AskDefine | Define poncho

Dictionary Definition

poncho n : a blanket-like cloak with a hole in the center for the head

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A simple garment, made from a rectangle of cloth, with a slit in the middle for the head.
  2. A similar waterproof garment, with a hood.

Extensive Definition

A poncho is a simple garment designed to keep the body warm, or if made from an impermeable material, to keep dry during rain. It is essentially a single large sheet of fabric with an opening for the head and sometimes for the arms. Some ponchos, especially those made to ward off rain, also have hoods attached.
Alternative ponchos are now designed as fashion accessories. They are the same shape but of different material. They are designed to look fashionable and be loose and comfortable, rather than ward off cold and rain. These are often made out of wool or yarn, knitted or crocheted. Ponchos with festive designs or colors can be worn at special events as well.
The poncho, commonly associated with South America, has spread worldwide. While a traditional clothing in the whole world it is nowadays a standard in military field uniforms, and as a raincoat for wandering and biking.Traditional and more local names and variants are:

Military equipment

During the second world war, the Wehrmacht issued the Zeltbahn, a poncho that could be combined to form tents. A typical four-man tent used four Zeltbahnen.
In the infantry of Australia and the UK, a poncho is a shelter half that may also serve as a raincoat or as an individual shelter. In operations in which ponchos are used, one is carried by each person, and when combined with another forms a two-person tent.
The United States Armed Forces also issue ponchos that may be used as a field expedient shelter. These garments are highly prized by hunters and rescue workers.

Famous ponchos

  • The Colombian poncho is a typical item of Colombian coffee recollectors hence it can be seen worn by famous commercial icon Juan Valdez.
  • Frank Zappa sings about a woman and "her rancid poncho" in the song Camarillo Brillo, from the 1973 album Over-Nite Sensation. During the song's fade-out, Zappa enquires, "Is that a real poncho? I mean is that a Mexican poncho or is that a Sears poncho?"
  • In the British television series The Mighty Boosh one of the main characters Vince Noir states "It is impossible to be unhappy in a poncho" and later on in the same episode both Vince Noir and Howard Moon are seen dancing in ponchos and sombreros.

See also

poncho in Aymara: Punchu
poncho in German: Poncho
poncho in Spanish: Poncho
poncho in Esperanto: Ponĉo
poncho in French: Poncho
poncho in Italian: Poncho
poncho in Hebrew: פונצ'ו
poncho in Georgian: პონჩო
poncho in Dutch: Poncho
poncho in Japanese: ポンチョ
poncho in Occitan (post 1500): Poncho
poncho in Polish: Ponczo
poncho in Portuguese: Poncho
poncho in Quechua: Punchu
poncho in Russian: Пончо
poncho in Swedish: Poncho
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