cot·ton [cotton cottons cottoned cottoning] noun, verb BrE [ˈkɒtn]
NAmE [ˈkɑːtn]
noun uncountable
1. a plant grown in warm countries for the soft white hairs around its seeds that are used to make cloth and thread
cotton fields/plants
bales of cotton
2. the cloth made from the cotton plant
The sheets are 100% pure cotton.
a cotton shirt/skirt
printed cotton cloth
the cotton industry
a cotton mill
3. (especially BrE) thread that is used for sewing
sewing cotton
a cotton reel
4. (NAmE) (US also abˌsorbent ˈcotton) (BrE ˌcotton ˈwool) a soft mass of white material that is used for cleaning the skin or a wound
Use a cotton ball to apply the lotion.
Word Origin:
late Middle English: from Old French coton, from Arabic quṭn.
In the 19th century the cotton industry made the north-west of England one of the richest areas in the world. The cotton arrived at the port of Liverpool, was made into clothes in factories in Lancashire, and the clothes could be sent to other countries from Liverpool. The new inventions of the Industrial Revolution meant that the Lancashire factories could produce cotton goods and sell them around the world at lower prices than local goods. In the 20th century many other countries developed their own cotton industries, and most of the Lancashire factories closed.
In the US, the production of cotton was greatly improved after Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin (= a machine for separating the seeds of a cotton plant from the cotton) . The economy of the South was strongly based on cotton in the 19th century, and this led to the Civil War because the cotton plantations (= large farms) kept slaves. When the boll weevil insects destroyed many cotton fields in the early 20th century, Southern farmers began to grow other crops.
Example Bank:
a pure cotton T-shirt
shivering in her thin cotton nightdress
Derived: cotton on cotton to somebody
Verb forms:
Word Origin:
late Middle English: from Old French coton, from Arabic quṭn.
See also: absorbent cotton cotton wool

WordNet Dictionary:
1. soft silky fibers from cotton plants in their raw state
Syn: cotton fiber, cotton wool
3. erect bushy mallow plant or small tree bearing bolls containing seeds with many long hairy fibers
Syn: cotton plant
4. thread made of cotton fibers
take a liking to
- cotton to something

Webster's 1913 Dictionary:
n.1.A soft, downy substance, resembling fine wool, consisting of the unicellular twisted hairs which grow on the seeds of the cotton plant. Long-staple cotton has a fiber sometimes almost two inches long; short-staple, from two thirds of an inch to an inch and a half.
2.The cotton plant. See Cotten plant, below.
3.Cloth made of cotton.
Cotton cambric
See Cambric, n., 2.
Cotton flannel
the manufactures' name for a heavy cotton fabric, twilled, and with a long plush nap. In England it is called swan's-down cotton, or Canton flannel.
Cotton gin
a machine to separate the seeds from cotton, invented by Eli Whitney.
Cotton grass
(Bot.) a genus of plants (Eriphorum) of the Sedge family, having delicate capillary bristles surrounding the fruit (seedlike achenia), which elongate at maturity and resemble tufts of cotton.
Cotton mouse
(Zool.) a field mouse (Hesperomys gossypinus), injurious to cotton crops.
Cotton plant
(Bot.) a plant of the genus Gossypium, of several species, all growing in warm climates, and bearing the cotton of commerce. The common species, originally Asiatic, is Gossypium herbaceum.
Cotton press
a building and machinery in which cotton bales are compressed into smaller bulk for shipment; a press for baling cotton.
Cotton rose
(Bot.) a genus of composite herbs (Filago), covered with a white substance resembling cotton.
Cotton scale
(Zool.) a species of bark louse (Pulvinaria innumerabilis), which does great damage to the cotton plant.
Cotton shrub
Same as Cotton plant.
Cotton stainer
(Zool.) a species of hemipterous insect (Dysdercus suturellus), which seriously damages growing cotton by staining it; - called also redbug.
Cotton thistle
(Bot.) the Scotch thistle. See under Thistle.
Cotton velvet
velvet in which the warp and woof are both of cotton, and the pile is of silk; also, velvet made wholly of cotton.
Cotton waste
the refuse of cotton mills.
Cotton wool
cotton in its raw or woolly state.
Cotton worm
(Zool.) a lepidopterous insect (Aletia argillacea), which in the larval state does great damage to the cotton plant by eating the leaves. It also feeds on corn, etc., and hence is often called corn worm, and Southern army worm.
v. i.1.To rise with a regular nap, as cloth does.
It cottons well; it can not choose but bear
A pretty nap.
2.To go on prosperously; to succeed.
New, Hephestion, does not this matter cotton as I would?
3.To unite; to agree; to make friends; - usually followed by with.
A quarrel will end in one of you being turned off, in which case it will not be easy to cotton with another.
Didst see, Frank, how the old goldsmith cottoned in with his beggarly companion?
4.To take a liking to; to stick to one as cotton; - used with to.

Dream Dictionary:
To dream that you are picking cotton, suggests that you are seeing little benefits from all your long hard work. To dream that you are wearing cotton, symbolizes simplicity.

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