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Etymology 1[edit]

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)

  1. 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.
  2. A fold or pleat in cloth.
  3. A ripple, as on the surface of water.
  4. A curve or bend.
  5. A flag or streamer.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Weale to this entry?)

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English wimplen (to cover, conceal; to fold, drape).


wimple (third-person singular simple present wimples, present participle wimpling, simple past and past participle wimpled)

  1. To cover with a wimple.
    • Shakespeare
      this wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy
  2. To draw down; to lower, like a veil.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book I[1], 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.
  3. To cause to appear as if laid in folds or plaits; to cause to ripple or undulate.
    The wind wimples the surface of water.
  4. To flutter.
    • 1920, George Allan England, The Flying Legion[2]:
      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[3]:
      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