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gossamer

GOS-uh-mer

Context
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As I was hiking through the forest, I kept on seeing thin, gossamer threads of spiderwebs above me—and to the right and left. These gossamer threads seemed so insubstantial, so not solid, that it was hard for me to believe they could support the weight of even something so light as a spider. Even the air wafting through these gossamer, flimsy strands seemed of the same slight consistency as these spiderwebs. Imagine my delight when some light hit the dew hanging on the gossamer threads, creating a beautiful iridescent spectacle; I watched them, spellbound—until I saw thousands of spiders emerge!

Quiz: What does gossamer describe?

  • Something that is thin, almost transparent, and airy.
  • Something that shocks the public.
  • Something that is made of expensive thread.

Memory Hook
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Became a Ghost When I became a ghost, I gained a gossamer body through which all could see.

Examples
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  • The gossamer-thin strands of ultra-pure glass delivering voice, video and data at the speed of light have replaced copper as the backbone of America’s telephone and cable television networks and enabled the phenomenal growth of the Internet. —USA Today
  • Large and bold, and crafted in a flowing style reminiscent of the Belle Epoque, the brooch is mounted in titanium, and is so light you could wear it on the thinnest gossamer silk. —The Economist
  • The fabric of civilized society is gossamer thin, and its warp and woof are comprised of threads such as these woven into our hearts in times of grief. —Newsweek
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said its Stardust spacecraft could pass within 186 miles of the comet Wild 2 on Friday while flying through the gossamer cloud that envelops the dirty ball of ice and rock. —USA Today

Word Ingredients
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Perhaps from root words meaning “goose” and “summer.” During the season of “summer,” fine, filmy cobweb-like strands, or gossamer, are often found in the grass in the early morning dew which resemble fine “goose” down.

Word Constellation
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Gossamer