(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)
cotton on (third-person singular simple present cottons on, present participle cottoning on, simple past and past participle cottoned on)
- (intransitive) To realize; come to understand.
- Synonym: glom on
2019 July 30, Rowena Mason, “Dominic Cummings said Tory MPs do not care about poor people or NHS”, in The Guardian:
“That is what most people in the country have thought about the Tory party for decades. […] Tory MPs largely do not care about these poorer people. They don’t care about the NHS. And the public has kind of cottoned on to that.”