gossamer

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

gossamer

adjective

Definition of gossamer (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from gossamer

Noun

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for gossamer

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Did You Know?

Adjective

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 Perhaps the next time the candidates appear on a debate stage, the same level of scrutiny and skepticism can be applied to the public option mavens and their plans, which are, if anything, woven from their own strands of gossamer. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Public Option Bait and Switch," 17 Oct. 2019 Poised against a white column littered with orchids, Beyoncé seems otherworldly, a mirage of gossamer and gold, in a historic image shot by then-23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Smithsonian Nabs Beyoncé’s Portrait for Its Permanent Collection," 7 Aug. 2019 In bridal wear, quality is of the essence, be it in the form of a rich brocade, a decadent velvet, a fine silk or in this case, a gossamer, glitter-flecked tulle. Christian Oth, Harper's BAZAAR, "17 Non-Traditional Gowns For the Renegade Bride," 1 Nov. 2018 In bridal wear, quality is of the essence, be it in the form of a rich brocade, a decadent velvet, a fine silk or in this case, a gossamer, glitter-flecked tulle. Christian Oth, Harper's BAZAAR, "17 Non-Traditional Gowns For the Renegade Bride," 1 Nov. 2018 The huge string choirs varied their sound bracingly, from dense earthiness to gossamer. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "The Czech Philharmonic’s Global Ambitions," 31 Oct. 2018 In bridal wear, quality is of the essence, be it in the form of a rich brocade, a decadent velvet, a fine silk or in this case, a gossamer, glitter-flecked tulle. Christian Oth, Harper's BAZAAR, "17 Non-Traditional Gowns For the Renegade Bride," 1 Nov. 2018 The images feature Rodarte darlings Grimes, Chloe x Halle, Kim Gordon, Rowan Blanchard, (an expecting) Kirsten Dunst, and more in Kate and Laura Mulleavy's gossamer ready-to-wear confections. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Flower Shower: The Story Behind Rodarte’s Dreamy Floral Umbrellas," 1 Feb. 2018 The tracks have a gossamer-like quality that is atmospheric and subtly insistent. Jim Fusilli, WSJ, "‘Aromanticism’ by Moses Sumney Review:," 21 Sep. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The result is a sequence of events that’s both intriguing and gossamer-thin. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘The Gentlemen’: Blithe Thuggery With Flair to Spare," 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, "5 Cheap(ish) Things to Radically Make Over Your Closet," 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, "Space Heater: Scientists Find New Way to Transfer Energy Through a Vacuum," 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, "This Brooklyn Artist Is Bringing Back Ancient Sign-Painting Techniques," 9 Dec. 2019 Cool in Top-Siders and floral maxidresses and gossamer pareos. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Let’s Talk About the Yacht Clothes on “Succession”," 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, "Foodhisattva: The triumph of Asian fusion vegan comfort food for all," 3 Oct. 2019 The figure’s sculptural mass and deep, perspectival space are offset by delicate highlights in his pearl-encrusted collar and cuff and in the gossamer white threads of his sleeve. Mary Tompkins Lewis, WSJ, "‘Mantegna and Bellini’ Review: A Family Affair," 3 Nov. 2018 His seat also allows him to be warmed by the first rays of the morning sun that outline his delicate features and ignite his rapidly fluttering wings with a gossamer glow. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Highlight of morning is visit with special guest," 31 Aug. 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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

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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Cite this Entry

“Gossamer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gossamer. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for gossamer

gossamer

noun
How to pronounce gossamer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gossamer

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

gossamer

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

Kids Definition of gossamer

: a film of cobwebs floating in the air

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