Definition of shawl in US English:



  • A piece of fabric worn by women over the shoulders or head or wrapped around a baby.

    • ‘India has beautiful fabrics by the acre - shawls and jackets, skirts and scarves, wall-hangings and bedspreads.’
    • ‘She was wearing a black gown with a black shawl on her neck and a pair of black evening gloves.’
    • ‘And floor-mounted coat racks are a natural for cloaks, gowns, shawls and scarves.’
    • ‘The two of them had draped their shawls around their shoulders and descended the stairs in silence.’
    • ‘The sun was out and it felt warm on her skin, but the morning breeze made Elizabeth wrap her shawl tighter around her shoulder.’
    • ‘Shivering slightly with the cold I wrapped a shawl around my shoulders and left the house.’
    • ‘Keep the bulky fabrics to shawls and accessories and be mad about figure-skimming lightweight plaids.’
    • ‘Gypsy and ethnic references appear in a number of outfits including Spanish style poncho skirts, shawls and classic Native American dresses.’
    • ‘Alicia is sitting on a small stone bench in a patch of sun with a thick shawl wrapped around her shoulders.’
    • ‘Straw hats replaced the shawl and bonnet and dresses came more into vogue.’
    • ‘Knitwear includes shawls, scarves and berets with a selection of babywear also available.’
    • ‘She was fully dressed with her hair done and a shawl over her shoulders, as though she had been waiting for the men to awaken.’
    • ‘Women wear colorful gathered skirts with aprons and cloth shawls over their shoulders.’
    • ‘The young woman, standing at the end of my bed, rocked a sleeping baby wrapped in a shawl.’
    • ‘She wrapped a shawl around her shoulders and peered out at the mountains from the window.’
    • ‘There will be lots of beautifully designed beaded and embroidered purses and shawls to complement the season's gowns.’
    • ‘So I got dressed and slipped a shawl over my shoulders, wrapping it around myself tightly.’
    • ‘We get to wear these pretty silk baby blue gowns with white translucent shawls and orchid crowns on our heads.’
    • ‘After that I'm going to have a go at knitting a lace shawl for the new baby.’
    • ‘They wear long petticoated gowns with shawls, along with extravagant headdresses.’
    cloak, mantle, wrap, stole, tippet
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: from Urdu and Persian šāl, probably from Shāliāt, the name of a town in India.