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Anglo-Norman, from Old Northern French cot, cote (“hut, cottage”) + -age (“surrounding property”). Old Northern French cote probably from Old Norse kot (“hut”), cognate of Old English cot of same Proto-Germanic origin.
Slang sense “public toilet“ from 19th century, due to resemblance.
cottage (plural cottages)
- A small house; a cot; a hut.
- A seasonal home of any size or stature. A recreational home or a home in a remote location.
- Most cottages in the area were larger and more elaborate than my home.
- (Britain, slang, dated) A public toilet.
Sense “public toilet” dates from 19th century, now only in gay slang.
- To stay at a seasonal home, to go cottaging.
- (intransitive, Britain, slang) Of men: To have homosexual sex in a public lavatory; to practice cottaging.