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Cobwebs sprinkled with dew

Early this morning it was foggy and dank - but the one good thing about it is that it showed up all the cobwebs sprinkled with dew.  This is how my mind works - ooh lovely cobwebs - cobwebs - wonder why they are called cobwebs?  So I look it up:  it is from middle English coppeweb, from coppe (spider) from attercoppe (ator - poison) and (copp - head).  There, you see, you learn something new everyday.  Then I looked up Middle English - this was spoken between the 11th and late 15th century throughout the Plantagenet era.  So if you were transported back in time to that period - you wouldn't have a clue what they were talking about.

“These autumn days will shorten and grow cold. The leaves will shake loose from the trees and fall. Christmas will come, and the snows of winter. You will live to enjoy the beauty of the frozen world... Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond. The song sparrow will return and sing, the frogs will awake, the warm wind will blow again. All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy, Wilbur—this lovely world, these precious days"  from Charlotte's Webb by E.B. White

A great post about autumn cobwebs here

Have you ever seen a cobweb as large and complicated as this.

When I think of cobwebs I think of gossamer threads - the word gossamer is also from Middle English - gos (goose) somer (summer).

Spider webs have existed for at least 141 million years, as witnessed in a rare find of Early Cretaceous amber from Sussex, southern England. Insects can get trapped in spider webs, providing nutrition to the spider; however, not all spiders build webs to catch prey, and some do not build webs at all. "Spider web" is typically used to refer to a web that is apparently still in use (i.e. clean), whereas "cobweb" refers to abandoned (i.e. dusty), webs. (Wikipedia).


  1. What a beautiful post...and I'm a little wiser!
    I loved that book when I was a child....still do actually! You'll be seeing a lot of me here now!!! lol xxx

  2. Amazing photos. I love to see the spiders' webs at this time of year, but like them less when I end up walking into one as I trudge down my very narrow garden! Wonderful book too, remember seeing the film of it when I was about 10 too.

  3. Thank you for enlightening me with the etymology of your chosen words. I regularly look up quite common words in this manner, I find it is always a fascinating historical trail of discovery. I wonder why other people don't do this because it's such fun - it also opens up many avenues of historical interest, which helps us understand the rich roots of our wonderful language and culture.

  4. Thank you for the history of cobwebs. We have lots of them in the garden. When my husband walks along the gardenpath to his car early in the morning he always walks into them. And Charlotte's web was my daughter's favourite book. When she was 7 I read it to her as bedtime story, I love the story too.

  5. Hmmm; I had never really thought about the difference between spider-web and cob-web. I thought they were the same. So what is the origin of "cob" then?

    1. The middle English name for spider was coppe - I presume cob is a derivation of this.

  6. I find cobwebs fascinating so enjoyed this post and the wonderful pictures. Mind you walking into them can be rather disconcerting. Flighty xx

  7. Ah, very interesting about the origins of cobweb. I knew 'copp' or 'coppe' was related to spiders (attercoppe is a name in one of the Hobbit songs) but didn't think about cobwebs. There's a spider in my garden who strings up a new web each night across between the hedge and my lime tree (about 8ft). But I've never seen it with dew since he takes the web down each morning.

  8. Such a spider positive post (they do get bad press usually!). I also noticed the lovely cobwebs this morning and wondered where the name came from so thanks for update x

  9. what a cobweb wow lovely pictures Elaine

  10. Lovely post Elaine! My daughter Caroline was terrified of spiders so I gave her Charlotte's web to read and she was cured of her phobia!

  11. Fantastic photos of the spider webs. I need to look for spider webs here, I guess. And I enjoyed the little history lesson.

  12. What an interesting post Elaine, and love the pictures.

  13. Spiders' webs used to be used as plasters to cover cuts as they can soak up blood and have something in them that improves blood clotting! It's to be hoped they only used spiders' webs and not cobwebs then!! Interesting post.

  14. Beautiful webs - and thanks for reminding me what a lovely book Charlotte's Web is. I live in Sussex, home of the oldest web. I think it was actually found behind my sofa, where I never manage to dust...

  15. I do love to see cobwebs as long as they are outside! Especially if there is a spider in the middle of them! I am a total arachnophobe and this time of year is fraught for me, Tony has to remove them if they put in an appearance in the house!!!

  16. I like the inquisitive way your mind works, Elaine! I haven't given these common words a second thought before now and found this post very interesting. The evolution of words is actually quite fascinating. I had never considered the difference between a cobweb and a spider web until reading your post.

  17. I never knew that cobwebs were abandoned spider's webs. So I haven't got any cobwebs at the moment, just loads of spiders, oh and their webs.


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