Origin of cowl
Words nearby cowl
Other definitions for cowl (2 of 2)
BASIC DEFINITION OF COWL
What does cowl mean?
A cowl is a hood, especially a loose one. The hooded robe worn by some monks is called a cowl.
Cowl is also used to refer to several objects that function as hoods, such as parts of some vehicles and the coverings at the top of chimneys. It can also be used as a verb meaning to cover something. More specifically, it can mean to make someone a monk.
Example: The monk donned his cowl and left his bunk for morning prayer.
Where does cowl come from?
The first records of cowl come from before 1000. It comes from the Middle English coule, which derives from the Late Latin cuculla, meaning “monk’s hood.” This is a variant of the Latin cucullus, simply meaning “hood.”
Monks have known for wearing hooded robes for a long time, and the association between monks and their cowls continues today. The hood on a monk’s robe is often loose, causing it to drape around the face. When we call a hood a cowl, we’re often referring to one in this style. In fashion design, a cowl refers to a part of a shirt or dress that’s draped near the neck in a way that resembles a monk’s cowl.
In a chimney, the cowl is the hoodlike covering at the very top, above the opening, that helps with ventilation. Cowl is also used as the name of a similar object attached to the top of a locomotive’s smokestack to prevent sparks from flying everywhere (it’s also called a spark arrester).
In a car, you know what the hood is. Well, the part that supports the hood (and the windshield) is called the cowl. In aircraft, the cowl (or cowling) is a housing or removable covering for the engine.
Batman is known for wearing a “cape and cowl”—the cowl refers to his bat mask.
Did you know ... ?
How is cowl used in real life?
A lot of people might recognize a monk’s robe, but they might not know it’s called a cowl. In most other contexts, cowl is a fairly technical word mostly used by people with specialized knowledge.
His temp has fallen, so the nurse has wrapped blankets around his head and shoulders making him now resemble a medieval monk sleeping in his cowl. #istandwithharry
— John Smith (son of Harry Leslie Smith) (@Harryslaststand) November 26, 2018
Sizzle reel cut together for the event. Lots in it, ending in a shocking shot of Rey in a black cowl with a RED lightsaber that flips together to make a Maul-like double saber!#D23Expo
— Empire Magazine (@empiremagazine) August 24, 2019
Let’s not pretend that Ben Affleck, Christian Bale or Michael Keaton didn’t do some silly, not-so-good movies before putting on the cape and cowl if we’re going to try and use Twilight as basis for Pattinson not being a good choice for Batman.
— Paul Shirey (@arcticninjapaul) May 17, 2019
Try using cowl!
Is cowl used correctly in the following sentence?
He cowled at me angrily.
How to use cowl in a sentence
The man without fear of signing any role might struggle with the cowl-induced gravitas of Batman.Ben Affleck Isn’t the Worst Thing to Happen to Batman|Sujay Kumar|August 31, 2013|DAILY BEAST
There was some sort of a phonograph device under the cowl of that get-away car, and this was hooked up to the radio switch.
His cowl was thrown back, revealing his pale, ascetic countenance and shaven head.St. Martin's Summer|Rafael Sabatini
A sharp eye was kept on all arrivals from abroad, and a friar, fresh from Portugal, was hanged in his cowl at Limerick.Ireland Under the Tudors, Vol. II (of 3)|Richard Bagwell
His cowl had half-fallen back, and made a strange excrescence on either side of his bull-neck.The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 4 (of 25)|Robert Louis Stevenson
Yes—here he was slain—but it was because he refused to take the cowl, and finish his days in a monastery.Quentin Durward|Sir Walter Scott