cotton-wool

cotton wool

noun
1.
cotton in its raw state, as on the boll or gathered but unprocessed.
2.

Origin:
1590–1600

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cotton wool
 
n
1.  chiefly (Brit) Also called: purified cotton, Usual US term: absorbent 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
2.  cotton in the natural state
3.  informal (Brit)
 a.  a state of pampered comfort and protection
 b.  (as modifier): a cotton-wool existence

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