Definition of cocoon in US English:



  • 1A silky case spun by the larvae of many insects for protection in the pupal stage.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are like a pupa waiting in its cocoon for rebirth, ultimately becoming a butterfly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many people think that monarchs spin their cocoon but they in fact just shed their skin to form the chrysalis.’
    • ‘This is once again an animal fibre, but is produced by the larvae of the silk worm moth, as it spins its cocoon.’
    • ‘The chrysalis is what the silkworm becomes when it finishes spinning its cocoon.’
    • ‘At that time, each larva wraps itself in a cocoon, plugs its chamber with silk, and becomes quiescent.’
    • ‘Male and female cocoons were separated in the field by size and in the lab by weight.’
    • ‘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 saw a spider's web and an insect larva beginning to spin a cocoon.’
    • ‘Moths such as the luna and polyphemus spend the winter months as pupae in leaf-wrapped cocoons.’
    • ‘I would eventually watch some of them don a mantle of leaves and begin the process of weaving their own silk cocoons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had been given the strange looking stones by the villagers, who believed them to be insect cocoons and items imbued with sacred significance.’
    • ‘Then they spin into a cocoon and either emerge as a second generation the same year or hibernate and emerge the next summer.’
    • ‘Later in the season, the caterpillars re-emerge to spin cocoons and overwinter under the loose bark of the trees.’
    • ‘The delicate moth that emerges from the cocoon is a pale yellowish-green.’
    • ‘Males in the cavity-nesting house wren frequently add arthropod cocoons to their nests during building, possibly as an ornamental cue for female choice.’
    • ‘Larvae remain in these cocoons through the winter and pupate in early spring.’
    • ‘In Nest 1, the oldest cells held mature larvae ready to spin cocoons and medium-sized larvae.’
    1. 1.1 A covering that prevents the corrosion of metal equipment.
    2. 1.2 Something that envelops or surrounds, especially in a protective or comforting way.
      ‘the cocoon of her kimono’
      figurative ‘a warm cocoon of love’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was a slight shifting, and then Carrie had the sheet pulled tightly around her in a warm little cocoon.’
      • ‘The whole idea is to expand one's thinking, not stay in the same mental cocoon.’
      • ‘My mother was an introvert too, and when I grew up, we were alone - it was like we were in our own little cocoon.’
      • ‘A cocoon of silence and stillness surrounded them as the sleigh cut thorough the snow.’
      • ‘He snapped it shut, closing me in a cocoon of darkness.’
      • ‘She woke to a blissfully comfortable state, smothered in a cocoon of feathery soft blankets.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But almost no mainline Protestant congregations exist in a denominationally insulated cocoon anymore.’
      • ‘His life seems well in order, as if nicely wrapped in a cocoon of privilege and pleasure.’
      • ‘Someday when today's leaders write their memoirs, we may finally learn about the psychological ramifications of living inside this security cocoon.’
      • ‘The mist hung in a sort of cocoon about them, blotting out the rest of the forest.’
      • ‘The thing I take away from his description of all these supposedly smart people is that they live in an academic or intellectual cocoon.’
      • ‘Reluctant to leave my now cosy-as-toast cocoon, I bellow for silence, my voice echoing in our still-undecorated rooms.’
      • ‘I wanted my children to have security and a cocoon of love.’
      • ‘Having moved out of the family and college cocoon, many are balancing careers, living expenses and the beginning of their adult lives.’


[with object]
  • 1Envelop or surround in a protective or comforting way.

    ‘we began to feel cold even though we were cocooned in our sleeping bags’
    • ‘Passengers were to be cocooned in compartments lined with deep cushions, but they preferred to see out, and the idea never caught on.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rather than being cocooned in five-star sterility, it's fun and comfortable to stay at one of these innumerable small homely hotels.’
    • ‘This ‘air scarf’ means that as you drive along with the roof down your head is cocooned in a pillow of warm air.’
    • ‘By writing books like this we ensure that we remain cocooned in our own little world of fantasies’
    • ‘Instantly my mind saw myself on the back porch of my childhood home cocooned in quilts, reading.’
    • ‘He was still cocooned in the huge, puffy white blanket.’
    • ‘The Bible sits, nestled in pink tissue paper and cocooned in a wooden box.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were cocooned in their own world, with not the slightest concern for anyone around.’
    • ‘‘It is difficult starting up any new business, particularly if you have been cocooned in a comfortable corporate lifestyle,’ he said.’
    • ‘The lavender cream is massaged into your skin before you're cocooned in thermal sheets.’
    • ‘He explained: ‘As ministers, we are cocooned in the official system of advice.’’
    • ‘As we did so, everyone at the table mirrored our movement so that we were cocooned in secrecy.’
    • ‘The individual on whom I wish to focus began life blind to its problems and cocooned in luxury.’
    • ‘She allowed herself to be cocooned in the warm swaddling cloth of his borrowed shirt, feeling, for once, safe and warm and almost invincible.’
    • ‘While motorists are safely cocooned in a metal shell, bikers are exposed and vulnerable.’
    • ‘You lie there, cocooned in the covers, making mental lists of all you should do that day, must do.’
    • ‘Trucks and cars swoosh past us occasionally, otherwise we are cocooned in the subliminal hum of the forest.’
    wrap, swathe, bundle up, swaddle, sheathe, muffle, pad, cloak, enfold, envelop, surround, encase, enclose, cover, fold, wind
    protect, keep safe, keep from harm, safeguard, shield, defend, shelter, screen, look after, take care of, care for, cushion, insulate, isolate, cloister
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Spray with a protective coating.
    2. 1.2North American no object Retreat from the stressful conditions of public life into the cozy private world of the family.
      ‘the movers and shakers are now cocooning’
      • ‘The proposal invites locals to change their habit of cocooning inside unhealthy, mechanically ventilated environments.’
      • ‘Increasingly, we deal with the hyperculture cacophony by cocooning - commuting home with headphones on while working on our laptops.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Soon enough, we will all be cocooning again around the fireplace, so now is the time to change the pace.’
      • ‘If you want to cocoon for a while to recharge your batteries, this is the perfect place to do it.’
      • ‘Net shopping caters to the modern urge to cocoon.’
      • ‘Trendwatchers say people are cocooning and spending more time at home, perhaps because of current events.’
      • ‘I'm going to go out and buy delicious things to cook for dinner, maybe a DVD, and cocoon.’
      • ‘Often, the morning after they hooked up with their friend, the couple would cocoon.’
      • ‘Instead of leading the country to an exciting new reality, they cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many will simply cocoon after having eaten and spent too much over the holidays.’
      • ‘The parties went on and when not socializing he cocooned more and more with his family.’


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