Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

gossamer

play
noun gos·sa·mer \ˈgä-sə-mər also ˈgäz-mər, ˈgä-zə-\

Simple Definition of gossamer

  • : a piece of a spider's web

  • : a very light or delicate material

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of gossamer

  1. 1 :  a film of cobwebs floating in air in calm clear weather

  2. 2 :  something light, delicate, or insubstantial <the gossamer of youth's dreams — Andrea Parke>

gossamery

play \-mə-rē\ adjective

Examples of gossamer in a sentence

  1. a butterfly's wings of gossamer



Origin and Etymology of gossamer

Middle English gossomer, from gos goose + somer summer


First Known Use: 14th century


2

gossamer

adjective gos·sa·mer

Definition of gossamer

  1. :  extremely light, delicate, or tenuous



Examples of gossamer in a sentence

  1. <fairies are usually depicted as wearing gossamer or tattered clothing>

  2. <the gossamer veil seemed to float about the bride as she walked down the aisle>



Did You Know?

In the days of Middle English, a period of mild weather in late autumn or early winter was sometimes called a "gossomer," literally "goose summer." People may have chosen that name for a late-season warm spell because October and November were the months when people felt that geese were at their best for eating. "Gossomer" was also used in Middle English as a word for filmy cobwebs floating through the air in calm clear weather, apparently because somebody thought the webs looked like the down of a goose. This sense eventually inspired the adjective "gossamer," which means "light, delicate, or tenuous" - just like cobwebs or goose down.

Circa 1807

First Known Use of gossamer

circa 1807


GOSSAMER Defined for Kids

gossamer

play
noun gos·sa·mer \ˈgä-sə-mər, -zə-\

Definition of gossamer for Students

  1. :  a film of cobwebs floating in the air





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up gossamer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

mysterious, holy, or spiritual

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

megillah rebellion interruption torrent
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