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  1. a cloth or sheet in which a corpse is wrapped for burial.
  2. something that covers or conceals like a garment: a shroud of rain.
  3. Nautical. any of a number of taut ropes or wires converging from both sides on the head of a lower or upper mast of the outer end of a bowsprit to steady it against lateral sway: a part of the standing rigging.
  4. Also called shroud line. Aeronautics. any of a number of suspension cords of a parachute attaching the load to the canopy.
  5. Also called shroud·ing. Machinery.
    1. (on a nonmetallic gear) an extended metal rim enclosing the ends of the teeth on either side.
    2. (on a water wheel) one of two rings of boards or plates enclosing the buckets at their ends.
  6. Rocketry. a cone-shaped shield that protects the payload of a launch vehicle.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to wrap or clothe for burial; enshroud.
  2. to cover; hide from view.
  3. to veil, as in obscurity or mystery: They shrouded their past lives in an effort to forget.
  4. to provide (a water wheel) with a shroud.
  5. Obsolete. to shelter.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Archaic. to take shelter.
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Origin of shroud

before 1000; (noun) Middle English; Old English scrūd; cognate with Old Norse skrūth; akin to shred; (v.) Middle English shrouden, derivative of the noun; replacing Middle English shriden, Old English scrȳdan, derivative of scrūd
Related formsshroud·less, adjectiveshroud·like, adjective


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

Related Words

veil, cloak, pall, envelope, sheet, garment, dress, screen, cover, shelter, shade, wrap, vault, shadow, clothing, cerement, cerecloth

Examples from the Web for shroud

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for shroud


  1. a garment or piece of cloth used to wrap a dead body
  2. anything that envelops like a garmenta shroud of mist
  3. a protective covering for a piece of equipment
  4. astronautics a streamlined protective covering used to protect the payload during a rocket-powered launch
  5. nautical one of a pattern of ropes or cables used to stay a mast
  6. any of a set of wire cables stretched between a smokestack or similar structure and the ground, to prevent side sway
  7. Also called: shroud line any of a set of lines running from the canopy of a parachute to the harness
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  1. (tr) to wrap in a shroud
  2. (tr) to cover, envelop, or hide
  3. archaic to seek or give shelter
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Derived Formsshroudless, adjective

Word Origin

Old English scrūd garment; related to Old Norse skrūth gear
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 shroud


Old English scrud "a garment, clothing, dress," from West Germanic *skruthan, from Proto-Germanic *skrud- "cut" (cf. Old Norse skruð "shrouds of a ship, tackle, gear; furniture of a church," Danish, Swedish skrud "dress, attire"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut" (see shred (n.)).

Specific meaning "winding-sheet, cloth or sheet for burial," to which the word now is restricted, first attested 1560s. Sense of "strong rope supporting the mast of a ship" (mid-15c.) is from the notion of "clothing" a spar or mast; one without rigging was said to be naked.

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c.1300, "to clothe, to cover, protect," from Old English scrydan, scridan "to clothe, dress;" see shroud (n.). Meaning "to hide from view, conceal" (transitive) is attested from early 15c. Related: Shrouded; shrouding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper