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cotter1

[kot-er] /ˈkɒt ər/
noun
1.
a pin, wedge, key, or the like, fitted or driven into an opening to secure something or hold parts together.
verb (used with object)
3.
to secure with a cotter.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English coter; akin to late Middle English coterell iron bracket; of uncertain origin

cotter2

[kot-er] /ˈkɒt ər/
noun
1.
Scot. a person occupying a plot of land and cottage, paid for in services.
2.
cottager (def 2).
Origin
1175-1225; Middle English cotere < Anglo-French cot(i)er; see cot2, -er2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cotter

cotter1

/ˈkɒtə/
noun
1.
any part, such as a pin, wedge, key, etc, that is used to secure two other parts so that relative motion between them is prevented
2.
short for cotter pin
verb
3.
(transitive) to secure (two parts) with a cotter
Word Origin
C14: shortened from cotterel, of unknown origin

cotter2

/ˈkɒtə/
noun
1.
(English history) Also called cottier. a villein in late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman times occupying a cottage and land in return for labour
2.
Also called cottar. a peasant occupying a cottage and land in the Scottish Highlands under the same tenure as an Irish cottier
See also cottier (sense 2), cottager (sense 1)
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin cotārius, from Middle English cotecot²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for cotter
n.

1640s, perhaps a shortened form of cotterel, a dialectal word for "cotter pin or bolt, bracket to hang a pot over a fire" (1560s), itself of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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