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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


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cotton-picking (uncountable)

  1. The harvesting of cotton
    • 1859, Opportunities for Industry and the Safe Investment of Capital:
      The season of cotton-picking commences in the latter part of July, and continues without intermission to the Christmas holidays.



  1. (US, dialectal, idiomatic, colloquial) An intensifier, like "darn", used for emphasis or to signify that something is of little value.
    • 1959, U.S. Army Aviation Center, U.S. Army Aviation School, United States Army aviation digest, page 31:
      "Now hold up here just a cotton-picking minute,"
    • 1967, Howard Fast., The Hunter and the Trap, page 14:
      "Oh, wait one damn cotton-picking minute," Andy said.
    • 1975, Richard M Nixon - Containing the Public Messages, Speeches, and Statements of the President:
      I think the President's Adviser on Domestic Affairs should keep his cotton-picking hands off the economic policy for a change.
    • 2019, Larry Johns, The Devil's Breath:
      Santana spat, “You've got to be out of your cotton-picking mind. Who the hell would go back to that place?”
  2. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see cotton,‎ picking.
    • 1965, “American law reports annotated. second series”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name), volume 76, page 1276:
      "...are not entitled to anything, Mrs. Wright, (referring to one of the appellees), because your son (referring to the deceased, F.A. Wright, Jr.), was a cotton picking Negro."

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