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co·​coon kə-ˈkün How to pronounce cocoon (audio)
: an envelope often largely of silk which an insect larva forms about itself and in which it passes the pupa stage
: any of various other protective coverings produced by animals
: 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 constructPeter Mayle
: a protective covering placed or sprayed over military or naval equipment in storage


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cocooned; cocooning; cocoons

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

Since at least the late 1600s, 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 derives, via French cocon, from Occitan coucoun, which, in turn, emerged from coco, an Occitan term for "shell." Linguists believe the Occitan term was probably born of the Latin word coccum, a noun that has been translated as kermes, which refers to the dried bodies of some insects that are sometimes found on certain trees. The verb cocoon has been with us since the latter half of the 19th century.

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Caterpillars that pupate into cocoons in the fall will overwinter until warmer spring temperatures arrive. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Nov. 2023 The insulated design features a warmth-retaining outer shell and a high-tech heating system that surrounds your entire foot — from your toes to your heel to your ankle — with a cocoon of coziness for hours. Theresa Holland, Travel + Leisure, 6 Nov. 2023 Astronomers looked for the reddest stars and found 1,001 pinpoint sources of light, most of them young stars still embedded in their dusty cocoons. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 23 Oct. 2023 For a supreme cocoon of warmth, reach for footmuffs that are insulated and lined with material like flannel, fleece, or shearling. Maya Polton, Parents, 20 Oct. 2023 Hundreds of posts about resignation parties have spread on Chinese social media this year, as the country slowly emerges from its Covid-19 cocoon of isolation and grapples with the economic and social fallout. Berry Wang, CNN, 5 Oct. 2023 And then, Sofia faces life: Priscilla slowly breaks out of her hazy love cocoon. Armond White, National Review, 3 Nov. 2023 And like those characters, she’s ripped out of her cocoon by a man with a vengeful agenda. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 2 Nov. 2023 From domestic life in the chalet, where career and personal resentments have been building as steadily as the snow drifts that cocoon the cozy house, the film travels to the courtroom, where Sandra is defended by the dishy Vincent Renzi (Swann Arlaud). Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2023
While visitors can comfortably cocoon in their rooms, the property is clearly structured around group events, with an outdoor performance stage and plenty of legroom for dancing, both indoors and out. Carleigh Baker, Travel + Leisure, 7 Nov. 2023 In person the next afternoon, cocooned in a massive charcoal coat over another sable knit set, the actress looks like what she’s found on the other side of the storm. Helena Andrews-Dyer, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2023 Lai doesn’t want her patients to be cocooned in their own world. Rong Xiaoqing, Curbed, 21 Aug. 2023 Efforts to protect children — or citizens, for that matter — from the terror of freedom, to cocoon their reading within safe boundaries of vocabulary and representation, will always fail. A.o. Scott, New York Times, 21 June 2023 Also, this pad has shorter side walls than other pads on our list, so your baby is not as cocooned inside. Jamie Spain and Jessica Hartshorn, Good Housekeeping, 15 Aug. 2023 There’s nothing quite like the plush comfort of cocooning yourself in a big, fluffy towel after a shower. Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 25 July 2023 Nami is positioned as more in touch with harsh reality than his wealthy brother and sister-in-law cocooned in their armored bubble. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 5 July 2023 What Readers Loved Part of the appeal of a high-rise hotel is the feeling of being cocooned far above the commotion and chaos of the city below, and Tokyo’s properties deliver that sense of tranquility and contentment in spades. Peter Terzian, Travel + Leisure, 11 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cocoon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1699, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1881, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cocoon was in 1699


Dictionary Entries Near cocoon

Cite this Entry

“Cocoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an envelope usually of silk which the larva of some insects (as moths) forms about itself and in which it passes the pupa stage compare chrysalis
: a covering suggesting a cocoon

More from Merriam-Webster on cocoon

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