From Middle English wympel, wimpel, from Old English wimpel (“veil, an article of women's dress; a covering for the neck, a cloak, a hood”), from Proto-Germanic *wimpilaz (“wimple, scarf, veil”). Cognate with Scots wympill (“wimple”), Dutch wimpel (“streamer, pennant”), German Wimpel (“pennant”), Swedish vimpel (“pennant, banner”), Icelandic vimpill (“hood, cowl”).
wimple (plural wimples)
- A cloth which usually covers the head and is worn around the neck and chin. It was worn by women in medieval Europe and is still worn by nuns in certain orders.
- 1999, Cordelia Warr, “Religious dress in Italy in the late Middle Ages”, in Amy De La Haye, editor, Defining Dress: Dress as Object, Meaning, and Identity, Manchester University Press, →ISBN, page 82:
- Even the unprecedented detail of the Urbanist regulations is still not sufficient to enable us to envisage with accuracy the appearance of the wimple or the other items that went to make up the habit.
- A fold or pleat in cloth.
- A ripple, as on the surface of water.
- A curve or bend.
- A flag or streamer.
- To cover with a wimple.
- c. 1595–1596, William Shakespeare, “Loues Labour’s Lost”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene i]:
- this wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy
- To draw down; to lower, like a veil.
- 1590, Edmund Spenser, Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book I, 1921 ed. edition:
- IV A lovely Ladie[*] rode him faire beside, Upon a lowly Asse more white then snow, Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide 30 Under a vele, that wimpled was full low, And over all a blacke stole she did throw, As one that inly mournd: so was she sad, And heavie sat upon her palfrey slow; Seemed in heart some hidden care she had, 35 And by her in a line a milke white lambe she lad.
- To cause to appear as if laid in folds or plaits; to cause to ripple or undulate.
- The wind wimples the surface of water.
- To flutter.
- 1920, George Allan England, The Flying Legion:
- Stars wavered and wimpled in the black waters of the Hudson as a launch put out in silence from the foot of Twenty-seventh Street.
- 1836, Joseph Rodman Drake, The Culprit Fay:
- She wimpled about in the pale moonbeam, Like a feather that floats on a wind tossed-stream; And momently athwart her track The quarl upreared his island back, And the fluttering scallop behind would float, And patter the water about the boat; But he bailed her out with his colen-bell, And he kept her trimmed with a wary tread, While on every side like lightening fell