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cocoon

[kuh-koon]
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noun
  1. the silky envelope spun by the larvae of many insects, as silkworms, serving as a covering while they are in the pupal stage.
  2. any of various similar protective coverings in nature, as the silky case in which certain spiders enclose their eggs.
  3. 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.
  4. any encompassingly protective or hermetic wrapping or enclosure resembling a cocoon: a cocoon of gauze.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to produce a cocoon.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to wrap or enclose tightly, as if in a cocoon: The doctor cocooned the patient in blankets.
  2. to provide (machinery, guns, etc.) with a protective, airtight covering by spraying with polyvinyl chloride or the like.
  3. to envelop or surround protectively; insulate: a political leader cocooned by his staff and his bodyguards.
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Origin of cocoon

1690–1700; < French cocon < Provençal coucoun egg-shell, equivalent to coco shell (< Latin coccum; see cochineal) + French -on diminutive suffix
Related formsco·coon·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

swaddle, swathe, envelop, insulate, pad, cushion, wrap, truss, encase

British Dictionary definitions for cocoon

cocoon

noun
    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
  1. a protective spray covering used as a seal on machinery
  2. a cosy warm covering
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verb
  1. (tr) to wrap in a cocoon
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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

Word Origin and History for cocoon

n.

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.

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v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cocoon in Science

cocoon

[kə-kōōn]
  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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.