Definition of cottier in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒtɪə/


1 archaic A rural labourer living in a cottage.
Example sentences
  • The tenants, she noted, were a varied group, comprising farmers with large holdings, smallholders and at the bottom of the pile the landless cottiers and labourers, many of whom disappeared without trace in the middle of the 19th century.
  • The gap separating wealthy peasant farmers from cottiers and day labourers widened imperceptibly.
  • I grew up in a society where big farmers looked down on small farmers and small farmers in turn looked down on cottiers and landless men.
2 historical An Irish peasant holding land by cottier tenure.
Example sentences
  • But Mr. Mill forgets that, till you change the character of the Irish cottier, peasant-proprietorship would work no miracles.
  • The famine originated with the recurrent failure of the potato crop, devastating the Irish cottier and small farmer classes.
  • They were followed by tenant farmers to whom they leased land, and the cottiers who usually rented land on a year-by-year basis and were the most susceptible to economic downturns.


Middle English: from Old French cotier, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to cot2.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cot|tier

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