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The word is pronounced similarly to the Russian babochka, meaning bow tie. Babushka became a diminutive form of "baba," meaning "old woman," due to the popular practice of old women wearing scarves tied with knots or bows. It's diminutive nature lead it to refer specifically to grandmothers. The word seems to have found its way into the English lanuage around 1938.

How to tie a babushka

  1. Take a 36" square cloth, fold it along the diagonal, creating a triangle.
  2. Place the edge of the fold across your forehead.
  3. Tie the corners of the triangle in a knot or bow under your chin, or, less traditionally, behind your head.

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