Definition of caul in English:



  • 1The amniotic membrane enclosing a fetus.

    • ‘Personally, I like to wrap the whole thing in pigs' caul before tying, but I appreciate that this wouldn't suit everyone.’
    • ‘This is a sort of cake, roll or ball, made of chopped liver and lights, mixed with gravy, and wrapped in pieces of pig's caul.’
    • ‘Around this, fold a layer of Bayonne ham, the two layers of caul and tie gently in 3 or four places.’
    • ‘The result is an offal meatball which is wrapped in the pig's caul.’
    • ‘They made theirs of pig offal, enclosed in the cleaned caul of a pig (the caul is a membrane surrounding the intestines).’
    • ‘Thus he ordered the ‘Triada special’, a huge kofte of chicken, veal and pork enclosed in some sort of natural caul and charcoal-grilled, which he pronounced heavenly.’
    • ‘Haggis turned up again as the stuffing of a chicken fillet wrapped in caul and the salmon reappeared in a salad with citrus mayonnaise.’
    1. 1.1Part of the caul occasionally found on a child's head at birth, thought to bring good luck.
      • ‘Dr. Potato emails from the Phillipines to share another superstition about the caul - that it's associated with a sixth sense.’
      • ‘The range was wide, covering subjects such as baptismal customs, remembrance notices in the press, Essex girl jokes, modern witches, cauls and the puns in the names of hairdressing establishments.’
      • ‘Being born with a caul, therefore, reveals an essential duality, which relates to the notion of being born in a ‘second skin’.’
      • ‘In Dalmatian folk belief, for example, a girl born in a red caul became a morica when she grew up, and when she married she became a witch.’
      • ‘Here we learn of parish priests acting like spell-casting wizards, placing the cauls of newborn infants under the altar in order to give them magical properties.’
      • ‘The caul of Jaimie Clare Noonan (blessed by Chaplain Loch) now rests in a special casket.’
      • ‘Nothing unusual in that, you might say, except this heart-shaped locket was made to hold the caul, which covered the baby's head when he was born.’
      • ‘The ‘second skin,’ characteristic of both those born in a caul and ‘skin shifters,’ is, therefore, like a serpent skin.’
      • ‘A translucent head which was little more than a gelatinous bag closed over the mayor's head like a caul.’
  • 2historical A woman's close-fitting indoor headdress or hairnet.

    • ‘Halpern kept his arms crossed and eyes forward, while Ren was grinning and tucking a few stray hairs up under a mesh caul.’
    • ‘The sheath and cord, or ‘cauls and strings,’ as they were called, were sometimes accompanied by a purse, as is the case with the set in nearly perfect condition shown in Plate III.’
    • ‘He held his hands out in the near blackness of the chapel, brushing against her caul.’
  • 3Anatomy
    The omentum.

    • ‘Invert each of the eye loins, terrine side down, onto the caul fat.’
    • ‘Wrap the caul fat tightly around the pork chops, trimming off any excess.’
    • ‘Season with salt and pepper and tie string around each saddle to secure the caul fat.’
    • ‘Arrange a piece of caul fat on a flat work surface.’
    • ‘Season, wrap each rack in caul fat, and set aside.’


Middle English: perhaps from Old French cale head covering, but recorded earlier.