gossamer

[gos-uh-mer]

noun

adjective

Also gos·sa·mer·y [gos-uh-muh-ree] /ˈgɒs ə mə ri/, gos·sa·mered. of or like gossamer; thin and light.

Nearby words

  1. gospodin,
  2. gosport,
  3. goss,
  4. gossaert,
  5. gossaert, jan,
  6. gossan,
  7. gosse,
  8. gosse, sir edmund william,
  9. gossip,
  10. gossipmonger

Origin of gossamer

1275–1325; Middle English gosesomer (see goose, summer1); possibly first used as name for late, mild autumn, a time when goose was a favorite dish (compare German Gänsemonat November), then transferred to the cobwebs frequent at that time of year

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gossamer


British Dictionary definitions for gossamer

gossamer

noun

a gauze or silk fabric of the very finest texture
a filmy cobweb often seen on foliage or floating in the air
anything resembling gossamer in fineness or filminess
(modifier) made of or resembling gossamergossamer wings
Derived Formsgossamery, adjective

Word Origin for gossamer

C14 (in the sense: a filmy cobweb): probably from gos goose 1 + somer summer 1; the phrase refers to St Martin's summer, a period in November when goose was traditionally eaten; from the prevalence of the cobweb in the autumn; compare German Gänsemonat, literally: goosemonth, used for November

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 gossamer

gossamer

n.

c.1300, "spider threads spun in fields of stubble in late fall," apparently from gos "goose" + sumer "summer" (cf. Swedish sommertrad "summer thread"). The reference might be to a fancied resemblance of the silk to goose down, or because geese are in season then. The German equivalent mädchensommer (literally "girls' summer") also has a sense of "Indian summer," and the English word originally may have referred to a warm spell in autumn before being transferred to a phenomenon especially noticable then. Cf. obsolete Scottish go-summer "period of summer-like weather in late autumn." Meaning "anything light or flimsy" is from c.1400. The adjective sense "filmy" is attested from 1802.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper