/kowl/, n.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.v.t.8. to cover with or as if with a cowl.9. to put a monk's cowl on.10. to make a monk of.[bef. 1000; ME cou(e)le, OE cugele, cule < LL cuculla monk's hood, var. of L cucullus hood]
* * *hooded cloak worn by monks, usually the same colour as the habit of the order. Originally a common outer garment worn by both men and women, it was prescribed by St. Benedict for the monks of his order (c. 530). In addition to the typical garment, the separate hood worn by Augustinians, the small hood attached to Franciscans' habits, and the large, pleated choir robe worn by English Benedictines are also called cowls.
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