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Snood (headgear)

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A snood is a type of headgear, historically worn by European women over their long hair. In the most common form it resembles a close-fitting hood worn over the back of the head. A tighter-mesh band may cover the forehead or crown, then run behind the ears and under the nape of the neck. A sack of sorts dangles from this band, covering and containing the fall of long hair gathered at the back. A snood sometimes was made of solid fabric, but more often of loosely knitted yarn or other net-like material. Historically (and in some cultures still in use today) a small bag, netted, tatted, knitted, crocheted, or knotted of fine thread, enclosed a bob of long hair on the back of the head or held it close to the nape. Modern hair nets, commonly in use where shed human hair may be undersirable, are often made of microfiber.

In modern times the word also has come to be applied to a tubular neck protector or warmer, often worn by skiers or motorcyclists. The garment may be worn either pulled down around the neck like a scarf, or pulled up over the hair and lower face, like a hood.


The word was first recorded in Old English from sometime around 725.[1] It was widely used in the Middle Ages for a variety of cloth or net head coverings, including what we would today call hairbands and cauls, as well as versions similar to a modern net snood. Snoods continued in use in later periods, especially for women working or at home.

In Scotland and parts of the North of England, a silken ribbon about an inch (2 cm) wide called a snood was worn specifically by unmarried women, as an indicator of their status, until the late 19th or early 20th century.[1] It was usually braided into the hair.

Snoods came back into fashion in the 1860s, although the term "snood" remained a European name, and Americans called the item simply a "hairnet" until some time after they went out of fashion in the 1870s. These hairnets were frequently made of very fine material to match the wearer's natural hair colour and worn over styled hair. Consequently, they were very different from the snoods of the 1940s.

Snoods became popular again in Europe during World War II. At that time, the British government had placed strict rations on the amount of material that could be used in clothing. While headgear was not rationed, snoods were favoured, along with turbans and headscarves, in order to show one's commitment to the war effort.

Today, women's snoods are commonly worn by married Orthodox Jewish women, according to the religious custom of hair covering. Many European and South American football players have recently begun to wear snoods on colder nights. A Winter Olympics 2010 television broadcast (NBC: February 27, 2010) an on-site interview of a European woman skier wearing a beret headgear with snood expansion at the nape.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Snood." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Snood (headgear). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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