cotillion (n.) type of dance, 1766, from Fr. cotillion (15c.), originally "petticoat," a double dim. of O.Fr. cote "skirt" (see COAT (Cf. coat)); its application to a kind of dance arose in France and is considered obscure by some linguists, but there are lively turns in the dance that flash the petticoats.
Meaning "formal ball" is 1898, American English, short for cotillion ball. French uses -on (from L. -onem) to reinforce Latin nouns felt to need more emphatic power (e.g. poisson from L. piscis). It also uses -on to form diminutives, often strengthened by the insertion of -ill-, as in the case of this word.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • cotillion — [kō til′yən] n. [Fr cotillon, orig., petticoat < OFr cote: see COAT] 1. a) a brisk, lively dance characterized by many intricate figures and the continual changing of partners b) music for such a dance 2. a formal ball, esp. one at which… …   English World dictionary

  • Cotillion — For other uses, see Cotillion (disambiguation). Cotillion figures demonstrated in the Festsaal, Hofburg, Vienna, in 2008 The cotillion is a type of patterned social dance that originated in France in the 18th century and was originally made up of …   Wikipedia

  • cotillion — /keuh til yeuhn, koh /, n. 1. a formal ball given esp. for debutantes. 2. a lively French social dance originating in the 18th century, consisting of a variety of steps and figures and performed by couples. 3. any of various dances resembling the …   Universalium

  • Cotillion — Cotillon Co til lon (k[ o] t[ e] y[^o]N or k[ o] t[ e]l ; 277), Cotillion Co*til lion (k[ o]*t[i^]l y[u^]n), n. [F. cotillon, fr. OF. cote coat, LL. cotta tunic. See {Coat}.] 1. A brisk dance, performed by eight persons; a quadrille. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cotillion — noun a) A bold dance performed in groups of eight where ladies lift their skirts to display their ankles b) The music regulating the cotillion …   Wiktionary

  • cotillion — also cotillon noun Etymology: French cotillon, literally, petticoat, from Old French, from cote coat Date: 1728 1. a ballroom dance for couples that resembles the quadrille 2. an elaborate dance with frequent changing of partners carried out… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cotillion — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. german; ball, square dance. See amusement. II (Roget s 3 Superthesaurus) n. ball, dance …   English dictionary for students

  • cotillion — co|til|lion [ kə tıliən ] noun count an old word meaning a formal dance …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cotillion — elaborate ballroom dance with frequent changes of partner Dance Styles …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • cotillion — n. type of formal dance …   English contemporary dictionary