shroud (n.)

Old English scrud "a garment, article of clothing, dress, something which envelops and conceals," from West Germanic *skruthan, from Proto-Germanic *skrud- "cut" (source also of Old Norse skruð "shrouds of a ship, tackle, gear; furniture of a church," Danish, Swedish skrud "dress, attire"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut" (see shred (n.)).

The specific meaning "winding-sheet for a dead body, cloth or sheet for burial," to which the word now is restricted, is attested from 1560s. The sense of "strong rope supporting the mast of a ship" (mid-15c.) is from the notion of "clothing" a spar or mast; one without rigging was said to be naked.

shroud (v.)

c. 1300, shrouden, "to clothe (with a garment or veil), cover, protect," from Old English scrydan, scridan "to clothe, dress;" see shroud (n.). Especially "put a shroud on a dead body for burial" (1570s). The meaning "to hide from view, conceal" (transitive) is attested from early 15c. Related: Shrouded; shrouding.

updated on September 21, 2022