Welcome to Weird Word Wednesday! This gem was emailed by a young reader, and I’m glad she went out of her way to share with us. Today’s word is (drumroll, please…)
Officially, a snood is “the netlike hat or part of a hat or fabric that holds or covers the back of a woman’s hair.” The word itself dates back to the 700s. Snoods traditionally have religious significance, worn as signs of modesty; in other cases, they served a practical purpose: they were an easy way to keep a woman’s hair from falling out in her face.
During World War II, fabric was rationed; as a result, hats weren’t the elaborate creations they had been at the turn of the century. Snoods came into fashion as a stylish hair covering that used less material, and could even be knitted at home.
Nowadays, snoods have been fashionably revamped. Some have “slid” from women’s heads, found around their necks instead. They make a fashion statement that I doubt women in the 700s even considered. I bought one from Lands’ End last year, and it makes our Wisconsin winters just a bit cozier!
Snoods still have their place in the technology and food industries They’re worn as head coverings in cheese making plants, and places where food is served. When I was a kid, the lunch ladies at my grade school wore snoods to protect us from accidentally ingesting any hair that fell into our tater tots.
Snoods are also an indicator of health – if you’re a turkey. That red, fleshy-looking piece of skin hanging over a turkey’s beak is, indeed, a snood. The snood turns bright red when a tom wants to attract a mate, changing to blue if the turkey is frightened. I’m envisioning toms with blue snoods being chased by angry females here! If the turkey isn’t feeling well, the snood turns pale.
So turkey or not, snoods definitely have their uses – here’s to happy Snood Wearers everywhere, and feel free to share any weird words you come across. I’d be glad to turn them into a feature for the next Weird Word Wednesday!