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Why is it called cotter pin?
"wedge-shaped piece or bolt which fits into a hole used in fastening or tightening," 1640s, of uncertain origin; perhaps a shortened form of cotterel, a dialectal word for "cotter pin or bolt, bracket to hang a pot over a fire" (1560s), itself of uncertain origin. Cotter-pin is attested by 1849. cotter (n.)
What are cotter rings used for?
A cotter pin is a simple fastener that's used to secure a bolt in place. Consisting of a U-shaped piece of metal, it's inserted through the hole of a bolt, after which the ends are twisted together. The cotter pin secures the bolt in place so that it's less likely to loosen and come out.