• synonyms


See more synonyms for cowl on Thesaurus.com
  1. a hooded garment worn by monks.
  2. the hood of this garment.
  3. part of a garment that is draped to resemble a cowl or hood.
  4. the forward part of the body of a motor vehicle supporting the rear of the hood and the windshield and housing the pedals and instrument panel.
  5. a cowling.
  6. a hoodlike covering for increasing the draft of a chimney or ventilator.
  7. a wire netting fastened to the top of the smokestack of a locomotive to prevent large sparks from being discharged; a spark arrester.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to cover with or as if with a cowl.
  2. to put a monk's cowl on.
  3. to make a monk of.
Show More

Origin of cowl

before 1000; Middle English cou(e)le, Old English cugele, cūle < Late Latin cuculla monk's hood, variant of Latin cucullus hood


  1. Jane,1884–1950, U.S. actress and playwright.
Show More
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cowl

kerchief, mantle, veil, shawl, bonnet, protector, hat, wimple, purdah, cowl, yashmak, babushka, mantilla, coif, capuchin, capuche

Examples from the Web for cowl

Historical Examples of cowl

  • Whereupon I turned to the spying friar and said; 'Hand me your robe and cowl.'

    Chit-Chat; Nirvana; The Searchlight

    Mathew Joseph Holt

  • I had divested myself of my monk's habit, and cut away the cowl from Madonna's.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Frey Bartolomeo shot a fierce glance at him from under his cowl.

    In the Days of Drake

    J. S. Fletcher

  • Meanwhile, remember our proverb that says, 'It's not the cowl makes the monk.'

  • If you are still troubled, some other cowl must be causing it now.

British Dictionary definitions for cowl


  1. a hood, esp a loose one
  2. the hooded habit of a monk
  3. a cover fitted to a chimney to increase ventilation and prevent draughts
  4. the part of a car body that supports the windscreen and the bonnet
  5. aeronautics another word for cowling
Show More
verb (tr)
  1. to cover or provide with a cowl
  2. to make a monk of
Show More

Word Origin for cowl

Old English cugele, from Late Latin cuculla cowl, from Latin cucullus covering, cap, hood
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

Word Origin and History for cowl


Old English cule, from earlier cugele, from Late Latin cuculla "monk's cowl," variant of Latin cucullus "hood, cowl," of uncertain origin. Cowling is 1917 in the aircraft sense.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper