1. A fine, filmy substance, like cobwebs, floating in the air, in calm, clear weather, especially in autumn. It is seen in stubble fields and on furze or low bushes, and is formed by small spiders.

2. Any very thin gauzelike fabric; also, a thin waterproof stuff.

3. An outer garment, made of waterproof gossamer.

<zoology> Gossamer spider, any small or young spider which spins webs by which to sail in the air. See Ballooning spider.

Origin: OE. Gossomer, gossummer, gosesomer, perh. For goose summer, from its downy appearance, or perh. For God's summer, cf. G. Mariengarr gossamer, properly Mary's yarn, in allusion to the Virgin Mary. Perhaps the E. Word alluded to a legend that the gossamer was the remnant of the Virgin Mary's winding sheet, which dropped from her when she was taken up to heaven. For the use of summer in the sense of film or threads, cf. G. Madchensommer, Altweibersommer, fliegender Sommer, all meaning, gossamer.

(01 Mar 1998)

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