Prayer and Religious Articles: Tzitzis, Tefillin, Torah Scrolls, and Mezuzos: The Yarmulka:
What is the origin of the word "yarmulka"?
It is widely believed that the word is derived from the Aramaic phrase "yerei malka" (one who fears the King); this derivation is based on the fact that covering the head is a sign of respect for G-d. [Some of the Talmudic sages didn't uncover their heads because they felt that the Divine Presence was above their heads (Talmud, Shabbos 118b and Kiddushin 31a).] But it turns out that the word "yermolka", meaning a cap, is found in a short story by the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev entitled "Yermolai and the Miller's Wife", so the word probably came into Yiddish from a Slavic source.
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