wim·​ple | \ ˈwim-pəl How to pronounce wimple (audio) \

Definition of wimple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a cloth covering worn over the head and around the neck and chin especially by women in the late medieval period and by some nuns
2 Scotland
a : a crafty turn : twist
b : curve, bend


wimpled; wimpling\ ˈwim-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce wimple (audio) \

Definition of wimple (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cover with or as if with a wimple : veil
2 : to cause to ripple

intransitive verb

1 archaic : to fall or lie in folds
2 chiefly Scotland : to follow a winding course : meander
3 : ripple

Illustration of wimple

Illustration of wimple


wimple 1

In the meaning defined above

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Did You Know?


Wimple is the name of the covering worn over the head and around the neck and chin by women in the late medieval period, as well as by some modern nuns. Its name is akin to Old Saxon "wimpal" and Middle Dutch "wimpel," both of which mean "veil" or "banner." Like the word veil, "wimple" is also used as a verb meaning "cover" and was adopted by literary writers as a substitute for "ripple" and "meander," especially when writing about streams. "Over the little brook which wimpled along below towered an arch," James Russell Lowell once observed.

Examples of wimple in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Regardless of your interpretation, her motive was to regain a sense of power over her body, to take back the sexuality that was sheathed in a red robe and cropped wimple. Hillary Kelly, Vulture, 2 June 2021 Under the wimple, her face had a beatific glow that lit up the stage. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, 5 Dec. 2019 There were trains by the yard obstructing traffic, and a full complement of halos, wimples, tiaras and crowns. Matthew Schneier, New York Times, 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wimple.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of wimple


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for wimple


Middle English wimpel, from Old English; perhaps akin to Old English wīpian to wipe

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The first known use of wimple was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wimple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wimple. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for wimple



English Language Learners Definition of wimple

: a cloth worn over the head and around the neck and chin by women in past times and by some nuns today

More from Merriam-Webster on wimple

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wimple


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