One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in Scotland and Ireland) a farm labourer or tenant occupying a cottage in return for labour.
- ‘All that could be carried off was taken, all that could not was wasted by the fires they kindled, even onto the humblest grain store-house of the poor cottars.’
- ‘Though not free men, they were above the bordars and cottars who held less land, and well above the slaves, who had been numerous in Saxon England.’
- ‘He had also freeborn cottars and slaves to farm his land.’
- ‘All villeins and cottars in the Seven Kingdoms gather to celebrate the successful harvests of the summer seasons and to prepare for the coming winter.’
- ‘Go up into the north and see the cotters living on poorer and poorer than their fathers had been, crowded down and driven off good land on to poor land.’
Late Old English, from cot + -ar.
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