- a manufacturing activity carried on, as in the early part of the Industrial Revolution, by farming out work to be done in the workers' homes
- any relatively small-scale business operation carried on as from the home
- any limited pursuit or activity involving an unusually large number of independent participants: James Joyce scholarship is a cottage industry among U.S. academics
The definition of a cottage industry is a manufacturing activity operated at home.
The handcrafts sold on Etsy.com are an example of a cottage industry.
- A usually small-scale industry carried on at home by family members using their own equipment.
- A small, loosely organized, yet flourishing complex of activity or industry: “The study of Gandhi has become a virtual cottage industry in the last 30 years, producing schools, museums, foundations and more than 400 biographies” ( Jean Strouse )