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cobweb

[kob-web]
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noun
  1. a web spun by a spider to entrap its prey.
  2. a single thread spun by a spider.
  3. something resembling a cobweb; anything finespun, flimsy, or insubstantial.
  4. a network of plot or intrigue; an insidious snare.
  5. cobwebs, confusion, indistinctness, or lack of order: I'm so tired my head is full of cobwebs.
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verb (used with object), cob·webbed, cob·web·bing.
  1. to cover with or as with cobwebs: Spiders cobwebbed the cellar.
  2. to confuse or muddle: Drunkenness cobwebbed his mind.
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Origin of cobweb

1275–1325; Middle English coppeweb, derivative of Old English -coppe spider (in ātorcoppe poison spider); cognate with Middle Dutch koppe; see web
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cobweb

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He passed one hand in front of his face as if brushing a cobweb or—a hair.

  • And he went away, brushing the sleeve of his coat which had caught a cobweb.

    The Arena

    Various

  • And when I asked her if the cobweb were bothering her, she said both it and the bubble had vanished.

  • He affixed a reel, threaded a cobweb line, and selected a fly.

    The Gold Girl

    James B. Hendryx

  • What is the use of a shield on a wall, or a lance that has a cobweb for a pennon?

    Burlesques

    William Makepeace Thackeray


British Dictionary definitions for cobweb

cobweb

noun
  1. a web spun by certain spiders, esp those of the family Theridiidae, often found in the corners of disused rooms
  2. a single thread of such a web
  3. something like a cobweb, as in its flimsiness or ability to trap
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Derived Formscobwebbed, adjectivecobwebby, adjective

Word Origin

C14 cob, from coppe, from Old English (ātor) coppe spider; related to Middle Dutch koppe spider, Swedish (dialect) etterkoppa
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cobweb

n.

early 14c., coppewebbe; the first element is Old English -coppe, in atorcoppe "spider," literally "poison-head" (see attercop). Spelling with -b- is from 16c., perhaps from cob. Cob as a stand-alone for "a spider" was an old word nearly dead even in dialects when J.R.R. Tolkien used it in "The Hobbit" (1937).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper