any small North American rabbit of the genus Sylvilagus, having a brownish coat and fluffy white tail.

1865–70, Americanism; cotton + tail1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cottontail (ˈkɒtənˌteɪl)
any of several common rabbits of the genus Sylvilagus, such as S. floridanus (eastern cottontail), of American woodlands

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Suburban neighborhoods are ideal breeding grounds for coyotes favorite food:
  cottontail rabbit.
The cottontail rabbit is one of the few native animals that has been benefited
  by civilization.
Cottontail rabbits continue to dominate the harvest as expected.
Cottontail harvest appears to be well under minimum sustainable levels.
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