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Cotton on   /kˈɑtən ɑn/   Listen
Cotton on

Understand, usually after some initial difficulty.  Synonyms: catch on, get it, get onto, get wise, latch on, tumble, twig.

WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University

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"Cotton on" Quotes from Famous Books

... it to be a war for human freedom, the sentiment of the British people changed—of the British people as distinct from the governing classes; and the textile workers of the northern counties, whose mills could not get cotton on account of the blockade, declared their willingness to suffer and starve if the slaves in America ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... presented no more appealing picture of her father to Nancy's vivid imagination. Collier Pratt with the incongruous sewing equipment of the unaccustomed male, using, more than likely, black darning cotton on a white sock—Nancy's mental pictures were always full of the most realistic detail—bent tediously over a child's stocking, while the precious sunlight was streaming unheeded upon the waiting canvas. ...
— Outside Inn • Ethel M. Kelley

... the captains of industry who set this machinery going and directed the world-wide movement which resulted in multiplying the wealth of some and bringing comfort and prosperity to many. The references to the influence of cotton on such writers as Malthus and Darwin and upon such explorers as Columbus and Cortes show the breadth with which the author ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 2, 1917 • Various

... dashed! Old Jujube, with his bone-pointed hunting spear, began determining a couple of hundred years ago what I should be in this year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-four. J. Webb Davis, senior, added another brick to this structure, when he was picking cotton on his master's plantation ...
— The Strength of Gideon and Other Stories • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... Arish, I could not exist without opium and tobacco. I suppose that my reason was this night a little clouded with the dose I took; but towards midnight I was sobered by terror. I started up from the deck on which I had stretched myself; my turban was in flames—the bale of cotton on which I had rested was all on fire. I awakened two sailors, who were fast asleep on deck. The consternation became general, and the confusion increased the danger. The captain and my master were the most active, and suffered the most, in extinguishing ...
— Murad the Unlucky and Other Tales • Maria Edgeworth

... pieces valued at from 10,000 rupees downwards: magnificent smoking carpets, housings and trappings for horses, shawls, caps, kenkabs, and other articles of eastern attire, were spread out before us in gorgeous profusion. After eating a cardamum, and touching with our pocket-handkerchief some cotton on which had been dropped otto of roses, we ascended to the house-top, and found it built upon much the same plan as Cashmere Mull's, without its antique carving ...
— A Journey to Katmandu • Laurence Oliphant

... spinner for future delivery, the price being fixed according to current quotations in New York for deliveries to be made in the month specified in the contract, he would buy futures for a corresponding amount of cotton on the New York ...
— The Fabric of Civilization - A Short Survey of the Cotton Industry in the United States • Anonymous

... a dog's life," he said to himself, as he looked at the Ford a hundred yards or so to his right, where, at the moment, his subaltern was engaged levying toll upon some Yunnan merchants who were carrying cotton on pack-mules into China. After that he glanced behind him at the little cluster of buildings on the hill, and groaned once more. "I wonder what they are doing in England," he continued. "Trout-fishing has just begun, and I can imagine the ...
— My Strangest Case • Guy Boothby

... white man. Mr. Tom Casteel, he had he place just up de ribber from us, on de island, and when he gived de letter to de man an de man read it, he said de Yankees is comin' and he lit out for de ribber where de boat was waitin' for him and got 'way and dere was all dat loose cotton on de groun' and us was skeered to sit fire to de cotton den and 'bout dat time de Yankees arive and say don' you burn dat cotton and dey looked all ober de place and find de bales dat was hid in de woods and de nex' day dey come and haul it off and dey say us niggers can hab dat what de ties been ...
— Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves - Arkansas Narratives Part 3 • Works Projects Administration

Words linked to "Cotton on" :   compass, grasp, savvy, apprehend, grok, comprehend, get the picture, dig

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