- 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.
- to produce a cocoon.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a silky protective envelope secreted by silkworms and certain other insect larvae, in which the pupae develop
- 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
- (tr) to wrap in a cocoon
Word Origin for cocoon
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
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
- A case or covering of silky strands spun by an insect larva and inhabited for protection during its pupal stage.
- A similar protective structure, such as the egg cases made by spiders or earthworms.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.