1. A fine film of cobwebs that is often seen floating in the air or is caught on bushes or grass.
2. Something that is light, delicate, or sheer, such as fabric.
Sheer, light, or delicate: "An iron bedstead swathed in gossamer muslin stands out from all walls, adrift as a cloud" (Margo Miller). See Synonyms at airy.
[Middle English gossomer : gos, goose; see GOOSE + somer, summer (probably from the abundance of gossamer during early autumn when geese migrate and are often hunted ); see SUMMER1.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.