cocoon

noun
co·​coon | \ kə-ˈkün How to pronounce cocoon (audio) \

Definition of cocoon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an envelope often largely of silk which an insect larva forms about itself and in which it passes the pupa stage
b : any of various other protective coverings produced by animals
2a : something suggesting a cocoon especially in providing protection or in producing isolation wrapped in a cocoon of blankets an interest in the world beyond the everyday cocoon most of us construct— Peter Mayle
b : a protective covering placed or sprayed over military or naval equipment in storage

cocoon

verb
cocooned; cocooning; cocoons

Definition of cocoon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to wrap or envelop in or as if in a cocoon

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Verb

Since at least 1679, English speakers have been using the noun "cocoon" for the silky covering that surrounds a caterpillar or other insect larva in the pupa stage of metamorphosis. The word came into English from French, which in turn borrowed it from an Occitan term for "eggshell." Linguists believe the Occitan term was probably born of the Latin coccum, a noun that has been translated as "kermes," the dried bodies of some insects that can be found on certain trees. The verb "cocoon" has been with us since at least 1881.

Examples of cocoon in a Sentence

Noun The child was wrapped in a cocoon of blankets. The movie star was surrounded by a protective cocoon of bodyguards. Verb Americans are spending more time cocooning at home in recent years. cocooned in puffy down parkas, we braved the bitter cold as best we could
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After a year of being stuck in a COVID-19 cocoon, cruise lovers want to get out of the house and back on the water. Dan Fellner, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2021 Their ponchos cover hefty rucksacks, and Gaylord’s shaping of these ponchos is masterful, their folds undulating, occasionally crinkled, enveloping each man in a cocoon against the Korean weather. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 28 May 2021 But come late August, all that will be over as JWST, in a protective cocoon, will be taken from Northrop Grumman’s facility in Redondo Beach, California, and put onto a ship. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, 11 May 2021 When the Brexit vote came in 2016, Glastonbury provided a welcome cocoon of togetherness, if only for a weekend. Emma Elwick-bates, Vogue, 27 May 2021 Also like Adichie, Lahiri’s protagonist will be forced to leave the cocoon of her familiar existence, eventually heading off on a yearlong fellowship abroad. Anderson Tepper, Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2021 Instead of fighting those elements, Kenza created a dining room that feels like a moody cocoon. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, 28 Apr. 2021 Distancing, hygiene, masking, and vaccinating the adults who interact with the baby will still confer indirect protection, like a cocoon, Edlow, of Massachusetts General Hospital, said. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 31 Mar. 2021 Parents chased toddlers; a teen-ager silently shed tears while talking on the phone; a young mother formed a cocoon around her child. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, 6 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb SoCal gardeners readily added the plants to their yards to help the butterflies and get a front-row seat to the wonder of metamorphosis, from tiny egg to caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2021 Biden made Putin seem powerful, facing down an external enemy, instead of trying to cocoon himself from the pandemic. BostonGlobe.com, 28 Mar. 2021 The idea of using lipid nanoparticles to cocoon a genetic payload for release into human cells has been pursued by researchers at the University of British Columbia since the mid-1990s. Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2021 Modification of the mRNA building blocks and development of the particles that can cocoon it relatively safely have helped the mRNA vaccine candidates. Sanjay Mishra, The Conversation, 18 Nov. 2020 Being French, there's a version for more intimate dining, of course: a dome that cocoons its occupants in romantic isolation from the rest of the room. Thomas Adamson And Oleg Cetinic, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 May 2020 The balloons peeled back, but the slime maintained its shape as if it were still cocooned by the balloon. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 13 May 2020 No one should feel sympathy for Air Jordan, perpetually cocooned in the Ritz Carlton. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, 11 May 2020 Under one scenario, people who have already become increasingly accustomed to cocooning at home with various streaming services might slide farther along those lines, faster, going forward. Brian Lowry, CNN, 18 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cocoon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cocoon

Noun

1699, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cocoon

Noun

French cocon, from Occitan coucoun, from coco shell, probably ultimately from Latin coccum kermes (thought to be a gall or berry), from Greek kokkos berry, kermes

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cocoon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cocoon. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for cocoon

cocoon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cocoon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a covering usually made of silk which some insects (such as caterpillars) make around themselves to protect them while they grow
: something that covers or protects a person or thing

cocoon

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cocoon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover or protect (someone or something) completely
chiefly US : to spend time at home instead of going out for other activities

cocoon

noun
co·​coon | \ kə-ˈkün How to pronounce cocoon (audio) \

Kids Definition of cocoon

: the silky covering which a moth caterpillar makes around itself and in which it is protected while changing into a moth

More from Merriam-Webster on cocoon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cocoon

Nglish: Translation of cocoon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cocoon

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