a fine, filmy cobweb seen on grass or bushes or floating in the air in calm weather, especially in autumn.
a thread or a web of this substance.
an extremely delicate variety of gauze, used especially for veils.
any thin, light fabric.
something extremely light, flimsy, or delicate.
a thin, waterproof outer garment, especially for women.
Also, gossamery [gos-uh-muh-ree] , gossamered. of or like gossamer; thin and light.

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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To gossamer
World English Dictionary
gossamer (ˈɡɒsəmə)
1.  a gauze or silk fabric of the very finest texture
2.  a filmy cobweb often seen on foliage or floating in the air
3.  anything resembling gossamer in fineness or filminess
4.  (modifier) made of or resembling gossamer: gossamer wings
[C14 (in the sense: a filmy cobweb): probably from gosgoose1 + somersummer1; 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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

early 14c., "spider threads spun in fields of stubble in late fall," apparently from gos "goose" + sumer "summer" (cf. Swed. 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 Ger. equivalent mädchensommer
(lit. "girls' summer") also has a sense of "Indian summer," and the Eng. word may originally have referred to a warm spell in autumn before being transferred to a phenomenon especially noticable then. Meaning "anything light or flimsy" is from c.1400. The adj. sense "filmy" is attested from 1802.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Her shapely arms were bare, and in her hands she held a gossamer scarf.
Silkworms get the pigments they use to color their gossamer product from
  mulberry leaves, the only food they eat.
To decorate your patio or porch this month, try plants instead of plastic
  pumpkins or gossamer ghosts.
This year, fewer guests will dine under crystal chandeliers or balls made of
  roses hanging from a gossamer-covered ceiling.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature