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[kob-web] /ˈkɒbˌwɛb/
a web spun by a spider to entrap its prey.
a single thread spun by a spider.
something resembling a cobweb; anything finespun, flimsy, or insubstantial.
a network of plot or intrigue; an insidious snare.
cobwebs, confusion, indistinctness, or lack of order:
I'm so tired my head is full of cobwebs.
verb (used with object), cobwebbed, cobwebbing.
to cover with or as with cobwebs:
Spiders cobwebbed the cellar.
to confuse or muddle:
Drunkenness cobwebbed his mind.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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.

    If You Touch Them They Vanish Gouverneur Morris
  • 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.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • 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
  • And, kneeling down, she began to disentangle a fly, imprisoned in a cobweb.

  • What a strange use of the cobweb is that of the little flying spiders!

    The Log of the Sun William Beebe
  • The handkerchief was worked at some convent in Italy and was fine as a cobweb.

    A Little Girl in Old New York Amanda Millie Douglas
  • The transparent bombyx is as delicate as a cobweb, and if you tear it No, you must not refuse.

    Cleopatra, Complete Georg Ebers
British Dictionary definitions for cobweb


a web spun by certain spiders, esp those of the family Theridiidae, often found in the corners of disused rooms
a single thread of such a web
something like a cobweb, as in its flimsiness or ability to trap
Derived Forms
cobwebbed, adjective
cobwebby, 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
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Word Origin and History for cobweb

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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