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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An infant wearing a hood.
Ku Klux Klan members wearing hoods

A hood is a kind of headgear that covers most of the head and neck and sometimes the face. They may be worn for protection from the environment, for fashion, as a form of traditional dress or uniform, to prevent the wearer seeing or to prevent the wearer being identified.

Today, fashion hoods are generally soft headcoverings which form part of a larger garment (e.g. an overcoat, shirt or cloak; an exception is a rain hood which is not part of a larger garment). They can be pulled up over the head when needed, or left to hang down the back when not. They may also be detachable to turn a winter overcoat into a summer one, or may be designed to be folded or rolled into a small pocket in the neck of the garment when not in use.

Historically, hoods were either similar to modern hoods, often forming part of a cloak or cape, or a separate form of headgear. Hoods with short capes, called chaperons in French, were extremely common in medieval Europe, and later evolved into extravagant hats. Soft hoods were worn by men under hats. Hoods have also been used as part of uniforms for organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Traditional women's hoods varied from close-fitting, soft headgear (e.g. snood) to stiffened, structured hoods (e.g. gable hood) or very large coverings made of material over a frame which fashionable women wore over towering wigs or hairstyles to protect them from the elements (e.g. calash).

The Inuit peoples of the Arctic were expert clothing manufacturers, and the women's anorak, technically called an amauti, features a large hood used to shelter an infant on its mother's back.

A hood is a component of academic dress that is an often bright and decorative garment worn only on special occasions. The length of the hood and the width of its velvet trim indicate the academic achievement level of the wearer; the color of the trim indicates the discipline/field in which the degree is held; and the lining of hoods in academic dress represents the particular institution from which the degree was earned.

Scuba divers who dive in cold water often wear neoprene hoods for thermal insulation. They cover the whole head and neck except the face.

A hood to hide or control the wearer often covers the whole head, with the result that the wearer can see little or nothing, like a blindfold. Or it can be to prevent identification of the wearer. It may be used on or by person who has been arrested or kidnapped, or about to suffer judicial execution. The practice is known as hooding. The hood may be simply a bag. It may be intended to be, and/or experienced as, humiliating, see e.g. hood event.

A criminal may also wear a hood to prevent identification: in this case it is a mask, as it has holes for the eyes.

Close-fitting hoods are also used in BDSM: see bondage hood.

See also

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