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

Go with a lightweight, hypoallergenic option like Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream, which helps to shield the eye area from potential irritants (another great benefit of the cotton extract). Baze Mpinja, Marie Claire, "Have Sensitive Skin? Do These 4 Things Before Bed," 8 Mar. 2019 Hundreds of thousands of bales of cotton arrived on flatboats—until the railroad took over—from the vast plantations up river to the north. Gully Wells, WSJ, "A Trip to the Florida of Yore," 12 Dec. 2018 Even their mattresses have minimal environmental impact, as they're made of organic cotton. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "All of the Travel Companies and Places Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics," 13 July 2018 The couple's 1,325-acre DeLoach Farms has been in the family since 1820 and includes 375 acres of cotton, 250 acres of soybeans, 200 acres of wheat and 150 acres of hay. William Thornton, AL.com, "Shelby County family wins Farm of Distinction award," 9 Apr. 2018 There are cool, sporty color-block knit tank dresses and pleated cotton poplin shirt dresses for something polished, feminine, and easy. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "When Did "Wearable" Become a Dirty Word in Fashion?," 27 Mar. 2019 Charlton and his team located the aforementioned cotton swab during minor surgery. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "A Man Developed a Near-Fatal Infection in His Brain Lining After Using a Cotton Swab," 15 Mar. 2019 From prairie-like cotton night gowns to cute tie-dye sets, there’s a pajama for each and every spring occasion (yes, including napping). Teen Vogue, "It’s OK If You Want to Wear These 15 Pajamas Out Of The House," 13 Mar. 2019 Rising from the cotton fields and dusty roads not far from the dark fence marking the U.S.-Mexico border, the camp has rows of beige tents and golf carts that ferry staffers carrying walkie-talkies. Garance Burke And Martha Mendoza, The Seattle Times, "US waived FBI checks on staff at growing teen migrant camp," 28 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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

21 Apr 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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