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co·​coon kə-ˈkün How to pronounce cocoon (audio)
: an envelope often largely of silk which an insect larva forms about itself and in which it passes the pupa stage
: any of various other protective coverings produced by animals
: 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 constructPeter Mayle
: a protective covering placed or sprayed over military or naval equipment in storage


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cocooned; cocooning; cocoons

transitive verb

: to wrap or envelop in or as if in a cocoon

Did you know?

Since at least the late 1600s, 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 derives, via French cocon, from Occitan coucoun, which, in turn, emerged from coco, an Occitan term for "shell." Linguists believe the Occitan term was probably born of the Latin word coccum, a noun that has been translated as kermes, which refers to the dried bodies of some insects that are sometimes found on certain trees. The verb cocoon has been with us since the latter half of the 19th century.

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Breaking out of your winter cocoon will do your mental health a serious solid. Korin Miller, Women's Health, 19 Mar. 2023 There is a coterie of lawyers and assorted helpers in the cocoon too, but ultimately it’s always been Kylian, Fayza and Wilfrid, navigating a world that nothing had prepared them for. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 6 Sep. 2022 The singer also donned a vintage wedding dress and veil to film a music video for the single, which featured a strapless silhouette, pleated bodice and, most notably, a cocoon-like attached veil. Kirsty Hatcher, Peoplemag, 2 Feb. 2023 The cocoon, meanwhile, is where most people find music now, through earbuds and headphones, locked into the cycle of wage labor or exercise. Sasha Frere-jones, Harper’s Magazine , 9 Nov. 2022 Its tour of duty only ends when the adult wasp eventually emerges from the cocoon and flies away. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 21 June 2011 There was the muscle memory of where the various venues are and how to get there, hopping on and off shuttle buses, navigating hazards of snow and ice, waiting in lines and settling into a theater seat in a cocoon of layers and coats. Los Angeles Times, 27 Jan. 2023 Expect to see edges and crisp corners become softened via arches and curved doorways, further contributing to the curation of cocoon-like interiors. Hunter Boyce, ajc, 11 Jan. 2023 The image of a cocoon came to mind, an outer shell falling away. Ashley Brooks, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Feb. 2022
This juxtaposition works well to allow The Curve to cocoon us in the world of these exceptional women of Iranian history — writers, poets, singers, actors — all activists in their own way. Nargess Banks, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 For a serene and minimalist office, Gemma Parker Design opted to cocoon the walls in Shoji screen details. Marisa Martin, Good Housekeeping, 31 May 2022 Epara, founded by Ozohu Adoh, means to cocoon oneself in the Nigerian dialect Ebira. Vogue, 10 Mar. 2022 Another White House inflation excuse: Demand for goods has surged during the pandemic as people cocoon and reduce spending on services. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 10 Dec. 2021 While case rates remain high, reinforcing protections against infection and transmission could cocoon the still-vulnerable, and tamp down outbreaks. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 8 Dec. 2021 But the really different part is the door, which slides gently backwards to cocoon you away from the cabin. John Walton, CNN, 4 Oct. 2021 After a day on the water, retreat to your room’s balcony and cocoon yourself in the hammock. Brittany Anas, Forbes, 28 Aug. 2021 SoCal gardeners readily added the plants to their yards to help the butterflies and get a front-row seat to the wonder of metamorphosis, from tiny egg to caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cocoon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1699, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1881, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cocoon was in 1699


Dictionary Entries Near cocoon

Cite this Entry

“Cocoon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an envelope usually of silk which the larva of some insects (as moths) forms about itself and in which it passes the pupa stage compare chrysalis
: a covering suggesting a cocoon

More from Merriam-Webster on cocoon

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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