Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cotton-picking adj.

[the role of the slaves who picked cotton in the American South and as such an implicitly racist term]

1. a general term of abuse, second-rate, vulgar, insignificant.

[[US]S. Northup Twelve Years A Slave 87: She was a beauty — a picture — a doll [...] None of your thick-lipped, bullet-headed, cotton-picking niggers].
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 32: Where’s them cotton-picking sacks?
[US](con. 1943–5) A. Murphy To Hell and Back (1950) 48: Okay, gourd-head. Get that cotton-picking butt off the ground.
[US]Mad mag. Dec.–Jan. 13: Git your cotton pickin’ hands off that drumstick.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 16: Freddy [...] yelled at them to go fuck their mothers, ya cottonpickin bastards.
[UK]T. Rhone Smile Orange I i: You cotton-picking son of a gun!
[Aus]P. Temple Black Tide (2012) [ebook] Not so much out of the square [...] as out of your cotton-picking mind.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 117: Cut on me? Are you outta your cottonpickin’ mind?

2. a euph. for damned adj.

[US]J.L. Herlihy ‘Sleep of Baby Filbertson’ Sleep of Baby Filbertson and Other Stories (1964) 14: In Santa Fe there’d been too much cotton-pickin’ sunshine.
[US](con. 1944) A. Myrer Big War 286: He saved my cotton-picking ass.
[US]‘Tom Pendleton’ Iron Orchard (1967) 148: I haven’t lost a cotton-pickin’ thing in Odessa.
[US]D. Goines Daddy Cool (1997) 112: You must be out of your cotton-pickin’ mind!
Atlanta Journal 2 Sept. n.p.: Let’s just forget about the whole cotton-pickin’ thing [R].
[UK]Guardian 14 Nov. 22: I about had a cotton-pickin’ stroke. I hollered for my wife and I said, ‘The dadburned ballots are still in the car’.