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Monday 12 November 2012

Spot the frippet: gossamer.

Here's something delicate and lovely to lift our spirits on a Monday morning.


If you live in England then the damp misty mornings mean the whole world is decorated with wheels and hammocks of cobwebs, each one starred with a thousand tiny diamonds of dew.

Gossamer means very fine silk, and that includes the fine silk of which a spider's web is made.

Anything particularly fine or wispy can be called gossamer, from clouds to candyfloss to the curling steam from a coffee cup to an insect's wing:

That's a gossamer-winged butterfly, of which there are many species, all members of the family Lycaenidae. This one is the Common Grass Blue.

There are wisps of gossamer everywhere.

On the ground:

Photo by Jon Sullivan.

and even in space. The planet Jupiter has some wispy rings which are called the gossamer rings:

That's a picture taken by the spacecraft Galileo.

So many wonders.

Hope you find one to light up your Monday.

Spot the frippet: gossamer. This word is probably from gos, goose, and somer summer, though the summer in question is actually in winter. That's because the summer it's a St Martin's summer, a time in November when goose was traditionally eaten. The name is probably connected with the fact that in England cobwebs are most easily seen in the misty November mornings.

1 comment:

  1. How very lovely and illuminating! I adore this word and the substance but didn't know sbout the Gossamer Rings....wonderful stuff.


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