Definition of cocoon in English:



  • 1A silky case spun by the larvae of many insects for protection as pupae.

    ‘the moth emerged from its pale yellow papery cocoon’
    • ‘Male and female cocoons were separated in the field by size and in the lab by weight.’
    • ‘I saw a spider's web and an insect larva beginning to spin a cocoon.’
    • ‘At that time, each larva wraps itself in a cocoon, plugs its chamber with silk, and becomes quiescent.’
    • ‘My first glimpse of a snow buttercup flowering beneath a thin pane of ice was not unlike my first experience of watching a monarch butterfly emerge from its cocoon.’
    • ‘They are like a pupa waiting in its cocoon for rebirth, ultimately becoming a butterfly.’
    • ‘While rodents often succeed in opening cocoons and extracting the nutritious pupae, birds rarely invest the time and effort needed to pierce the silken armor.’
    • ‘I would eventually watch some of them don a mantle of leaves and begin the process of weaving their own silk cocoons.’
    • ‘The chrysalis is what the silkworm becomes when it finishes spinning its cocoon.’
    • ‘Then they spin into a cocoon and either emerge as a second generation the same year or hibernate and emerge the next summer.’
    • ‘In Nest 1, the oldest cells held mature larvae ready to spin cocoons and medium-sized larvae.’
    • ‘We watched a group of airborne insects break out of cocoons two stories above the street, crawl down the side of the building, then back up again as butterflies.’
    • ‘This is once again an animal fibre, but is produced by the larvae of the silk worm moth, as it spins its cocoon.’
    • ‘Moths such as the luna and polyphemus spend the winter months as pupae in leaf-wrapped cocoons.’
    • ‘She had been given the strange looking stones by the villagers, who believed them to be insect cocoons and items imbued with sacred significance.’
    • ‘Males in the cavity-nesting house wren frequently add arthropod cocoons to their nests during building, possibly as an ornamental cue for female choice.’
    • ‘Many people think that monarchs spin their cocoon but they in fact just shed their skin to form the chrysalis.’
    • ‘Later in the season, the caterpillars re-emerge to spin cocoons and overwinter under the loose bark of the trees.’
    • ‘Once spun, the cocoon takes on a silvery appearance, indicating that it is full of air that seeped out from the slit-like incisions in the root made by the larval hooks.’
    • ‘Larvae remain in these cocoons through the winter and pupate in early spring.’
    • ‘The delicate moth that emerges from the cocoon is a pale yellowish-green.’
    1. 1.1Something that envelops someone in a protective or comforting way.
      ‘a cocoon of bedclothes’
      figurative ‘a warm cocoon of love’
      • ‘My mother was an introvert too, and when I grew up, we were alone - it was like we were in our own little cocoon.’
      • ‘The mist hung in a sort of cocoon about them, blotting out the rest of the forest.’
      • ‘Having moved out of the family and college cocoon, many are balancing careers, living expenses and the beginning of their adult lives.’
      • ‘I wanted my children to have security and a cocoon of love.’
      • ‘The whole idea is to expand one's thinking, not stay in the same mental cocoon.’
      • ‘There was a slight shifting, and then Carrie had the sheet pulled tightly around her in a warm little cocoon.’
      • ‘She woke to a blissfully comfortable state, smothered in a cocoon of feathery soft blankets.’
      • ‘As the tension mounts, Paul must come out of his own creative cocoon to get involved in the real world of decision-making and responsibility.’
      • ‘Reluctant to leave my now cosy-as-toast cocoon, I bellow for silence, my voice echoing in our still-undecorated rooms.’
      • ‘A cocoon of silence and stillness surrounded them as the sleigh cut thorough the snow.’
      • ‘His life seems well in order, as if nicely wrapped in a cocoon of privilege and pleasure.’
      • ‘At the same time, I can't just sit here in my own little cocoon every night, can I?’
      • ‘I wondered if I was alone in this emotional cocoon and eagerly sought the solace of expressive uniformity from other movie goers.’
      • ‘The thing I take away from his description of all these supposedly smart people is that they live in an academic or intellectual cocoon.’
      • ‘But almost no mainline Protestant congregations exist in a denominationally insulated cocoon anymore.’
      • ‘As for the keyboard, it has a brilliant innovation: An auto-sensing backlight that's perfect for that dank cocoon you call your office.’
      • ‘She was still curled up in a ball, wrapped into her own little cocoon.’
      • ‘His increasingly esoteric songs suggest that the musical cocoon he's been spinning around himself for a decade deflects his sight inward again and again.’
      • ‘Someday when today's leaders write their memoirs, we may finally learn about the psychological ramifications of living inside this security cocoon.’
      • ‘He snapped it shut, closing me in a cocoon of darkness.’
  • 2A covering that prevents the corrosion of metal equipment.


