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- 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.
- (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?”
- 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."
- cotton-pickin' (figurative sense only)