Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

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 COTTON1

cotton

2 verb
     
cotton2

cotton on

phrasal verb
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
to begin to like a person, idea etc:
I didn't cotton to her at first, but she's really nice.

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