Middle English cotoun, from Anglo-Norman cotun, Old French coton, from (Genoese) Old Italian cotone, from Arabic قُطُن, of uncertain origin. There is no apparent semantic link between the Arabic word and the root , leading to suggestions that it is a corruption of another word, such as كَتّان or (more distant phonologically) جَفْنَة. Cognate to Dutch katoen, German Kattun, Italian cotone, Spanish algodón, and Portuguese algodão.
1560s, either from Welsh cydun, cytun (cyduno, cytuno), from cyd, cyt + un, literally “to be at one with”, or by metaphor with the textile, as cotton blended well with other textiles, notably wool in hat-making.
Modern English dictionary
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