  • 1Envelop in a protective or comforting way.

    ‘we felt cold even though we were cocooned in our sleeping bags’
    figurative ‘we remain cocooned in our own little world of fantasies’
    • ‘This ‘air scarf’ means that as you drive along with the roof down your head is cocooned in a pillow of warm air.’
    • ‘They were cocooned in their own world, with not the slightest concern for anyone around.’
    • ‘While motorists are safely cocooned in a metal shell, bikers are exposed and vulnerable.’
    • ‘He explained: ‘As ministers, we are cocooned in the official system of advice.’’
    • ‘He was still cocooned in the huge, puffy white blanket.’
    • ‘The lavender cream is massaged into your skin before you're cocooned in thermal sheets.’
    • ‘Passengers were to be cocooned in compartments lined with deep cushions, but they preferred to see out, and the idea never caught on.’
    • ‘We keep a look out for friends' boats and chat to lock-keepers but for most of the time we're cocooned in our comfortable, private world.’
    • ‘Maybe, just maybe the musician knew his son - cocooned in amniotic fluid - was listening as he blew saxophone notes across to his girlfriend's belly.’
    • ‘The Bible sits, nestled in pink tissue paper and cocooned in a wooden box.’
    • ‘Rather than being cocooned in five-star sterility, it's fun and comfortable to stay at one of these innumerable small homely hotels.’
    • ‘The individual on whom I wish to focus began life blind to its problems and cocooned in luxury.’
    • ‘Instantly my mind saw myself on the back porch of my childhood home cocooned in quilts, reading.’
    • ‘With two hours to kill, I stopped in one of those terminal bars where you can fill your stomach and, cocooned in anonymity, read a newspaper.’
    • ‘Trucks and cars swoosh past us occasionally, otherwise we are cocooned in the subliminal hum of the forest.’
    • ‘She allowed herself to be cocooned in the warm swaddling cloth of his borrowed shirt, feeling, for once, safe and warm and almost invincible.’
    • ‘‘It is difficult starting up any new business, particularly if you have been cocooned in a comfortable corporate lifestyle,’ he said.’
    • ‘By writing books like this we ensure that we remain cocooned in our own little world of fantasies’
    • ‘As we did so, everyone at the table mirrored our movement so that we were cocooned in secrecy.’
    • ‘You lie there, cocooned in the covers, making mental lists of all you should do that day, must do.’
    protect, keep safe, keep from harm, safeguard, shield, defend, shelter, screen, look after, take care of, care for, cushion, insulate, isolate, cloister
    wrap, swathe, bundle up, swaddle, sheathe, muffle, pad, cloak, enfold, envelop, surround, encase, enclose, cover, fold, wind
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American [no object]Retreat from the stressful conditions of public life into the cosy private world of the family.
      ‘Americans are spending more time cocooning at home’
      • ‘It is a way of hiding, it's a way of pulling things around you and cocooning and getting away from it all for a while.’
      • ‘The parties went on and when not socializing he cocooned more and more with his family.’
      • ‘Increasingly, we deal with the hyperculture cacophony by cocooning - commuting home with headphones on while working on our laptops.’
      • ‘Net shopping caters to the modern urge to cocoon.’
      • ‘Often, the morning after they hooked up with their friend, the couple would cocoon.’
      • ‘The proposal invites locals to change their habit of cocooning inside unhealthy, mechanically ventilated environments.’
      • ‘Trendwatchers say people are cocooning and spending more time at home, perhaps because of current events.’
      • ‘Many will simply cocoon after having eaten and spent too much over the holidays.’
      • ‘If you cocooned with your girlfriend when you first moved in together and now want to do less of that, she may be wondering ‘What changed?’’
      • ‘First known for her early 1990's prediction that we would soon be cocooning, she has since become a guru on being a consumer.’
      • ‘I'm going to go out and buy delicious things to cook for dinner, maybe a DVD, and cocoon.’
      • ‘If you want to cocoon for a while to recharge your batteries, this is the perfect place to do it.’
      • ‘Instead of leading the country to an exciting new reality, they cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality.’
      • ‘Soon enough, we will all be cocooning again around the fireplace, so now is the time to change the pace.’
  • 2Spray with a protective coating.


Late 17th century: from French cocon, from medieval Provençal coucoun eggshell, cocoon, diminutive of coca shell. The verb dates from the mid 19th century.