A hairnet, or sometimes simply a net or caul, is a small, often elasticised, fine net worn over long hair to hold it in place. It is often worn by food service workers to prevent hair from contaminating the food. A snood is similar but a looser fit and with a much coarser mesh.

Evidence has been found of hairnets as far back as ancient Greece [] .Hairnets were worn from the 13th century onwards in Germany and England and are shown in illustrations from this period often worn with a wimple. They were made from extremely fine silk and edged with bands of either finger-weaving or tablet-weaving. []

*Ena Sharples, an early character in the UK soap opera Coronation Street, was famous for wearing a hairnet.

Other uses

The word has been adopted by several organisations in computing and the world wide web.

*Hairnet in the UK, subsequently renamed Digital Unite, is a network of older self-employed computer trainers. [] .

*In cycling, a hairnet was the popular term given to a bicycle helmet consisting of padded leather straps [] .

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