"a hut, a little house," Old English cote, fem. of cot (plural cotu) "small house, bedchamber, den;" see cottage. Applied to sheds for animals from early 15c.
Entries linking to cote
late 14c., "a cot, a humble habitation," as of a farm-laborer, from Old French cote "hut, cottage" + Anglo-French suffix -age (according to OED the whole probably denotes "the entire property attached to a cote"). Old French cot is probably from Old Norse kot "hut," cognate of Old English cot, cote "cottage, hut," from Proto-Germanic *kutan (source also of Middle Dutch cot, Dutch kot).
Meaning "small country residence or detached suburban house" (without suggestion of poverty or tenancy) is from 1765. Modern French cottage is a 19c. reborrowing from English. Cottage industry, one that can be done at home, is attested from 1854. Cottage cheese, the U.S. name for a kind of soft, white cheese, is attested from 1831, earliest in reference to Philadelphia:
There was a plate of rye-bread, and a plate of wheat, and a basket of crackers; another plate with half a dozen paltry cakes that looked as if they had been bought under the old Court House; some morsels of dried beef on two little tea-cup plates: and a small glass dish of that preparation of curds, which in vulgar language is called smear-case, but whose nom de guerre is cottage-cheese, at least that was the appellation given it by our hostess. ["Miss Leslie," "Country Lodgings," Godey's Lady's Book, July 1831]
1650s, "to fondle, caress, indulge, make a pet of," from a noun (1570s) meaning "lamb brought up as a pet" (applied to persons from 1590s), of uncertain origin. Perhaps [Skeat] from Old English cot-sæta "one who dwells in a cot" (see cote (n.) + sit (v.)). Related: Coseted; coseting. Compare German Hauslamm, Italian casiccio.