cottage industry

noun

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

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, chicagotribune.com, "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, SI.com, "In Praise of Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson, the Eagles’ Brain Trust," 23 Jan. 2018 No individual media figure has embraced this basketball social media cottage industry than Rob Perez, more commonly known by his Twitter handle, @World_Wide_Wob. Kirk A. Bado, azcentral, "NBA Summer League bets on importance of engaging off the court," 11 July 2018 And the mustache just turned into this cottage industry. Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times, "Thomas Haden Church Is Keeping That Mustache," 5 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.

See More

First Known Use of cottage industry

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cottage industry

Share cottage industry

Statistics for cottage industry

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cottage industry

The first known use of cottage industry was in 1849

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cottage industry

cottage industry

noun

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cottage industry

Comments on cottage industry

What made you want to look up cottage industry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!