Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A woman's head scarf, folded triangularly and worn tied under the chin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An old woman.
  • n. A woman’s headscarf, tied under the chin.
  • n. Russian doll, matryoshka (mistranslation)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a woman's headscarf folded into a triangle and tied under the chin; worn by Russian peasant women

Etymologies

Russian, grandmother, diminutive of baba, old woman.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Russian бабушка (bábuška, "grandmother, granny"), diminutive of баба (bába, "old woman"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Father Tikhon would not confirm this relationship; church rules don't allow him to say whether a babushka is confessing to him, never mind Russia's president.

    The Accidental Autocrat

  • Many Russian grandmothers wear scarves on their heads-hence the odd porting of the word babushka in America to refer to a head scarf itself.

    KZblog

  • He called her babushka, or grandmother, as a sort of joke, although she wasn't much older than him.

    APM: Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac RSS Feed

  • Do you think it could be a kind of babushka-scarf that was longer and tied under the back of the head—sort of what Jackie Onassis wore when she visited Capri?

    Women I Have Dressed (and Undressed!)

  • And she said her grandmother, who was a-- "babushka" is the word for grandmother -- that it was like a magical event when babushka made this face cream.

    Waking the Tempests: Ordinary Life in the New Russia

  • As to the stereotypes, I think nobody can beat people from the msot advanced country in the world who sees all Russians in 'babushka's shawls dring vodka during year long winter!

    Think Progress

  • They take less care about their skin (and this is why they turn into a "babushka" at the age of 30, as one of my Italian friends said) than an average European (I noticed that, where a European tries to remove imperfections, a Ukrainian tends to hide the under a thick layer of makeup).

    News on www.kyivpost.com

  • A classic Ukrainian babushka with pinkish-blond hair in a red down comforter coat approached us with a formal nod.

    Welcome to My World

  • Though she no longer had a hairdo that required gallons of Aqua Net and regular salon maintenance, she still tied a babushka under her chin before taking my car and fleeing.

    Arcane Circle

  • Intro: "We can call this “the” Proactionary Principle so long as we realize that the underlying Principle is less like a sound bite than a set of nested Chinese boxes or Russian matroshka (babushka) dolls ..."

    The Proactionary Principle, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • not to be confused with babouche, which is the other end of the body!

    July 21, 2008

  • babooshka reflects an incorrect transference of stress to the second syllable.

    July 21, 2008

  • This time, Wikipedia has it right. The correct Russian word for these dolls is матрёшка (matryoshka, sing.), and матрёшки (matryoshki, pl.). I had them when I was a kid.

    July 21, 2008

  • Used to refer to the dolls, babushka is a misnomer.

    July 21, 2008

  • also, sometimes babooshka

    July 21, 2008

  • Those nesting wooden dolls one sees are often called babushka dolls. Wikipedia calls them Matryoshka dolls.

    July 21, 2008

  • It's almost as cruel as making oil from babies.

    July 21, 2008

  • How did babushka become a headwear? *is horrified* (Бабушка и дедушка = grandparents). Is there a dedushka garment as well? How do you wear a dedushka?

    July 21, 2008

  • Masculine form is dyedushka.

    July 11, 2008

  • An elderly Russian woman, especially one that is a grandmother.

    March 16, 2008