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Caul

Caul

A membrane that sometimes covers the head of a child at birth. It was regarded as a preservative against drowning at sea and was consequently much sought after by seamen. Superstitions concerning the caul are of some antiquity. In ancient Rome, Aelius Lampridius wrote about the life of Antonine Diadumeninus, stating that he was so called from having been brought into the world with a band of membrane round his forehead like a diadem, and that he enjoyed a perpetual state of felicity from this circumstance. Roman midwives offered cauls for sale in the Forum.

Even as late as the 1870s, British newspapers often carried advertisements from would-be purchasers of a caul, offering large sums of money. The caul was also used in a form of divination called amniomancy.

In the cultures of northern and eastern Europe, the caul, which marked babies as different, was associated with vampirism. A child born with a caul was thought to become a vampire after death. To prevent such a fate, the caul was removed, dried, ground into fine particles, and fed to the child on its seventh birthday.

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caul

caul / kôl/ • n. 1. the amniotic membrane enclosing a fetus. ∎  part of this membrane occasionally found on a child's head at birth, thought to bring good luck. 2. hist. a woman's close-fitting indoor headdress or hairnet. 3. Anat. the omentum.

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caul

caul, caulcole, caulicole, cauliculus (pl. cauliculae), caulis (pl. caules). Caules are principal stalks rising behind the upper row of acanthus-leaves in a Corinthian capital. From these caules spring lesser branches (cauli-coles or cauliculae) supporting the volutes or helices.

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caul

caul (hist.) woman's close-fitting cap, hairnet; investing membrane, e.g. omentum, amnion. XIII. ME. calle, of doubtful orig.; perh. — (O)F. cale head-covering, f. calotte (see CALOTTE) by back-formation; but the Eng. word is recorded earlier.

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caul

caul (kawl) n.
1. (in obstetrics) the amnion, a piece of which may cover an infant's head at birth.

2. (in anatomy) see omentum.

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caul

caul Membrane enclosing the foetus; that from sheep or pig is used to cover meat while roasting.

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caul

caulall, appal (US appall), awl, Bacall, ball, bawl, befall, Bengal, brawl, call, caul, crawl, Donegal, drawl, drywall, enthral (US enthrall), fall, forestall, gall, Galle, Gaul, hall, haul, maul, miaul, miscall, Montreal, Naipaul, Nepal, orle, pall, Paul, pawl, Saul, schorl, scrawl, seawall, Senegal, shawl, small, sprawl, squall, stall, stonewall, tall, thrall, trawl, wall, waul, wherewithal, withal, yawl •carryall • blackball • handball •patball • hardball • netball • baseball •paintball • speedball • heelball •meatball • stickball • pinball • spitball •racquetball • basketball • volleyball •eyeball, highball •oddball • softball • mothball •korfball • cornball •lowball, no-ball, snowball •goalball •cueball, screwball •goofball • stoolball • football •puffball • punchball • fireball •rollerball • cannonball • butterball •catchall • bradawl • holdall • Goodall

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