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
• • •
▪ 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)
▪ 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. 2012