Meaning of COTTON in English


I. cot ‧ ton 1 W3 /ˈkɒtn $ ˈkɑːtn/ BrE AmE noun [uncountable]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: coton , from Arabic qutn ]

1 . cloth or thread made from the white hair of the cotton plant:

a white cotton shirt

Made from 100% cotton.

2 . a plant with white hairs on its seeds that are used for making cotton cloth and thread

3 . British English thread used for sewing:

a needle and cotton

a cotton reel (=small round tube which cotton thread is wound around)

4 . American English ↑ cotton wool

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ thin/light cotton

a thin cotton dress

▪ fine cotton (=thin and good quality)

For summer, fine cotton is more comfortable.

▪ pure cotton (=not mixed with any other materials)

shirts made from pure cotton

▪ raw cotton (=natural, and not prepared for use)

They imported raw cotton from America.

▪ 50%/100 per cent etc cotton

These lightweight trousers are made from 100% cotton.

■ cotton + NOUN

▪ a cotton shirt/dress/jacket etc

Egyptian cotton sheets are very expensive here.

▪ cotton cloth/fabric

cotton cloth from India

▪ cotton thread (=long thin cotton string that you use for sewing)

I need some dark blue cotton thread.

▪ the cotton industry/trade

The cotton industry began to boom in the 1780s.

▪ a cotton field/farmer/plantation etc

Texas produced half of the US cotton crop.

▪ a cotton mill (=factory where cotton is made into thread or cloth)

■ verbs

▪ be made of/from cotton

The fabric is made of cotton or wool.

II. cotton 2 BrE AmE verb

[ Date: 1800-1900 ; Origin: cotton 'to be successful' (16-19 centuries) , perhaps from cotton (of cloth) 'to form a soft surface' (15-19 centuries) , from ⇨ ↑ cotton 1 ]

cotton on phrasal verb informal

to begin to understand something ⇨ realize :

It took me a while to cotton on.

cotton on to

Sarah soon cottoned on to what he was trying to do.

cotton to somebody/something phrasal verb American English informal

to begin to like a person, idea etc SYN take to :

I didn’t cotton to her at first, but she’s really nice.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.