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[kawl] /kɔl/
a part of the amnion sometimes covering the head of a child at birth.
a net lining in the back of a woman's cap or hat.
a cap or hat of net formerly worn by women.
Origin of caul1
1300-50; Middle English calle < Middle French cale, probably back formation from calotte “kind of cap”; see calotte
Can be confused
call, caul, cull.


[kawl] /kɔl/
a form or plate for pressing a veneer or veneers being glued to a backing or to each other.
< French cale shim < German Keil wedge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for caul


noun (anatomy)
a portion of the amniotic sac sometimes covering a child's head at birth
a large fold of peritoneum hanging from the stomach across the intestines; the large omentum
Word Origin
C13: from Old French cale, back formation from calotte close-fitting cap, of Germanic origin
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 caul

early 14c., "close-fitting cap worn by women," from French cale "cap," back-formation from calotte, from Italian callotta, from Latin calautica "type of female headdress with pendent lappets," a foreign word of unknown origin. Medical use, in reference to various membranes, dates to late 14c. Especially of the amnion enclosing the fetus before birth from 1540s. This, if the child is born draped in it, was supersititously supposed to protect against drowning (cauls were advertised for sale in British newspapers through World War I).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caul in Medicine

caul (kôl)

  1. A portion of the amnion, especially when it covers the head of a fetus at birth. Also called veil.

  2. See greater omentum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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