cocoon

noun
co·​coon | \kə-ˈkün \

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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Did You Know?

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

Endless ink has been spilled moralizing the withdrawal into these digital cocoons. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Driving Without a Smartphone," 10 July 2018 The newborn larvae will immediately inject a toxin into the spider that hijacks its nervous system, forcing it to construct a uniquely wasp-worthy web on which the larva will suspend a cocoon. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in Ant-Man and the Wasp," 22 Mar. 2018 Thanks to the work of preservationists—and sometimes despite their best efforts—those of us in the 21st century can see the fragile pages at the center of this celebration, shrouded in a cocoon of invisible argon gas. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Science of Saving the Declaration of Independence," 3 July 2018 The cocoon arrives in the jail cell as a stowaway, an unexpected lump in a bowl of prison gruel. Laura Collins-hughes, New York Times, "Review: Without Singing, the Moth Hits the High Notes in ‘The Echo Drift’," 14 Jan. 2018 Gaining insight into how youngsters feel as their cocoons are invaded by anxiety and fear – and what can be done to help them – is tremendously valuable. Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY, "'Little Panic': How the Etan Patz kidnapping terrorized author Amanda Stern," 10 July 2018 Powerful men in the media have seemingly existed inside a protective cocoon. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein cases send a Time's Up message," 25 May 2018 Saturn has a magnetosphere that cocoons Enceladus, unlike our own moon. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Saturn and Its Moon Enceladus Talk To Each Other. The Sound Is Perfectly Cosmic and Eerie.," 10 July 2018 The scientists estimate that each bee home – with 25 bee cocoons – can lead to the birth of more than 100 bees per year. Céline Garcin, The Christian Science Monitor, "One answer to the bee crisis: Turn everyone into backyard breeders," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The place should find avid fans among solitary bibliophiles, cocooning couples, design-magazine devotees and former publishing barons nostalgic for the heyday of print. Seth Sherwood, New York Times, "In Bangkok, an Intimate Hotel With an Inky Past," 14 Apr. 2018 Small shelters, cocooned in between peaks and glaciers, have served as base camps, safe havens and warm-up spots for adventurous climbers and skiers for decades. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "A new hut with dramatic views rose up this summer in Alaska’s Hatcher Pass backcountry," 8 July 2018 One of them is a park and classroom cluster as part of a new campus for the Singapore Institute of Technology that will cocoon campus buildings in an urban forest. Ken Wells, WSJ, "More Buildings Are Going Green. Literally.," 26 June 2018 The time for evaluations is just about done and over the coming days teams will begin to further cocoon themselves in an effort to safeguard their strategies. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Besides pick, Bucks face other decisions on draft night," 18 June 2018 The quintet sprinkles hooks through the concise arrangements, then cocoons them in reverberation – tantalizing, blurred, just out of reach. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Soft Science builds dreams amid chaos on 'Maps'," 8 June 2018 Courtney Barnett sings a lot of songs about cocooning with friends and just wanting to disappear. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Courtney Barnett delivers modest songs, bold solos at Cultural Center," 22 May 2018 Its millions of players sit cocooned in their bedrooms, bathed in the glow of verdant pixels, creating new Earths. Nathaniel Rich, The Atlantic, "The Novel That Asks, ‘What Went Wrong With Mankind?’," 11 May 2018 The wigs, along with the intricate cornrows and braids, formed part of a protective styling rotation which cocooned my gorgeously boisterous 4c texture hair. Serena Sonoma, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Black Trans Women Are Redefining Beauty Standards," 1 May 2018

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

1679, 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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Statistics for cocoon

Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cocoon

The first known use of cocoon was in 1679

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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

: to spend time at home instead of going out for other activities

cocoon

noun
co·​coon | \kə-ˈkün \

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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