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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Guimpe \Guimpe\, n. [F. See 2d Gimp.]

  1. A kind of short blouse or chemisette, worn under a low-necked dress such as a jumper or pinafore. [WordNet sense 2]

  2. a piece of starched cloth covering the shoulders of a nun's habit. [WordNet sense 1]


n. 1 gimp; a narrow flat braid or reinforced cord of fabric used for ornamental trimming. 2 A kind of short, high-necked blouse with sleeves of the late, designed to be worn under a low-cut dress, jumper, or pinafore dress. 3 A kind of short chemisette or yoke insert made of lace, embroidery, or the like, worn with a low-necked dress. 4 A wimple; a wide, stiffly starched cloth that covers the neck and shoulders, as part of the habit of nuns of certain orders.

  1. n. a piece of starched cloth covering the shoulders of a nun's habit

  2. a short blouse with sleeves that is worn under a jumper or pinafore dress


The guimpe (from the French guimpe) was a garment which developed in medieval Western Europe. It was a linen cloth, often starched, which covered the neck and shoulders of the wearer, sometimes the entire chest as well. It was worn as part of the garb of a woman of means, both to show social standing—due to the added upkeep it required, and to demonstrate the woman's sense of modesty. It would be worn in combination with a coif and wimple.

As women in Renaissance Italy began to leave their heads uncovered, and to expose their shoulders, the guimpe slowly fell into disuse. Its use continued solely in monasteries, as part of a nun's religious habit. As women's religious Orders began to adopt contemporary attire, it has largely disappeared from these circles as well.

From the early nineteenth century onwards, the term guimpe also described a form of short under-blouse or chemisette which was worn under a pinafore or low cut dress to fill in the neckline and, if sleeved, cover the arms.

Category:Roman Catholic religious clothing

Usage examples of "guimpe".

She caught up the money and the note, thrust them into her guimpe, locked the case, and ran to the road.

Whatever she got for that must be made with a guimpe that could be taken out to make it a little more festive for the ball.

It may be worn with a white guimpe as a change from the blue silk one that goes with it.

Veronique was expecting him, dressed in her blue silk gown and muslin guimpe, over which fell a collaret made of lawn with a deep hem.

A robe of serge with large sleeves, a large woollen veil, the guimpe which mounts to the chin cut square on the breast, the band which descends over their brow to their eyes,-- this is their dress.