gossamer • \GAH-suh-mer\ • adjective
: extremely light, delicate, or tenuous
Except for a few gossamer clouds, the sky was clear and blue.
“On two screens, she watched herself spin in a green field, gossamer wings floating off her body.” — Melena Ryzik, New York Times, March 3, 2015
Did you know?
In the days of Middle English, a period of mild weather in late autumn or early winter was sometimes called a gossomer, literally “goose summer.” People may have chosen that name for a late-season warm spell because October and November were the months when people felt that geese were at their best for eating. Gossomer was also used in Middle English as a word for filmy cobwebs floating through the air in calm, clear weather, apparently because somebody thought the webs looked like the down of a goose. This sense eventually inspired the adjective gossamer, which means “light, delicate, or tenuous”—just like cobwebs or goose down.