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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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 With its custom four-poster daybed and ceiling sheathed in woven grasscloth, the inviting guest bedroom has a cocoon-like feel. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "Thom Filicia's Latest New York Project is the Perfect Union of Classic and Modern Design," 13 Sep. 2019 But what about freelancers, sole proprietors and workers in the mushrooming gig economy, or people who want to leave the corporate cocoon and strike out on their own? Jeff Brown, WSJ, "The Often-Ignored Benefits of ‘Solo’ 401(k)s," 8 July 2019 In a cocoon, and embracing it Ms. Mugler Curet comes to Destination Tomorrow on Mondays and Thursdays for high-school equivalency classes. New York Times, "For Young People of Color, a Safe L.G.B.T.Q. Space in the Bronx," 29 June 2019 In addition to individual counseling areas and a small meeting room, the Wellness Center features a lounge with comfortable seating and a giant hanging cocoon pod that offers occupants privacy and gentle movement. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Spartan Wellness Center, a vision years in the making, to debut at La Cañada High School," 15 Aug. 2019 Astronauts who travel to Mars or other destinations in deep space will leave Earth’s protective cocoon for months or years at a time. NBC News, "A trip to Mars could cause brain damage. Here's how NASA aims to protect astronauts.," 28 Aug. 2019 In this reworking of fairy-tale myths, any woman who falls asleep gets covered in a sticky white cocoon. Ron Charles Critic, Washington Post, "I can’t sleep. And all the books about not sleeping aren’t helping.," 21 Aug. 2019 For the most part today’s historians remain isolated in their professional cocoons, spending more time fiddling with their footnotes than bringing the past to light for a broader audience. The Economist, "The study of history is in decline in Britain," 18 July 2019 The internet — from mainstream social media platforms to forums such as 8chan — has become the new cocoon to share and reinforce extreme hate. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Understanding the psychology of hate," 22 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On the boat journey across the grey Laccadive Sea to India, Alexandra cocooned herself in her tiny cabin. Ailsa Ross, Longreads, "Mountains, Transcending," 9 Aug. 2019 After cocooning under a waterfall, Mothra eventually emerges in her winged form. Tracy Brown, latimes.com, "‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ director explains that Mothra Easter egg," 3 June 2019 Some readers have detected an allegory for the Chinese state—a people imprisoned by their mindset, cocooned in a bubble that must eventually be pierced. The Economist, "China’s grand, gloomy sci-fi is going global," 22 June 2019 In these vexing times comfy, cocooning furniture is having a moment. Stephen Wallis, Town & Country, "This Polar Bear Sofa Is Beloved By the Very Rich," 15 Apr. 2019 Indeed, public opinion is now so hopelessly cocooned that the president is under investigation for colluding with our primary geopolitical foe and more than half the country doesn’t give a damn. Sean Illing, Vox, "Intellectuals have said democracy is failing for a century. They were wrong.," 20 Dec. 2018 So imagine my surprise at stepping into a diminutive entry cocooned in homey Georgian wood paneling, a humorously tiny portrait of George Washington presiding. Amy Merrick, WSJ, "The Cultish Home That Draws Fans of Americana Design," 3 Aug. 2018 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

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 2019

Time Traveler for cocoon

The first known use of cocoon was in 1679

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More Definitions for cocoon

cocoon

noun
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

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

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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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cocoon

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