One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A light umbrella used to give shade from the sun.
- ‘The rain has brought cheer to traders retailing umbrellas and rainwear; umbrella-making companies have launched several products this year, including parasols equipped with torches.’
- ‘Using the umbrellas as parasols on a warm summer day, we walked up the shrine approach.’
- ‘I opened my parasol and held it behind my head to shade me from the sunlight.’
- ‘That's called an umbrella, also sometimes known as a parasol or bumbershoot.’
- ‘Then there are those which seem more appropriate eaten in the shade of a tree or beneath a parasol: think cold salmon, delicate fruit fool or perhaps a crisp meringue hidden beneath a layer of thick cream and summer fruit.’
- ‘It is terraced, surrounded by hurdle fences, furnished with parasols, umbrella heaters and plants.’
- ‘In summer and autumn, tables and chairs shaded by parasols are laid in pavilions and on terraces decorated with colorful lanterns, with green bamboo stems swaying gently beside them.’
- ‘Most parasols are chemically treated to block out ultra-violet light and they are hardly a bargain at up to 40,000 yen a piece.’
- ‘The parasol has silver lights underneath it and candles on the table.’
- ‘One team produces a garden parasol to offer shade.’
- ‘As they stepped out of the shade, she turned back to call Jenny for her parasol.’
- ‘In days gone by, women carried parasols to shade them from the sunlight.’
- ‘The overcast and drizzly weather stretched all the way from Hadrian's Wall to the Shetland Islands, making Scots reach for their umbrellas and cardies rather than parasols and bikinis.’
- ‘As for the sun, I had a parasol; it shaded my skin from the light.’
- ‘The Casabianca Compact introduces a white-gloved, white-jacketed white servant as he extends a parasol to shade a handsome, stout black woman on a walk along the water.’
- ‘In 1857 it was so hot in London that Gladstone noted umbrellas being used as parasols in Piccadilly.’
- ‘I had only a little money with me, and I bought a parasol to shade my sunburned neck from the sun once we were back on the cattle drive.’
- ‘Some might call them parasols, but they were definitely umbrellas.’
- ‘The promenade was often crowded with gentlemen and ladies, shaded from the summer sun by parasols, and children scurrying on the beach.’
- ‘Instead of spectators huddling under umbrellas they were more likely to need parasols.’
2A widely distributed large mushroom with a broad, scaly, grayish-brown cap and a tall, slender stalk, growing typically in grassy places.
- ‘Some small species of parasol mushroom are reputedly harmful, so it is best not to gather any which measure less than 8 cm across the cap unless they have been positively identified.’
- ‘Scotland produces all sorts of edible wild mushrooms - parasols, horse mushrooms, field mushrooms and wood blewits to name but a few - but you must be sure of what they are before eating them or you could end up in hospital or worse.’
- ‘The day of the election I picked and ate a delicious parasol mushroom - three months early.’
- ‘From the top, this could be Macrolepiota rachodes, the shaggy parasol, edible and choice.’
Early 17th century: from French, from Italian parasole, from para- ‘protecting against’ + sole ‘sun’ (from Latin sol).
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