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

The game’s popularity has fueled a cottage industry of videogame tutors and knock-off modes in new games from bigger rivals such as Activision Blizzard Inc. Katie Roof, WSJ, "Fortnite Creator Epic Games Valued at Nearly $15 Billion," 26 Oct. 2018 Celebrities surprising unsuspecting plebeians is practically a cottage industry at this point. New York Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition’ and ‘Evil Genius’," 11 May 2018 There is an entire cottage industry of draftniks who need to do little other than master the language to sound important. Conor Orr,, "The Original NFL Draft Bible, and Lamar Jackson in an Old, Stale Controversy," 20 Feb. 2018 There are huge professional fees to be earned from turning a fragmented cottage industry into a well-run, formal sector that established investors want to back. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Weed Versus Greed on Wall Street," 25 Jan. 2019 All of this confusion has created a cottage industry of specialized accountants who can keep traders out of tax trouble. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Think Cryptocurrency Is Confusing? Try Paying Taxes on It," 21 Mar. 2018 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

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

16 Jun 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

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