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

The replacement flags can be of cotton or nylon in various sizes from 3'x5' to 8'x12'. courant.com, "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 12 June 2019 And Gidget looks like a cotton ball with legs, But the rest of the pets aren’t rendered with such detail. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Review: More like the ‘Mildly Entertaining Life of Pets 2’," 6 June 2019 Yes, gardeners can test the microbial fitness of their soil by burying briefs for two months to see how much of the cotton has been eaten away by beneficial bacteria, arthropods and other microorganisms. oregonlive.com, "Bury those tighty whities to test garden soil’s health," 5 June 2019 Watch out, cotton: Tencel fibers are having a moment. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Tencel Fabric," 23 May 2019 The streets are winding, the boutiques sell colorful cotton dresses and crisp linen shirts, and emanating from here and there is distinctly Greek pop music, full of trebly bouzouki sounds and minor key warblings. Adam Gopnik, Town & Country, "My First Visit to the Greek Islands Turned Out to Be a Journey Home," 20 May 2019 The collection features traditionally feminine colors with a masculine edge, playing with suits and dresses in textiles including cotton canvas, denim, and leather. Elizabeth Denton, Allure, "Rihanna Shares First Look at Her Luxury Clothing Line in T Magazine," 20 May 2019 These 100 percent cotton towels have all of these benefits thanks to an extra-large waffle weave with deep honeycomb pockets and wide edges, allowing you to save energy, water, time, and money. Don't worry! Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "These Smart Towels Are Naturally Antibacterial, so They’ll Never Smell," 8 May 2019 Inflation is low, unemployment is low, fish are jumping, and the cotton is high. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Growth Is Great, What Could Go Wrong? Trade.," 6 May 2019

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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Statistics for cotton

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

Comments on cotton

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