The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gossamer \Gos"sa*mer\, n. [OE. gossomer, gossummer, gosesomer,
perh. for goose summer, from its downy appearance, or perh.
for God's summer, cf. G. mariengarr gossamer, properly Mary's
yarn, in allusion to the Virgin Mary. Perhaps the E. word
alluded to a legend that the gossamer was the remnant of the
Virgin Mary's winding sheet, which dropped from her when she
was taken up to heaven. For the use of summer in the sense of
film or threads, cf. G. M[aum]dchensommer, Altweibersommer,
fliegender Sommer, all meaning, gossamer.]
1. A fine, filmy substance, like cobwebs, floating in the
air, in calm, clear weather, especially in autumn. It is
seen in stubble fields and on furze or low bushes, and is
formed by small spiders.
2. Any very thin gauzelike fabric; also, a thin waterproof
3. An outer garment, made of waterproof gossamer.
Gossamer spider (Zool.), any small or young spider which
spins webs by which to sail in the air. See Ballooning