Definition of cowl in US English:



  • 1A large loose hood, especially one forming part of a monk's habit.

    • ‘He stood behind them, eyes peering out under the black cowl.’
    • ‘I pull the cowl down to see the stitch I slashed.’
    • ‘He pulled a white hooded robe on and threw the cowl over his face, obscuring his features entirely.’
    • ‘He hid his face in the cowl of his coat, trying not to pay attention to the people staring at him.’
    • ‘It's a rose-pink bias-cut cocktail dress with a cowl neckline, and little rose-pink beads scattered down the front.’
    • ‘His cowl has a vaguely avian appearance, with a visor in the shape of a beak.’
    • ‘Then something caught his cowl and pulled it off his head.’
    • ‘He's a slender, pale man, whose face is obscured by a black cowl.’
    • ‘The four put their cowls back over their heads, then left the room, no one bothering to extinguish the lamp.’
    • ‘Another woman walks to her side, in black, with a white cowl.’
    • ‘‘Drink this for me,’ I say and pull his cowl down.’
    • ‘The figure was clad in black, with the cowl of his cloak hiding his face.’
    • ‘The scapula was meant to protect the chemise, and had a built in hood or cowl.’
    • ‘His cowl had fallen back, exposing his tonsure.’
    • ‘The advisor pulled back his cowl, and his balding pate, though thick of long, dark hair, shone in the torch-light.’
    • ‘Seraph stopped when the cloaked figure pulled his cowl down, to reveal a young girl.’
    • ‘The cowl of his cloak was raised, but I could see his eyes.’
    • ‘The beastly men now wore black cowls across their heads.’
    • ‘He said as he clasped the cowl of a cloak around his neck.’
    • ‘Danovin sneered, hidden in his cowl, and grumbled under his breath.’
    • ‘No face was visible from beneath the depths of the cowls.’
    1. 1.1 A monk's hooded, sleeveless habit.
      • ‘A new cowl sits on a shelf beside several others.’
      • ‘I undo his collar and remove his cowl so that I can get to his cuts and bruises.’
      • ‘He had donned the garb of a Hammalite monk, wearing a long whitish-grey cowl.’
      • ‘In one fluid movement, he discarded cowl and robe, and stood girded in his mail of scorched black iron.’
      • ‘The three figures had human faces - young, male faces under monk-like cowls.’
      • ‘Yorkshire's own outlaw, Robin Hood, was among the original hoodie wearers, alongside monks and friars who wore cowls.’
      • ‘She stared at the children's white robes and the guards' black cowls.’
      • ‘Anyone who ever did know the man behind the hooded cowl died long ago and in a horrible fashion.’
      • ‘It can be difficult tell a brown monk's cowl from a soldier's dark dress when all look nearly black.’
      • ‘The Dampminer looked up at the men in black cowls.’
      • ‘He looked at my monk's cowl with an odd, hesitant smile.’
      • ‘A priest in a long black cowl is firing burning flare at Jephthan.’
      • ‘Although resembling monks by virtue of their cowls and heavy draperies, the majority of the mourners are laymen.’
      • ‘During my time at Ampleforth there were the monks wandering down the corridors in their cowls.’
      • ‘Then, an army of warriors and men dressed in black cowls came from the direction of Plunder castle and sacked the town.’
      • ‘All of them - advisers and Chancellor alike - wore skullcaps and cowls.’
      • ‘He's Batman without the cowl, but the sunglasses substitute nicely.’
      • ‘A train of figures in tattered and bloody cowls were being herded toward the mouth of a cavern.’
      • ‘She shoved back the wrap his cowl ended in and found a dagger and an empty sheath strapped to his waist.’
      • ‘It was dressed in the black cowl of a priest.’
    2. 1.2 A cloak with wide sleeves worn by members of Benedictine orders.
    3. 1.3 The hood-shaped covering of a chimney or ventilation shaft.
      • ‘Remove the top of the roof cowl by loosening the bolts.’
      • ‘These cowls would be used where rain and/or birds or other pests are a problem.’
      • ‘Its distinctive cowls have disappeared forever from the city's skyline.’
      • ‘While architectural salvage was a condition of the eventual consent for demolition, the distinctive cowls have disappeared.’
      • ‘I told the council about this and they came down and put a cowl on the chimney.’
    4. 1.4US The part of a motor vehicle that supports the windshield and houses the dashboard.
      • ‘The exterior mirrors have been removed from the doors and attached, instead, to the body-side cowl, greatly reducing vibration.’
      • ‘Overall, the instruments are well positioned, and twin cowls for the main dials add to the car's overall sporting theme.’
      • ‘Extra sound deadening material is used under the carpet, in the instrument panel cowl, and under the hood.’
      • ‘There's little to no cowl shake, even on imperfect roads.’
      • ‘A new and improved cowl had been designed and built, but otherwise the racer was basically the same.’
    5. 1.5
      another term for cowling
      • ‘Three basic versions are available - the chassis cab, crew cab and the chassis cowl.’
      • ‘In order to ensure a very smooth fuselage line, the windscreen started immediately behind the cowl.’
      • ‘Externally, the most noticeable difference between the 172 and the 175 is the slight hump on the engine cowl behind the propeller.’
      • ‘Most POHs include a little walkaround map that usually starts with checking the oil on the right side of the engine cowl.’
      • ‘I'll get all the engine cowls off, get all the dust out of it, and a lot of areas have to be repolished.’
      • ‘Once the cowl and inspection covers have been removed, it's time to begin using the checklist.’
      • ‘We opened the top cowl, and he checked the cylinders with his hand to see if one might be running cool.’
      • ‘The craft had the cowl, upper wing surface, and tail painted bright yellow.’
      • ‘Spot and seam welding are used to join secondary structures, such as cowls, to bulkheads and skins.’
      • ‘I was already taking care of the props and cowls when there was a sudden sinking sensation!’
      • ‘When completed, the aircraft received a spectacular overall yellow color scheme with a blue cowl fading back into billowing flames.’
      • ‘Fitted with a three-blade propeller, the engine was enclosed in a narrow ring cowl.’
      • ‘From the landing gear, a single bracing wire extended into the cowl and was fixed to the motor mount.’
      • ‘Early Debonairs had 225 hp under the cowl, yet still offered cruise speeds near 160 knots on only about 13 gph.’
      • ‘Pop the cowl on your plane after it has sat quietly on the ramp for a couple of months.’
      • ‘The first aircraft is named School-Boy Rowe while the second has fearsome shark teeth adorning its cowls.’
      • ‘Shut off the engine and remove the cowl or whatever is necessary to drain the oil.’
      • ‘The cowl was tightly-wrapped sheet aluminum and the area around the snug cockpit was also covered in sheet aluminum.’
      • ‘I painted the white checkerboard cowls, shark's mouth, and the name Butch, My Baby.’
      • ‘I liked the bit about the engine cowls scraping along the runway as the mortar bombs stirred in the hold.’


Old English cugele, cūle, from ecclesiastical Latin cuculla, from Latin cucullus ‘hood of a cloak’.