Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Persian Word in English: Shawl

The word SHAWL comes to English via Urdu and other Indian languages from Persian shal, meaning a type of shawl made in Kashmir (cashmere) from the hair of a "shawl-goat." For a detailed history of the shawls of Kashmir, see this Wikipedia article.

The use of the word in English to refer not just to a "cashmere shawl" but to any type of oblong or rectangular cloth worn over the shoulders and upper body dates to the late 18th century.

The image below shows President Barack Obama receiving a red shawl as a gift from Sri Narayanachar Digalakote, a Hindu priest from Maryland:

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