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Related to cotton: silk
To begin to understand something; to grasp fully; to catch on. Primarily heard in UK. It took me a few moments to cotton on, but I soon realized that they were talking about me.
be in tall cotton
To be in a time or period of great success or wellbeing; to be doing very well. We were in tall cotton after my wife's late uncle left us his fortune. I hear Jeff's in tall cotton out in New York City.
be touching cotton
semi-vulgar slang To have a very urgent or desperate need to defecate. (Refers jokingly to one's feces protruding into one's underpants.) Boy, it's a good thing we got home when we did—I was touching cotton on the way here!
A state of success (likened to the image of a field of well-growing cotton plants). Typically used in the phrase "in high cotton." I can't believe I got such good grades this semester—I'm really in high cotton now!
live in cotton wool
To lead a sheltered life, one devoid of stress and danger. The image here is of being wrapped in cotton and thus protected. Primarily heard in UK. I never realized how much I had been living in cotton wool until I traveled and saw what true poverty looks like.
bless (one's) cotton socks
An expression of one's fondness for another person. Look at this picture that my sweet daughter drew me, bless her cotton socks!
cotton (on)to (someone or something)
1. To like someone or something; to view someone or something favorably. It takes me a while to cotton to new people—I have to get to know them first. After we explained our plan again, the rest of the group seemed to cotton onto it.
2. To begin to understand something. Thanks for explaining that concept to me—I think I'm cottoning onto it now.
An intensifier used to express one's anger or frustration. Oh, he's just a cotton-picking fool—don't listen to a word he says!
cotton up to (one)
To pursue preferential treatment from one, often through flattery. Since I'm deciding who gets the promotion, Crystal has been cottoning up to me by buying me coffee all week.
wrap (one) up in cotton wool
To be overprotective of one; to coddle one. You need to let the little lad play in the dirt once in a while. If you keep wrapping him up in cotton wool, he'll grow up too soft.
cotton (on)to someone or something
Rur. to begin to like or agree to someone or something quickly. She began to cotton to Fred, despite his country ways. She cottoned onto Jane's way of thinking.
cotton up to someone
Rur. to try to make friends with someone; to flatter or fawn on someone in hopes of favorable treatment. James set out to cotton up to the parents of his friends. Just watch her cotton up to the teacher!
in high cottonand in tall cotton
Rur. to be doing very well; successful. Jim's in high cotton ever since he got that raise. Tom: How's your sister? Mary: She's in high cotton. Just bought a nice new house. We were in tall cotton until the IRS caught up with us.
in low cotton
Rur. depressed. She was in low cotton because her dress got torn. Jed is in low cotton because his favorite hound is dead.
1. Take a liking to, get along with, as in This dog doesn't cotton to strangers. Although this verbal phrase comes from the noun for the fabric, the semantic connection between these parts of speech is unclear. [Early 1800s]
2. Also, cotton on to. Come to understand, grasp, as in She didn't really cotton on to what I was saying. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
To come to understand something: I finally cottoned onto the new method.
1. To take a liking to someone or something: That dog doesn't cotton to strangers.
2. To come to understand something: I finally cottoned to the new computer system.
To attempt to be friendly to someone or something: The teachers all cottoned up to the new principal.
mod. worthless; damned. (Folksy.) Who is this cotton-picking bigwig pushing us around?
in tall cotton
mod. successful; on easy street. (Folksy.) I won some money at the track, and I’m really in tall cotton.