Handknit cowls

At The Lamb Saturday we debated the difference between the terms cowl, snood and whimple. Could they be used interchangeably or are they in fact different items?

Giant, oversized neckwarmer/capes/hoods are everywhere in the fashion press. And Etsy is lousy with them. There was a time only Batman wore a cowl, but now it seems to be the preferred cold-weather streetwear.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a cowl is: The hood or hooded robe worn especially by a monk; A draped neckline on a woman's garment; A hood-shaped covering used to increase the draft of a chimney; The top portion of the front part of an automobile body, supporting the windshield and dashboard; The cowling on an aircraft.

A snood, on the other hand, is: A small netlike cap worn by women to keep the hair in place; A headband or fillet; A fleshy wrinkled fold of skin that hangs down over a turkey's beak.

Whereas a whimple is: A cloth wound around the head, framing the face, and drawn into folds beneath the chin, worn by women in medieval times and as part of the habit of certain orders of nuns; A fold or pleat in cloth; A ripple, as on the surface of water; A curve or bend.

Whimple can also be used as a verb, as in to dress in a whimple.

I don't relish this happening any time soon, that is the appearance of a "fleshy wrinkled fold of skin that hangs down over the beak", and though "whimple" is certainly descriptive, "cowl" seems to say it best.

People, we are knitting cowls.


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