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Etymology 1 edit


Noun edit

cotter (plural cotters)

  1. (mechanical engineering) A pin or wedge inserted through a slot to hold machine parts together.
    • 1949 November and December, “Notes and News: The High Level Bridge, Newcastle”, in Railway Magazine, page 407:
      The chains are secured to each end of the cast-iron arches by cotters.
  2. (informal) A cotter pin.
Cotter (C on diagram)
Usage notes edit

The terms cotter and cotter pin are sometimes used interchangeably, although they have different functions. For a more detailed explanation see Wikipedia articles on cotter pin, cotter (pin), and split pin.

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Verb edit

cotter (third-person singular simple present cotters, present participle cottering, simple past and past participle cottered)

  1. (transitive) To fasten with a cotter.

Etymology 2 edit

From Middle English cotter, cotere, kottere, koter, cotier, equivalent to cot (cottage) +‎ -er, from Old English cot. Compare Old French coter, cotier.

Alternative forms edit

Noun edit

cotter (plural cotters)

  1. (historical) A peasant who performed labour in exchange for the right to live in a cottage.
    • 1786, Robert Burns, The Cotter's Saturday Night:
      The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes,— / This night his weekly moil is at an end,— / Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes, []
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