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

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 Without the cocoon of NATO’s bureaucracy and procedures, everyday military tasks became harder. The Economist, "Europe alone: July 2024," 6 July 2019 Kiz: There is a part of me that believes life should not be lived from inside a cocoon of bubble wrap. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Newman vs. Kiz: Do major-league ballparks need to be wrapped in more protective netting?," 24 June 2019 Egalitarianism rules the floor plan, and surprise—what many retailers today hope will lure customers out of Amazon cocoons—is key. Alexandra Marshall, WSJ, "Dover Street Market Expands While Defying Retail Convention," 14 Aug. 2018 According to Chinese legend, an empress discovered silk when a cocoon tumbled into her cup of tea. Vanessa Hua, SFChronicle.com, "The wonder of silkworms, past and present," 5 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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Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

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
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cocoon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cocoon

Spanish Central: Translation of cocoon

Nglish: Translation of cocoon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cocoon

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