Any of various shrubby plants of the genus Gossypium, having showy flowers and grown for the soft white downy fibers surrounding oil-rich seeds. The fiber of any of these plants, used in making textiles and other products. Thread or cloth manufactured from the fiber of these plants. The crop of these plants. Any of various soft downy substances produced by other plants, as on the seeds of a cottonwood. Informal To take a liking; attempt to be friendly: a dog that didn't cotton to strangers; an administration that will cotton up to the most repressive of regimes. Informal To come to understand. Often used with to or onto: "The German bosses . . . never cottoned to such changes\u201d ( N.R. Kleinfield).