AskDefine | Define wimple

The Collaborative Dictionary

Wimple \Wim"ple\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Wimpled; p. pr. & vb. n. Wimpling.] [1913 Webster]
To clothe with a wimple; to cover, as with a veil; hence, to hoodwink. "She sat ywympled well." --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] This wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy. --Shak. [1913 Webster]
To draw down, as a veil; to lay in folds or plaits, as a veil. [1913 Webster]
To cause to appear as if laid in folds or plaits; to cause to ripple or undulate; as, the wind wimples the surface of water. [1913 Webster]
Wimple \Wim"ple\, n. [OE. wimpel, AS. winpel; akin to D. & G. wimpel a pennant, streamer, OHG. wimpal a veil, Icel. vimpill, Dan. & Sw. vimpel a pennant, streamer; of uncertain origin. Cf. Gimp.] [1913 Webster]
A covering of silk, linen, or other material, for the neck and chin, formerly worn by women as an outdoor protection, and still retained in the dress of nuns. [1913 Webster] Full seemly her wympel ipinched is. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] For she had laid her mournful stole aside, And widowlike sad wimple thrown away. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] Then Vivian rose, And from her brown-locked head the wimple throws. --M. Arnold. [1913 Webster]
A flag or streamer. --Weale. [1913 Webster]
Wimple \Wim"ple\, v. i. To lie in folds; also, to appear as if laid in folds or plaits; to ripple; to undulate. "Wimpling waves." --Longfellow. [1913 Webster] For with a veil, that wimpled everywhere, Her head and face was hid. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] With me through . . . meadows stray, Where wimpling waters make their way. --Ramsay. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

wimple n : headdress of cloth; worn over the head and around the neck and ears by medieval women



  1. A cloth which usually covers the head and is worn around the neck and chin. It was worn by women in medieval Europe and is still worn by nuns in certain orders.
The wimple is a garment of mediaeval Europe worn by women. It is a cloth which usually covers the head and is worn around the neck and chin. At many stages of medieval culture it was unseemly for a married woman to show her hair. A wimple might be elaborately starched, and creased and folded in prescribed ways, even supported on wire or wicker framing (cornette). Italian women abandoned their headcloths in the 15th century, or replaced them with transparent gauze, and showed their elaborate braids. Both elaborate laundry and elaborate braiding demonstrated status, in that such grooming was being performed by others. Geoffrey Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales has the Wife of Bath and also the Prioress depicted wearing them. Today the wimple is worn by some nuns who still don the traditional habit. The women who wore wimples were actually observing the following passage in 1 Corinthians 11:5 in the New Testament: "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."
In Middle English, the word was wymple, and anyone wearing one would be Ywympled, rather than wimpled.
For pictures of the wimple, see:

See also


wimple in Polish: Podwika
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