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[kuh-koon] /kəˈkun/
the silky envelope spun by the larvae of many insects, as silkworms, serving as a covering while they are in the pupal stage.
any of various similar protective coverings in nature, as the silky case in which certain spiders enclose their eggs.
a protective covering, usually consisting of polyvinyl chloride, sprayed over machinery, large guns on board ships, etc., to provide an airtight seal and prevent rust during long periods of storage.
any encompassingly protective or hermetic wrapping or enclosure resembling a cocoon:
a cocoon of gauze.
verb (used without object)
to produce a cocoon.
verb (used with object)
to wrap or enclose tightly, as if in a cocoon:
The doctor cocooned the patient in blankets.
to provide (machinery, guns, etc.) with a protective, airtight covering by spraying with polyvinyl chloride or the like.
to envelop or surround protectively; insulate:
a political leader cocooned by his staff and his bodyguards.
Origin of cocoon
1690-1700; < French cocon < Provençal coucoun egg-shell, equivalent to coco shell (< Latin coccum; see cochineal) + French -on diminutive suffix
Related forms
cocoonlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for cocoon


  1. a silky protective envelope secreted by silkworms and certain other insect larvae, in which the pupae develop
  2. a similar covering for the eggs of the spider, earthworm, etc
a protective spray covering used as a seal on machinery
a cosy warm covering
(transitive) to wrap in a cocoon
Word Origin
C17: from French cocon, from Provençal coucoun eggshell, from coco shell, from Latin coccum kermes berry, from Greek kokkos grain, seed, berry; compare coccus
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 cocoon

1690s, from Middle French coucon (16c., Modern French cocon), from coque "clam shell, egg shell, nut shell" (7c.), from Old French coque "shell," from Latin coccum "berry," from Greek kokkos "berry, seed" (see cocco-). The sense of "one's interior comfort place" is from 1986. Also see -oon.


1986, "to stay inside and be inactive," from coccoon (n.).

A lady with an enchanting name, Faith Popcorn, has identified a menacing new American behavior that she gives the sweet name of 'cocooning.' It threatens the nation's pursuit of happiness, sometimes called the economy. [George Will, April 1987]
Related: Cocooned; cocooning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cocoon in Science
  1. A case or covering of silky strands spun by an insect larva and inhabited for protection during its pupal stage.

  2. A similar protective structure, such as the egg cases made by spiders or earthworms.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for cocoon



One's cozy home: Each morning he leaves his domestic cocoon in Rancho Palos Verdes


To stay at home, and, often, to be inactive: The couch potatoes are going to be cocooning in their families' personal oases (1980s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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