Word of the Day: Cotton


cot-ton / kŏt-n


1. any of various shrubby plants of the genus Gossypium, having broad leaves and showy flowers, grown for its fiber and oil bearing seeds

Their one object seemed to be to plant nothing but cotton; and in many cases cotton was planted up to the very door of the cabin.

From “Up From Slavery” by Booker T. Washington, 1856 – 1915

2. the white fiber of the cotton plant of the genus Gossypium, used to make cloth, thread, etc.

Not a breath of air stirred over the free and open prairie; the clouds were like light piles of cotton; and where the blue sky was visible, it wore a hazy and languid aspect.

Francis Parkman, 1823 – 1893

3. plants of the genus Gossypium collectively, grown as a cultivated crop

 And you prate of the wealth of nations, as if it were bought and sold,

The wealth of nations is men, not silk and cotton and gold.

Richard Hovey, 1864 – 1900

4. cloth, thread, etc. made from the fibers of the cotton plant of the genus Gossypium

The meaner sort of people here dress themselves very plain; they only wear drawers, and a thick garment of cotton, that covers the rest of their bodies: the people of quality, especially those that frequent the court, run into the contrary extreme, and ruin themselves with costly habits.

From “A Voyage to Abyssinia” by Father Jeronimo Lobo, 1593 – 1678

5. any soft downy fibers obtain from other plant sources such as from kapok or cottonwood

Believe it or not, all that fluffy cotton blowing everywhere is a sign that pollination for the cottonwood is over.

Shaun Kanary, “No, It’s Not Snowing – 5 Facts About Cottonwood Trees”, ‘Weed Pro’, www.weed-pro.com/blog/bid/180597/No-It-s-Not-Snowing-5-Facts-About-Cottonwood-Trees, accessed March 12, 2024


1. to agree with

I didn’t cotton to the idea that your religion should be flaunted to other people.

Willie Nelson, 1933 –

2. to start liking or having an affection for

A quarrel will end in one of you being turned off, in which case it will not be easy to cotton with another.

From “Directions to the Servants” by Jonathan Swift, 1667 – 1745

3. to begin to understand

Investment banks have cottoned on the fact that they’re in a battle with top technology firms for graduates that would have previously gravitated to high-paying and prestigious jobs in the financial sector.

Paul Clarke, “This Credit Suisse associate has just quit banking to join Uber”, www.efinancialcareers.com/news/2017/08/credit-suisse-uber, accessed March 12, 2024