cotton

noun, often attributive
cot·​ton | \ ˈkä-tᵊn How to pronounce cotton (audio) \

Definition of cotton

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a soft usually white fibrous substance composed of the hairs surrounding the seeds of various erect freely branching tropical plants (genus Gossypium) of the mallow family
b : a plant producing cotton especially : one grown for its cotton
c : a crop of cotton
2a : fabric made of cotton
b : yarn spun from cotton
3 : a downy cottony substance produced by various plants (such as the cottonwood)

cotton

verb
cottoned; cottoning\ ˈkät-​niŋ How to pronounce cottoning (audio) , ˈkä-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of cotton (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : to take a liking used with to cottons to people easily
2 : to come to understand used with to or on to cottoned on to the fact that our children work furiously— H. M. McLuhan

Cotton

biographical name (1)
Cot·​ton | \ ˈkä-tᵊn How to pronounce Cotton (audio) \

Definition of Cotton (Entry 3 of 4)

Charles 1630–1687 English author and translator

Cotton

biographical name (2)

Definition of Cotton (Entry 4 of 4)

John 1585–1652 American (English-born) Puritan clergyman

Illustration of cotton

Illustration of cotton

Noun

cotton: 1 flowering branch; 2 fruit, unopened; 3 fruit, partly opened

In the meaning defined above

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Examples of cotton in a Sentence

Noun

They are in the field picking cotton. She doesn't wear cotton in the winter.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Posters bearing the Confederate battle flag and chunks of cotton were found almost two years ago on American University’s campus in Northwest Washington. Washington Post, "Naval Academy opens investigation into reports of a noose," 9 Sep. 2019 These squares of organic cotton that have been coated in beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil; simply wrap a square around your sandwich and then clean it off in cool water (warm water would melt the beeswax). Kristen Hartke, BostonGlobe.com, "The best eco-friendly containers to save you from Sad Desk Lunch syndrome," 20 Aug. 2019 Agriculture incomes have been depressed in the wake of China’s retaliatory tariffs which hurt demand for everything from cotton to pork to soybeans. Mike Dorning And Mario Parker / Bloomberg, Time, "Farmers Press for an End to the Trade War as the Trump Administration Rolls Out a $16 Billion Bailout," 26 July 2019 But early reports indicated crops such as cotton avoided major problems and livestock plants were running. Christopher Martin, chicagotribune.com, "36 hours of pummeling just one spot made Dorian unique," 12 Sep. 2019 After a week of bing wrapped in cotton batten, the sun came out to make the water a bright blue, and there was enough wind for sooth, easy sailing. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: San Diego’s Mission Bay aquatic park dedicated 70 years ago," 6 Sep. 2019 The tampons of the 1930s were not too different than the ones on drugstore shelves today, generally made of a wad of dense cotton or a paper-like material attached to a string. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "How tampons and pads became so unsustainable," 6 Sep. 2019 Through the center of the wax runs a wick, which is usually made from cotton or other material that can absorb liquids well. Svenja Lohner, Scientific American, "Make a Candle Flame Jump," 5 Sep. 2019 Coyuchi Mediterranean Beach Towel Great for travel, this towel is woven of organic Turkish cotton, feels surprisingly light and absorbent, and dries faster than other towels. Christine Ryan, New York Times, "5 Items to Always Bring to the Beach," 10 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Liverpool supporters cottoned on to his comments pretty quickly, taking the very first opportunity to correct the two-time Premier League champion. SI.com, "Pep Guardiola Winds Up Liverpool Twitter With Comments on Aymeric Laporte," 30 Aug. 2019 As more players adopted the Panenka, goalkeepers cottoned on. The Economist, "Lots of investors bet on “factors”, such as size, value and momentum," 18 July 2019 But in the past year or so, some manufacturers have cottoned on to the idea and started releasing devices that can keep up with more than a dozen tabs. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "HP Chromebook x2 review: semi-pro," 27 Sep. 2018 But the last two months, batters have cottoned onto him. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Home runs bite Jakob Junis again as Royals lose to Brewers," 26 June 2018 By the 1980s, the rallying crowd had cottoned on and started sending increasingly specialized cars to Colorado. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "This electric car could set a new record to the top of Pikes Peak this year," 19 Mar. 2018 If relay is 15% cheaper than conventional trucking, as Mr Garg claims, others will cotton on. The Economist, "The Indian pony expressRivigo is helping the Indian truck-driving industry out of a jam," 30 Sep. 2017 But not everyone will cotton to a former business district that still lacks many residential amenities. C. J. Hughes, New York Times, "Where to Live When the L Train Shuts Down," 26 May 2017 His loyal readers will cotton to the idea — calico to it! — that the future lies in the fun, and thus that the future is fun. Virginia Heffernan, New York Times, "Steven Johnson on How Play Shaped the World," 22 Nov. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cotton.' 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 cotton

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cotton

Noun

Middle English coton, from Anglo-French cotun, from Old Italian cotone, from Arabic quṭun, quṭn

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for cotton

The first known use of cotton was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for cotton

cotton

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cotton

: a soft, white material that grows on the seeds of a tall plant and that is used to make cloth also : the plants on which this material grows
: cloth that is made of cotton also : clothing that is made of this cloth
chiefly British : yarn that is made of cotton

cotton

noun
cot·​ton | \ ˈkä-tᵊn How to pronounce cotton (audio) \

Kids Definition of cotton

1 : a soft fluffy usually white material made up of twisted hairs that surrounds the seeds of a tall plant of warm regions and is spun into thread or yarn
2 : thread, yarn, or cloth made from cotton

Other Words from cotton

cotton adjective cotton handkerchiefs

cotton

noun, often attributive
cot·​ton | \ ˈkät-ᵊn How to pronounce cotton (audio) \

Medical Definition of cotton

1 : a soft usually white fibrous substance composed of the hairs surrounding the seeds of various erect freely branching tropical plants (genus Gossypium) of the mallow family and used extensively in making threads, yarns, and fabrics (as in surgical dressings)
2 : a plant producing cotton especially : one grown for its cotton

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More from Merriam-Webster on cotton

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cotton

Spanish Central: Translation of cotton

Nglish: Translation of cotton for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cotton for Arabic Speakers

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