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wim·​ple ˈwim-pəl How to pronounce wimple (audio)
: 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
: a crafty turn : twist
: curve, bend

Illustration of wimple

Illustration of wimple
  • wimple 1


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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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

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
Is Philine a psychotic demon in a wimple, or a terrified and terrifying product of an old-school strain of Catholicism that prizes showy denial and self-discipline over sincere benevolence? Guy Lodge, Variety, 19 Aug. 2022 Who would have guessed that Sister Frances's wimple was hiding Bruccoleri's becoming bangs. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 17 Mar. 2022 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wimple.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


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

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


Dictionary Entries Near wimple

Cite this Entry

“Wimple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wimple. Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

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