Cotton vs Silk what difference

what is difference between Cotton and Silk


Etymology 1

Middle English cotoun, from Anglo-Norman cotun, Old French coton, from (Genoese) Old Italian cotone, from Arabic قُطُن(quṭun), of uncertain origin. There is no apparent semantic link between the Arabic word and the root ق ط ن(q-ṭ-n), leading to suggestions that it is a corruption of another word, such as كَتّان(kattān, flax) or (more distant phonologically) جَفْنَة(jafna, vine). Cognate to Dutch katoen, German Kattun, Italian cotone, Spanish algodón, and Portuguese algodão.


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈkɑt.n̩/, [ˈkɑʔ.n̩]
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈkɒt.n̩/
  • Rhymes: -ɒtən
  • Hyphenation: cot‧ton


cotton (usually uncountable, plural cottons)

  1. Gossypium, a genus of plant used as a source of cotton fiber.
  2. Any plant that encases its seed in a thin fiber that is harvested and used as a fabric or cloth.
  3. Any fiber similar in appearance and use to Gossypium fiber.
  4. (textiles) The textile made from the fiber harvested from a cotton plant, especially Gossypium.
  5. (countable) An item of clothing made from cotton.
Derived terms


cotton (not comparable)

  1. Made of cotton.


cotton (third-person singular simple present cottons, present participle cottoning, simple past and past participle cottoned)

  1. (transitive) To provide with cotton.
    1. To supply with a cotton wick.
    2. To fill with a wad of cotton.
    3. (horticulture) To wrap with a protective layer of cotton fabric.
    4. To cover walls with fabric.
    5. (tar and cotton) To cover with cotton bolls over a layer of tar (analogous to tar and feather )
  2. To make or become cotton-like
    1. To raise a nap, providing with a soft, cottony texture.
    2. To develop a porous, cottony texture.
    3. To give the appearance of being dotted with cotton balls.
    4. To enshroud with a layer of whiteness.
  3. To protect from harsh stimuli, coddle, or muffle.
  4. To rub or burnish with cotton.


  • Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “cotton”, in Online Etymology Dictionary
  • Duschak, Moritz (1870) Die Botanik des Talmud (in German), Pest: I. Neuer, pages 7–10
  • Fraenkel, Siegmund (1886) Die aramäischen Fremdwörter im Arabischen (in German), Leiden: E. J. Brill, page 42
  • Löw, Immanuel (1881) Aramæische Pflanzennamen[2] (in German), Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, page 92
  • Löw, Immanuel (1924) Die Flora der Juden[3] (in German), volume 2, Wien und Leipzig: R. Löwit, pages 235 seqq., for Arabic Löw, Immanuel (1924) Die Flora der Juden[4] (in German), volume 2, Wien und Leipzig: R. Löwit, pages 241–242.

Etymology 2

1560s, either from Welsh cydun, cytun (agree, coincide) (cyduno, cytuno), from cyd, cyt + un (one), literally “to be at one with”, or by metaphor with the textile, as cotton blended well with other textiles, notably wool in hat-making.


cotton (third-person singular simple present cottons, present participle cottoning, simple past and past participle cottoned)

  1. To get on with someone or something; to have a good relationship with someone.
Usage notes

Generally used with prepositions on, to; see cotton on, cotton to.

Derived terms
  • cotton on
  • cotton to


  • Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “cotton”, in Online Etymology Dictionary
  • Take Our Word For It: Issue 178, page 2
  • Palmer, Abram Smythe (1882) Folk-etymology: a dictionary of verbal corruptions or words perverted in form or meaning, by false derivation or mistaken analogy, G. Bell and Sons, page 76

Middle English



  1. (Late Middle English) Alternative form of coton



From Middle English silk, sylk, selk, selc, from Old English sioloc, seoloc, seolc (silk). The immediate source is uncertain; it probably reached English via the Baltic trade routes (cognates in Old Norse silki (> Danish silke, Swedish silke (silk)), Russian шёлк (šolk), obsolete Lithuanian zilkaĩ), all ultimately from Late Latin sēricus, from Ancient Greek σηρικός (sērikós), ultimately from an Oriental language (represented now by e.g. Chinese (, silk)). Compare Seres. Doublet of seric.


  • enPR: sĭlk, IPA(key): /sɪlk/
  • Rhymes: -ɪlk


silk (countable and uncountable, plural silks)

  1. (chiefly uncountable) A fine fiber excreted by the silkworm or other arthropod (such as a spider).
  2. A fine, soft cloth woven from silk fibers.
  3. Anything which resembles silk, such as the filiform styles of the female flower of maize, or the seed covering of bombaxes.
  4. The gown worn by a Senior (i.e. Queen’s/King’s) Counsel.
  5. (colloquial) A Senior (i.e. Queen’s or King’s) Counsel.
  6. (circus arts, in the plural) A pair of long silk sheets suspended in the air on which a performer performs tricks.
  7. (horse racing, usually in the plural) The garments worn by a jockey displaying the colors of the horse’s owner.

Derived terms



silk (third-person singular simple present silks, present participle silking, simple past and past participle silked)

  1. (transitive) To remove the silk from (corn).
    • 2013, Lynetra T. Griffin, From Whence We Came (page 17)
      While we shucked and silked the corn, we talked, sang old nursery rhymes []

See also

  • sericin


  • Kils, Lisk, ilks, skil

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