"sikly envelop which the larvae of many insects spin as a covering while they are in the crysalis state," 1690s, from French coucon (16c., Modern French cocon), from coque "clam shell, egg shell, nut shell," from Old French coque "shell," from Latin coccum "berry," from Greek kokkos "berry, seed" (see cocco-). The sense of "one's interior comfort place" is from 1986. Also see -oon.
1850, of insects, "to form a cocoon," from cocoon (n.). Figurative use, in reference to persons bundled up or wrapped up in anything, 1873. Modern sense "to stay inside and be inactive" is from 1986. Related: Cocooned; cocooning.
A lady with an enchanting name, Faith Popcorn, has identified a menacing new American behavior that she gives the sweet name of 'cocooning.' It threatens the nation's pursuit of happiness, sometimes called the economy. [George Will, April 1987]
updated on December 08, 2020