a cottony blanket

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Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "a cottony blanket" means in the following sentences:

Axel Egge's General Store, frequented by Scandinavian farmers. In the shallow dark window-space heaps of sleazy sateens, badly woven galateas, canvas shoes designed for women with bulging ankles, steel and red glass buttons upon cards with broken edges, a cottony blanket, a granite-ware frying-pan reposing on a sun-faded crepe blouse.

- Sinclair Lewis, Main Street, Chapter 4

Carol and Kennicott, the newly married, finally arrived at their new home at Gopher Prairie, Kennicott's hometown, after their honeymoon trip. Even before they unpacked their suitcases, however, Kennicott excused himself for an hour to see how the things were at his office (he was a country doctor). Left alone, Carol was dismayed, and gave up unpacking for a walk. Walking along the streets, she noticed Axel Egge's General Store.

In this part, I could not grasp what a "cottony" blanket was.
Does it mean that the blanket was made of cotton?
Or that it had masses of textiles produced from abrasion, like the following image?



I would very much appreciate your help. :)
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "Cottony (adj.) -> resembling, or having a high percentage of, or having the texture or quality of, cotton. Also "composed of".

    The "-y" suffix can be attached to some nouns to create an adjective, and/or has the effect of adding the nuance "tending towards":

    "Nobody would drink the water because it was a yellowy green."
    "The stony road hurt her bare feet."
    "It is cold outside put on your woolly scarf."
    "The grassy farmland was perfect for the cows."
    "His skin was pale and had a papery thinness."

    Compare with the suffix "-ish".
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear PaulQ,

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    Then the blanket was made of wool, instead of having fiber masses on its surface.
    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear PaulQ,

    Oh, why did my fingers write wool while I was thinking cotton?
    Such a mystery. :eek:
    Thank you for correcting me. :)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    All the items for sale seem to be of low quality. I take it that the blanket is not pure wool, as one might expect. It isn't a "cotton blanket" either, but possibly a wool/cotton mix, with a large proportion of cotton for cheapness.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear velisarius,

    Thank you very much for the additional explanation.
    Then "cottony" here implies not only that the blanket was made of cotton, but also that it was of low quality.
    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Only in this context. There's nothing wrong with an honest-to-goodness cotton blanket, but "cottony" in context seems to imply something inferior.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear velisarius,

    Thank you very much for the additional explanation.
    So "cottony" means something inferior in some cases depending on the context, and the quote was the case.
    I truly appreciate your help. :)
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    This word does not appear in the OED after 1876. I have no idea how it is used in AE.

    The American Heritage Dictionary gives:
    1. Of or resembling cotton; fluffy.
    2. Covered with fibers resembling cotton; nappy.
     
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