "For digital nomads, work is where the laptop is," 9 July 2018 Rotenberg’s videos are but a small sliver of the cottage industry that is the Troom Troom reaction video. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "YouTube is full of cringey, clickbait DIY channels. They’re even weirder than you think.," 12 Nov. 2018 This kind of cottage industry was typical of Maya working life by the Late Classic period. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Small Mayan saltworks could have supplied thousands, preserved food," 9 Oct. 2018 Reverse-engineering Google has practically become something of a cottage industry, particularly in media. Brian Fung, The Seattle Times, "Here’s what we really know about Google’s mysterious search engine," 28 Aug. 2018 This perceived decline and fall of the United States has inspired a 21st-century cottage industry of books devoted to how things went off course. New York Times, "America Has Gone Off the Rails. Steven Brill Sees Ways to Get It Back on Track.," 2 July 2018 There seems a cottage industry, perhaps fueled this season by our Tweeter-in-Chief, in predicting (and perhaps hoping for) the demise of the nation’s most popular and profitable sport. Andrew Brandt,, "In Praise of Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson, the Eagles’ Brain Trust," 23 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cottage industry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cottage industry

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for cottage industry

Last Updated

24 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for cottage industry

The first known use of cottage industry was in 1849

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More Definitions for cottage industry

cottage industry


English Language Learners Definition of cottage industry

: a system for making products to sell in which people work in their own homes and use their own equipment

More from Merriam-Webster on cottage industry Encyclopedia article about cottage industry

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to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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