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.

1655–65; < Persian shāl

shawlless, adjective
shawllike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shawl (ʃɔːl)
a piece of fabric or knitted or crocheted material worn around the shoulders by women or wrapped around a baby
[C17: from Persian shāl]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1662, originally of a type of scarf worn in Asia, from Urdu and other Indian languages, from Pers. shal, sometimes said to be named for Shaliat, town in India where it was first manufactured. Cf. Fr. châle, Sp. chal, It. scialle, Ger. Shawl (from Eng.), Rus. shal, all ult. 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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