gos·​sa·​mer | \ ˈgä-sə-mər How to pronounce gossamer (audio) also ˈgäz-mər, ˈgä-zə- \

Definition of gossamer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a film of cobwebs floating in air in calm clear weather
2 : something light, delicate, or insubstantial the gossamer of youth's dreams— Andrea Parke



Definition of gossamer (Entry 2 of 2)

: extremely light, delicate, or tenuous a gossamer white veil

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Other Words from gossamer


gossamery \ ˈgä-​sə-​mə-​rē How to pronounce gossamer (audio) also  ˈgäz-​mə-​ , ˈgä-​zə-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for gossamer

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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In the days of Middle English, a period of mild weather in late autumn or early winter was sometimes called a "gossomer," literally "goose summer." People may have chosen that name for a late-season warm spell because October and November were the months when people felt that geese were at their best for eating. "Gossomer" was also used in Middle English as a word for filmy cobwebs floating through the air in calm clear weather, apparently because somebody thought the webs looked like the down of a goose. This sense eventually inspired the adjective "gossamer," which means "light, delicate, or tenuous" - just like cobwebs or goose down.

Examples of gossamer in a Sentence

Noun a butterfly's wings of gossamer Adjective fairies are usually depicted as wearing gossamer or tattered clothing the gossamer veil seemed to float about the bride as she walked down the aisle
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At the premiere of Marvel’s latest Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Jhené Aiko arrived in Iris van Herpen’s gossamer-light haute couture. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 23 Aug. 2021 Under her lightweight dress, the modern miss wore a bra and briefs and perhaps a gossamer slip. Nancy Macdonell, WSJ, 18 Aug. 2021 Stoumen’s rendition, from fruit grown in California’s Mendocino County, is pure gossamer. Washington Post, 30 July 2021 Not that politics was suddenly all gossamer and angels’ harps. Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2021 Also present were Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Brooke Shields, Nacho Figueras and Delfina Blaquier, and Ezra J. William, who wore a gossamer tulle jacket by Prabal Gurung (also present) made especially for the occasion. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 6 June 2021 Sometimes, mature douglas firs send sugar to saplings via miles of underground, gossamer-thin mycorrhizal fungi. Zak Jason, Wired, 1 Apr. 2021 Louisville's gossamer-thin chances to sneak into the NCAA Tournament as the first alternate ended when the clock chimed six. Shannon Russell, The Courier-Journal, 17 Mar. 2021 Many of Disney World’s parks and hotels grow special flower gardens designed to attract more than 70 butterfly species — swallowtails, skippers, brush-footed and gossamer-winged. Kathleen Christiansen, orlandosentinel.com, 12 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective No matter how far-fetched the premise or gossamer-thin the story, the musical invites (compels) us to go along with its essential surrealism, to travel to that dream space where everyday life suddenly moves and sounds deliriously out of this world. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 7 May 2020 For her label Anissa Aida, designer Anissa Meddeb, who lives in the capital, makes gossamer silk blouses evoking the striped motif of handwoven fouta towels and voluminous coats inspired by the burnoose cloaks worn by Berbers. Sarah Khan, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 Feb. 2020 The result is a sequence of events that’s both intriguing and gossamer-thin. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 23 Jan. 2020 The hangers are also coated with velvet flocking, better for grabbing gossamer blouses that can slide off smoother hangers. Jennifer Hunter, New York Times, 22 Jan. 2020 Both would be coated with a gossamer-thin layer of gold for reflectivity and bathed in faint laser beams to detect their oscillations—and thus their temperature. Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, 11 Dec. 2019 But his most impressive skill is the ancient art of gilding, using gossamer sheets of gold leaf just .12 microns thick to add a brilliant metallic effect to lettering. Jeff Csatari, Popular Mechanics, 9 Dec. 2019 Cool in Top-Siders and floral maxidresses and gossamer pareos. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 14 Oct. 2019 Or the glamorous Starry Starry Night, gossamer black sesame sponge cake, silky sweet chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of marzipan stars. Beth Segal, cleveland, 3 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gossamer.' 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 gossamer


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1807, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gossamer

Noun and Adjective

Middle English gossomer, from gos goose + somer summer

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Time Traveler for gossamer

Time Traveler

The first known use of gossamer was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near gossamer



gossamer fern

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Statistics for gossamer

Last Updated

12 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gossamer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gossamer. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for gossamer



English Language Learners Definition of gossamer

: a piece of a spider's web
: a very light or delicate material


gos·​sa·​mer | \ ˈgä-sə-mər How to pronounce gossamer (audio) , -zə- \

Kids Definition of gossamer

: a film of cobwebs floating in the air

More from Merriam-Webster on gossamer

Nglish: Translation of gossamer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gossamer for Arabic Speakers


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