what's in a cobweb?

My fool boyfriend and i have a little problem over what really constitutes a cobweb
Please give us your objective and true feeling as to what constitutes the phenomenon commonly referred to as the “cobweb.”

Are cobwebs:

A. remnants of old spiderwebs, fallen into disuse, which have clumped up
and collected dust, debris, detritus, and other minute, unidentified airborne particulate matter, or

B. any accumulation of dust, debris, etc., resembling a spider web but not
necessarily involving spider-generated material – a definition which
admits the possibility of a “cobweb” which contains no arachnid-produced
substance whatsover.

We are a couple of would-be know-it-alls and normally keep our irrelevant fact obsessions to ourselves, but we’re really stuck on this one.

Staring at the ceiling perhaps just a bit too much,
B & M

The dictionary ( http://www.m-w.com/ ) says:

Main Entry: cob·web
Pronunciation: 'käb-"web
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English coppeweb, from coppe spider (from Old English Atorcoppe) + web; akin to Middle Dutch coppe spider
Date: 14th century
1 a : the network spread by a spider : SPIDERWEB b : tangles of the silken threads of a cobweb usually covered with accumulated dirt and dust
2 : something that entangles, obscures, or confuses <a cobweb of law and politics>

  • cob·webbed /-"webd/ adjective
  • cob·web·by /-"we-bE/ adjective

So you must have had spiders, or all you’ve got are dust bunnies. I’d prefer the spiders. :wink:

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

you don’t think there’s any chance it could be sticky dust and oily, thin human hair floating, and clumping and stickin to the wall in a strand-like configuration?

I’m not sure if a cobweb strictly needs a spider web for its structure. I thing they can also be dust particles in a static electricity polarity conga line.

Anybody gonna’ back me up on this?

No, Inky. Cobwebs are spider webs that have collected dust. The dance is always done by the spider. Webs = spiders. Now someone’s going to make a wise-crack about the Web. Oh, well. :slight_smile:

Work like you don’t need the money…
Love like you’ve never been hurt…
Dance like nobody’s watching! …(Paraphrased)

I thought the question would be “What’s spider silk made from?” Anyone have the straight dope on this stuff?

Well i saw this Anime where this woman is having sex with a guy and she turns into a spider and tries to kill him and the web is spun from… shall we say, his contribution…

Just add water, it makes it’s own sauce!

Sorry, Inky, at best those are a wall-climbing variety of those damn rabbits I mentioned above.

Where’s Elmer Fudd when you need him? :frowning:

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

It’s made of crystalline proteins, i.e. chains of amino acids. I read that once in science news, but I’m sorry that I can’t give a better definition. Spider silk can have different protein configuations in different species.

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.