A soft, usually white fibrous substance like fine wool surrounding the seeds of various tropical and subtropical plants of the mallow family. It is extensively used in making threads, yarns, and fabrics.
M.E. coton, from O.Fr. coton, from O.It. cotone, from Ar.
Panbé "cotton" (dialectal Lori pamma, Kurd. pemû, maybe Tajik, Afqân pakta, pakhta, bakhta, bakta), from Mid.Pers. pambag "cotton," pambagin "made of cotton," perhaps loaned in Gk. bombux "silk, any silk-like fine fiber;" L. bombyx "silk, cotton," L.L. bombax "cotton," hence O.Fr. bombace "cotton, cotton wadding," E. bombast "cotton wool; inflated language."