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[shawl] /ʃɔl/
a square, triangular, or oblong piece of wool or other material worn, especially by women, about the shoulders, or the head and shoulders, in place of a coat or hat outdoors, and indoors as protection against chill or dampness.
Origin of shawl
1655-65; < Persian shāl
Related forms
shawlless, adjective
shawllike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for shawl
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She laid aside her bonnet and shawl, and pointed to a box of cigars on the table.

    The Fallen Leaves Wilkie Collins
  • "Robin, you might get me my shawl;" and Robin would go and get the shawl and put it round her.

  • When she arched her back and stuck her stomach out she felt like a tall lady in a crinoline and shawl.

  • Mrs. Rosenfeld was standing in the lower hall, a shawl about her shoulders.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Of these last one stood apart, a shawl over her gray hair and her hands folded as though obedient to a will greater than her own.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
British Dictionary definitions for shawl


a piece of fabric or knitted or crocheted material worn around the shoulders by women or wrapped around a baby
Word Origin
C17: from Persian shāl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shawl

1660s, originally of a type of scarf worn in Asia, from Urdu and other Indian languages, from Persian shal, sometimes said to be named for Shaliat, town in India where it was first manufactured [Klein]. Cf. French châle, Spanish chal, Italian scialle, German Shawl (from English), Russian shal, all ultimately from the same source. As the name of an article of clothing worn by Western women, it is recorded from 1767.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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