from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having a long fiber: a commercial term applied to cotton of a superior grade, also called sea-island cotton. See cotton-plant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having relatively long fibers


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • "... the decline of the rice barons began with Eli Whitney's cotton gin. Cotton had long been grown in South Carolina, but only on the islands between Charleston and Savannah, where the 'long-staple' variety of the plant did well, staple being the fiber or wool in the boll. This premium strain would not grow in the rolling piedmont of the upstate, where only 'short-staple' cotton, with its coarser, shorter fiber, thrived. Short-staple cotton required never-ending handwork to clean, because its fibers clung to the seed more firmly than those of the long-staple variety, so the more common plant did not catch on—that is, until the invention of the cotton gin. Eli Whitney's cotton gin, with its revolving cylinder lined by teeth, pulled the seed from the raw fiber, and made the piedmont cotton profitable."

    —Edward Ball, Slaves in the Family (NY: Ballantine Books, 1998), 300–301

    This development, incidentally, also helped grow the domestic slave trade and perpetuate slavery, which many leaders of the 1780s and 1790s felt was on the verge of dying out in the United States.

    October 13, 2009