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A thatched cottage in Herefordshire, United Kingdom.
A public toilet in London, United Kingdom.


Late Middle English, from Anglo-Norman cotage and Medieval Latin cotagium, from Old Northern French cot, cote (hut, cottage) + -age (surrounding property), from Proto-Germanic *kutan, *kuta- (shed), probably of non-Indo-European origin, possibly borrowed from Uralic; compare Finnish kota (hut, house) and Hungarian ház (house), both from Proto-Finno-Ugric/Proto-Uralic *kota. However, also compare Dutch and English hut.[1][2]

Old Northern French cote is 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)

  1. A small house.
    Synonyms: cot, hut
  2. 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.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Thinks I to myself, “Sol, you're run off your course again. This is a rich man's summer ‘cottage’ and if you don't look out there's likely to be some nice, lively dog taking an interest in your underpinning.”
  3. (UK, slang, archaic) A public lavatory.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:bathroom
  4. (Polari) A meeting place for homosexual men.
    Synonyms: gingerbread office, tea room, tearoom, teahouse, (US) tea house

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • French: cottage



cottage (third-person singular simple present cottages, present participle cottaging, simple past and past participle cottaged)

  1. To stay at a seasonal home, to go cottaging.
  2. (intransitive, Polari, of men) To have homosexual sex in a public lavatory; to practice cottaging.


  1. ^ Kroonen, Guus (2013), “kuta”, in Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 11), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 313-14
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from English cottage.



cottage m (plural cottages)

  1. cottage

Further reading[edit]



cottage m (uncountable)

  1. cottage cheese (a cheese curd product)