Meaning of COTTON in English
n [ U ]
a type of cloth made from a plant and used for making clothes. 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 through Liverpool. The new inventions of the Industrial Revolution meant that the Lancashire factories could produce large amounts of 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
. 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.
Oxford guide to British and American culture English vocabulary. Руководство по британской и американской культуре, Оксфордский английский словарь. 2005