Definition of gossamer in English:



  • 1A fine, filmy substance consisting of cobwebs spun by small spiders, seen especially in autumn.

    • ‘But the cold made the sky shimmer like gossamer, and outside it felt crisp and fresh in a way that can only be described as bracing.’
    • ‘One problem is that Friel is beginning to repeat himself: Themes and motifs from earlier plays float about like gossamer in Indian summer.’
    • ‘The lines in the dirt clung to his heels, not with the delicate gossamer of a spider's threads, but with the thick grume of sucking mud.’
    • ‘‘No future’ screams at me, row upon row of the phrase repeats itself, shifting slightly like gossamer on the breeze.’
    • ‘It was thin and wispy, like freshly spun gossamer in the early morning light.’
    • ‘In the UK, gossamer is the creation of a million baby spiders that spin threads vertically from the top of bushes which will carry them off into the wind, enabling them to travel for miles.’
    • ‘So I made a classic cross-hair from spider's gossamer and used it to pinpoint a cell in the area I wanted to watch.’
    • ‘The darkness shrank back before the light of the flames, dissipating like shredded gossamer in the wind.’
    cobweb, spider's web
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    1. 1.1 Used to refer to something very light, thin, and insubstantial or delicate.
      ‘in the light from the table lamp, his hair was blond gossamer’
      as modifier ‘gossamer wings’
      • ‘It looked to have been crafted from gossamer, or light itself.’
      • ‘He detested the Victorian ideal of love, with the doves and rosy-cheeked cherubs and gossamer and lace.’
      • ‘My ivory limbs glisten under the weight of the lightest gossamer.’
      • ‘But he fell into a sleep light as gossamer, and a dream that seemed equally light.’
      • ‘That day she was dressed in a long, flowing skirt of black along with a blue top that had a pouting cherub on it and sleeves of gossamer.’
      • ‘Her hair had drifted through his fingers like gossamer.’
      • ‘The fine line between loyalty and betrayal is like gossamer.’
      • ‘The dark blond which usually shone like gossamer, hang lankly against her head and down her back.’
      • ‘Glittery, white snowflakes hung from the ceiling, while along the edges of the bleachers was white gossamer that was also draped over the bleachers.’
      • ‘It resembles something sewn together out of scraps of gossamer: it's delicate and ethereal.’
      • ‘The film will remain to me nothing more than a vehicle for her to look gorgeous swanning around in the flower fields, or looking suitably rubenesque floating in gossamer.’
      • ‘A smile touched his blue lips as he patiently waited for the fragile wings of gossamer that would carry him to the heavens.’
      ultra-fine, fine, diaphanous, gauzy, gauzelike, gossamer-thin, gossamer-like, gossamery, delicate, filmy, floaty, chiffony, cobwebby, feathery, silky, silken, wispy, thin, light, lightweight, insubstantial, papery, flimsy, frail
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Middle English: apparently from goose + summer, perhaps from the time of year around St Martin's summer, i.e. early November, when geese were eaten (gossamer being common then).