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[kob-web] /ˈkɒbˌwɛb/
a web spun by a spider to entrap its prey.
a single thread spun by a spider.
something resembling a cobweb; anything finespun, flimsy, or insubstantial.
a network of plot or intrigue; an insidious snare.
cobwebs, confusion, indistinctness, or lack of order:
I'm so tired my head is full of cobwebs.
verb (used with object), cobwebbed, cobwebbing.
to cover with or as with cobwebs:
Spiders cobwebbed the cellar.
to confuse or muddle:
Drunkenness cobwebbed his mind.
Origin of cobweb
1275-1325; Middle English coppeweb, derivative of Old English -coppe spider (in ātorcoppe poison spider); cognate with Middle Dutch koppe; see web Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cobwebs
  • Do strive in the future to clear the cobwebs before responding.
  • He shook the weekend's cobwebs from his head and mumbled hello.
  • Or rather down there, buried deep in the ground beneath old tombs, covered in cobwebs and arcane inscriptions.
  • It was little but bedsteads and cobwebs up there, and she didn't want to believe in ghosts or anything similar.
  • He broke the strongest fetters as if they were made of cobwebs.
  • Give him a week to shake off the cobwebs before investing.
  • Midnight blue and yellow colors can lend it a spooky look, as well as cutouts of sheeted ghosts or cobwebs.
  • In the morning, clear out any lingering cobwebs with a dip.
  • Most units should be vacuumed once a year to remove cobwebs and dust that may impair a detector's sensitivity.
  • Dust cobwebs from walls and ceilings especially at corners.
British Dictionary definitions for cobwebs


plural noun
mustiness, confusion, or obscurity
(informal) stickiness of the eyelids experienced upon first awakening


a web spun by certain spiders, esp those of the family Theridiidae, often found in the corners of disused rooms
a single thread of such a web
something like a cobweb, as in its flimsiness or ability to trap
Derived Forms
cobwebbed, adjective
cobwebby, adjective
Word Origin
C14 cob, from coppe, from Old English (ātor)coppe spider; related to Middle Dutch koppe spider, Swedish (dialect) etterkoppa
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
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Word Origin and History for cobwebs



early 14c., coppewebbe; the first element is Old English -coppe, in atorcoppe "spider," literally "poison-head" (see attercop). Spelling with -b- is from 16c., perhaps from cob. Cob as a stand-alone for "a spider" was an old word nearly dead even in dialects when J.R.R. Tolkien used it in "The Hobbit" (1937).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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