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cotton wool

noun
1.
cotton in its raw state, as on the boll or gathered but unprocessed.
2.
British, absorbent cotton.
Origin
1590-1600
1590-1600
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cotton wool
  • But the way to nurture them is not to wrap them in cotton wool and to step in with help every time markets are tough.
  • Or they'll say that bullfighters stop up the nostrils of bulls with cotton wool.
  • Boot marks on the stomach, fist-sized holes in the back, cotton wool stuffed into them.
  • At the back of the drawer sat the white swan's egg cushioned in a bed of cotton wool.
British Dictionary definitions for cotton wool

cotton wool

noun
1.
(mainly Brit) Also called purified cotton. bleached and sterilized cotton from which the gross impurities, such as the seeds and waxy matter, have been removed: used for surgical dressings, tampons, etc Usual US term absorbent cotton
2.
cotton in the natural state
3.
(Brit, informal)
  1. a state of pampered comfort and protection
  2. (as modifier): a cotton-wool existence
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Difficulty index for cotton wool

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cotton

8
10
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