verb (used with object), cob·webbed, cob·web·bing.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cobweb

web, fiber, network, labyrinth, gossamer, mesh, toil, net, snare, tissue, webbing

Examples from the Web for cobweb

Contemporary Examples of cobweb

Historical Examples of cobweb

  • 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


  • 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?


    William Makepeace Thackeray

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 Formscobwebbed, adjectivecobwebby, adjective

Word Origin for cobweb

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

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