Definition of cotton in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkätn/


1A soft white fibrous substance that surrounds the seeds of a tropical and subtropical plant and is used as textile fiber and thread for sewing: a cargo of cotton and wheat a white cotton blouse an Indian hammock woven in colored cottons
More example sentences
  • I dressed quickly and simply in a white dress of soft cotton.
  • It is woven of white wool with red cotton piping.
  • While drying thousands of pounds of black and white cotton clothing, she slowly monoprinted texts on the lint trapped against the screen.
1.1A thread of cotton fiber.
Example sentences
  • They're usually crafted from a blend of cotton and stretchy synthetic fiber, which provides a great fit and a modern feel.
  • Identification of a locus specific to fiber development is an important step toward manipulation and improvement of cotton fiber properties.
  • The firm's services range from tracking fashion trends to developing scientific methods that can be used to measure the quality of cotton fibers.
1.2North American Absorbent cotton.
Example sentences
  • Once they conceive a quilt, the fabrics are chosen, cut up and combined using organic cotton wadding.
  • Fluid may be cleaned from the connection sites with cotton swabs, if needed.
  • Cotton swab palpation of areas outside the vulvar vestibule result in minimal pain.
2 (also cotton plant) The plant that is commercially grown for cotton products. Oil and a protein-rich flour are also obtained from the seeds.
  • Genus Gossypium, family Malvaceae: many species and forms, including G. barbadense, which is grown in the southern US.
Example sentences
  • The cotton plant is very sensitive to low available soil K.
  • Although the cotton plant can tolerate leaf damage and tip boring up to 50 per cent before yield is reduced, it is more susceptible to pest damage than most crops especially in the rainy season.
  • A period of 6 weeks is required for a cotton plant to complete opening of all bolls.


[no object] informal
1 (cotton on) Begin to understand: he cottoned on to what I was trying to say
More example sentences
  • In identifying that sport can act to promote social inclusion, it perhaps was years ahead of the government, whose social-inclusion partnerships are barely beginning to cotton on to the fact.
  • However, it seems many firms are beginning to cotton on.
  • English divers are beginning to cotton on to the underwater delights of Ireland's Atlantic coast.
2 (cotton to) North American Have a liking for: his rivals didn’t cotton to all the attention he was getting
More example sentences
  • I never quite cottoned to his replacement.
  • Of course, once Joe cottoned to this idea of visual stimulation, he completely threw himself into it.
  • The government could reduce other spending, but that will be difficult because all government spending is backed by well-organized interest groups who do not cotton to proposed cuts.



Pronunciation: /ˈkätnē/
Example sentences
  • Additionally, as one might imagine, the cottony head of the plant made an excellent all-purpose swab.
  • Her hands made contact with soft, cottony material.
  • The sky was a powder blue and white, cottony clouds rolled by, sometimes passing by the sun and blocking its rays and creating shadows on earth.


Late Middle English: from Old French coton, from Arabic ḳuṭn.

Words that rhyme with cotton

begotten, forgotten, ill-gotten, misbegotten, rotten

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cot·ton

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