- cloak (n.)
- late 13c., "long, loose outer garment," from Old North French cloque (Old French cloche, cloke) "travelling cloak," from Medieval Latin clocca "travelers' cape," literally "a bell," so called from the garment's bell-like shape (the word is thus a doublet of clock (n.1)). An article of everyday wear in England through 16c., somewhat revived 19c. as a fashion garment. Cloak-and-dagger (adj.) attested from 1848, said to be ultimately translating French de cape et d'épée, suggestive of stealthy violence and intrigue.
Other "cloak and dagger pieces," as Bouterwek tells us the Spaniards call their intriguing comedies, might be tried advantageously in the night, .... ["Levana; or the Doctrine of Education," English translation, London, 1848]
- cloak (v.)
- c.1500, from cloak (n.). Figuratively from 1540s. Related: Cloaked; cloaking.