Part of speech: noun
Origin: Middle English, 13th century
A fine, filmy substance consisting of cobwebs spun by small spiders, seen especially in autumn.
Used to refer to something very light, thin, and insubstantial or delicate.
Examples of Gossamer in a sentence
"The light caught the gossamer of a large, intricate spiderweb."
"The wings on Mandy’s fairy costume were iridescent gossamer."
Popularity Over Time
This may have come from the Middle English term “goose summer,” perhaps from the time of year around “St. Martin's summer,” or late October and early November, when geese were eaten.
Did you Know?
Lycaenidae is the second-largest family of butterflies, and its members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies. These constitute roughly 30% of all known butterfly species. Adults are small but bright in color, sometimes with a metallic, glossy sheen. There are seven subfamilies, including the coppers (Lycaeninae), the blues (Polyommatinae), the harvesters (Theclinae), and the hairstreaks (Miletinae).