Parasols, umbrellas and gobos

A parasol

At the French conversation group last night, one of the words that came up was parasol, which is used in English and French to refer to a small umbrella used as protection from the sun.

Parasol comes from the Italian parasole (parasol, sunshade), from para- (to shield) and sole (sun) [source].

Related words include:

– parapluie = umbrella
– para-soleil = sun visor, sunshade
– pare-son = gobo – a device placed around a microphone to shield undesirable sounds

The French word parer (to ward off; to protect; to adorn; to parry) seems to be related as well.

The word gobo is one I haven’t come across before. It is defined by Wiktionary as:

“a disc placed between a light and the illuminated object or actor in order to diffuse the glare; a template inserted over a light source in order to control the shape of the thrown light; a device used to shield a microphone from extraneous sounds.”

Gobo may be an abbreviation of go between, goes before optics,or graphical optical black out [source].

Other names for devices attached to microphones to shield unwanted sounds include pop filter, condenser windscreen, windscreen pop filter, windjammer, microphone cover, microphone wind shield, microphone windscreen muff, and acoustic screen [source]. Some may be brand names.

Have you heard of gobos? Do you have other names for them?

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