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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.
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.
verb (used without object)
  1. Archaic. to take shelter.

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

Synonyms for shroud

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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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
  1. (tr) to wrap in a shroud
  2. (tr) to cover, envelop, or hide
  3. archaic to seek or give shelter
Derived Formsshroudless, adjective

Word Origin for shroud

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.


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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper