cot·​ton·​wood | \ ˈkä-tᵊn-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce cottonwood (audio) \

Definition of cottonwood

: any of several poplars having seeds with cottony hairs especially : one (Populus deltoides) of the eastern and central U.S. often cultivated for its rapid growth and luxuriant foliage

Examples of cottonwood in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web River bottoms dotted with cottonwood trees and areas containing mostly oak and pinyon-juniper trees, are favorite spots. Brian Lovett, Outdoor Life, "The 2020 Spring Turkey Hunting State-by-State Forecast," 3 Feb. 2020 Aspen, cottonwood, oak and birch leaves turn from green to yellow or gold in the mountain town about two hours north of L.A. Non-native maple trees in the mountain resort’s Village add bright reds. Los Angeles Times, "Where to find fall colors close to L.A.: Big Bear is almost at peak," 18 Oct. 2019 Thanks to the past year’s record moisture and lingering snowpack, the colors of the aspen, cottonwood and willow trees on the eastern slopes of the Sierra are expected to be more dazzling than ever. Sharon Boorstin, Los Angeles Times, "It’s autumn! California’s fall color spots are starting to pop," 23 Sep. 2019 For a short stretch passing through ranchlands, the river starts to flow again, forming a shallow stream with algae swaying in the current beneath towering cottonwoods., "It's one of Arizona's most precious rivers. Hundreds of new wells may leave it running dry," 5 Dec. 2019 Maple, black walnut, ash, cottonwood, spruce, cedar and white pine trees dot the property. Mary Divine, Twin Cities, "Land in Bayport to become city park and be ‘set aside forever’," 12 Oct. 2019 Side canyons emerged, including Horse Camp Canyon dotted with sycamores and cottonwoods. David Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "Heading south in Steinbeck’s footsteps, with a Prius and a plan," 5 Oct. 2019 The more water that got pumped out of the aquifers, the less flowed into the river—and the wetlands, cottonwood stands, fauna, and rushing waters of the San Pedro all suffered. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "We pump too much water out of the ground—and that’s killing our rivers," 2 Oct. 2019 Poudre Canyon/Laramie River valley Take Colorado Highway 14 west from Fort Collins into Poudre Canyon to see colorful cottonwoods. John Meyer, The Know, "Fall color changes are about to begin. Here’s where to go leaf peeping in Colorado.," 19 Sep. 2019

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

1802, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of cottonwood was in 1802

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Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cottonwood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce cottonwood (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cottonwood

: a type of tree that grows in the U.S. and has seeds that look like they are covered with cotton


cot·​ton·​wood | \ ˈkä-tᵊn-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce cottonwood (audio) \

Kids Definition of cottonwood

: a poplar tree that has seeds with bunches of hairs resembling cotton

More from Merriam-Webster on cottonwood

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cottonwood Encyclopedia article about cottonwood

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