• synonyms


  1. a streamlined metal housing or removable covering for an engine, especially an aircraft engine, often part of or forming a continuous line with the fuselage or wing.
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Origin of cowling

First recorded in 1915–20; cowl + -ing1


  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.
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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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cowling


  1. a streamlined metal covering, esp one fitted around an aircraft engineAlso called: cowl Compare fairing 1
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  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
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verb (tr)
  1. to cover or provide with a cowl
  2. to make a monk of
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Word Origin

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 cowling



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper