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


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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Did You Know?


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 Despite its heavy, cocoon-like feel, the fabric is breathable enough for warm sleepers. Madeline Diamond, Travel + Leisure, "This Best-selling Weighted Blanket Now Comes in a Size Just for Kids," 21 May 2020 Its lobby opens to the elements through giant glass walls, and its auditorium is clad in smooth, fluidly curved Manchurian ash, wrapping concertgoers in a sensuous cocoon and providing warm acoustics. Sam Lubell, Los Angeles Times, "11 buildings by Ma Yansong, the architect behind George Lucas’ L.A. museum," 2 Apr. 2020 His houses are both cocoons and binoculars, swaddling you in warm wood while projecting your vision outward. Michael Snyder, New York Times, "In Nova Scotia, Homes as Wild as the Landscape Around Them," 3 Feb. 2020 The two-story orb nestles in a cocoon of pipes and cables, the red coils of its main magnet arching up out of the chaos like flying buttresses. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "After decades of decline, the U.S. national fusion lab seeks a rebirth," 6 Feb. 2020 My first memory is an awareness of comfort and love, a feeling of being held in the cocoon of my mother’s embrace. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Natalie Wood's daughter remembers her mother in new memoir —see the cover and read an excerpt," 31 Jan. 2020 Cars get safer every year—better structures, cocoons of airbags, ever more capable electronic driver aids. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "The Debate: Should Your Teen Drive a New Car or an Old Beater?," 23 Apr. 2020 Fossilized cocoons of leeches have also been found on Seymour Island, said Mörs, as well as a handful of mammals. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Frogs hopped around the Antarctic 40 million years ago," 23 Apr. 2020 Mites are controlled in the fall by washing the cocoons in a bleach solution. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: Careful watering essential to health of replanted Doug firs," 19 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Bubbles and teddy bears: dining out in a pandemic," 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, "Astronauts experimented with Nickelodeon's slime in space," 13 May 2020 No one should feel sympathy for Air Jordan, perpetually cocooned in the Ritz Carlton. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: I guess we pick and choose what we get self-righteous about," 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, "The movie-TV line blurs further as coronavirus impacts how we watch entertainment," 18 Mar. 2020 Living in a recreational vehicle might seem like the ideal way to ride out a pandemic—cocooned in your own aluminum box and free to wander. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Virus Maroons Some Recreational-Vehicle Nomads," 19 Apr. 2020 No limes for seven years, for the athlete-lepers cocooned on Coronaville. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: Non-stop flights now leaving for Coronaville. Are you onboard?," 7 Apr. 2020 The rich, after all, can stay cocooned in the safety of their homes, protected from financial precarity and economic disruption. Popular Science, "COVID-19 has turned tests and personal protective equipment into luxuries," 23 Mar. 2020 Despite having spent her entire life cocooned in the unreality of royal life, this Princess Royal sees through the nonsense that surrounds her—and has no time for it. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Princess Anne Is Getting a Popularity Boost, Thanks to The Crown—But She's Always Been Great," 30 Nov. 2019

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


1699, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cocoon


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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Time Traveler for cocoon

Time Traveler

The first known use of cocoon was in 1699

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Last Updated

6 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cocoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for cocoon


How to pronounce cocoon (audio)

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



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


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cocoon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cocoon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cocoon

Spanish Central: Translation of cocoon

Nglish: Translation of cocoon for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cocoon

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