from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A portion of the amnion, especially when it covers the head of a fetus at birth.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A form used in gluing veneers to curved surfaces. It is shaped to the exact curve or form of the piece to be veneered, and is clamped against the veneer until the glue has set.
  • noun In the middle ages, and down to the seventeenth century
  • noun A net for confining the hair, worn by women.
  • noun More rarely, a head-dress like a flat turban.
  • noun Any kind of small net; a net.
  • noun A popular name for a membrane investing the viscera, such as the peritoneum or part of it, or the pericardium.
  • noun A portion of the amnion or membrane enveloping the fetus, which sometimes encompasses the head of a child when born.
  • noun A stalk; stem.
  • noun A cabbage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A covering of network for the head, worn by women; also, a net.
  • noun (Anat.) The fold of membrane loaded with fat, which covers more or less of the intestines in mammals; the great omentum. See Omentum.
  • noun A part of the amnion, one of the membranes enveloping the fetus, which sometimes is round the head of a child at its birth; -- called also a veil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The surface of a press that makes contact with panel product, especially a removable plate or sheet.

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

  • noun the inner membrane of embryos in higher vertebrates (especially when covering the head at birth)
  • noun part of the peritoneum attached to the stomach and to the colon and covering the intestines


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

[Middle English calle, from Old English cawl, basket.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French cale.


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  • A piece of (usually) scrap wood inserted between a clamp's jaws and the items being clamped to distribute pressure and keep the clamp from marring the wood.

    November 20, 2007

  • It's fascinating to look at the WeirdNet definition of this word, then the tag, then your definition, skipvia. A versatile word, to be sure.

    November 20, 2007

  • And yet, the first thing I think of when I see this word is the remnant of the amniotic sac that covered some babies' heads when they were born. I mostly see it in historical fiction, but they say this dried thing had (or conferred) magical powers, especially as a protective talisman for the person who was born with it.

    November 20, 2007

  • Yes! I was thinking of that too, only it wasn't represented here--but now it is. :-) Dickens had David Copperfield born with one. And didn't Shakespeare's Hamlet have one too?

    November 20, 2007

  • a jeweled hairnet, especially worn by women in the Renaissance

    August 15, 2008