Our word “shroud” comes from the Old English word for “clothing,” and the first listing in the dictionary is for burial clothing.

We say that something is shrouded in mystery, meaning that it is wrapped or cloaked, as with a piece of clothing.

But a shroud is also a security device at the door of a store or other public building. These devices check for electronic security devices and reduce the chances of shrinkage. Increasingly, shrouds also offer another marketing opportunity.

What’s the connection between these security shrouds and burials? None. The word “shroud” is also used for rigging on ships. The ropes that keep the mast of a sailing ship in place are called shrouds.

So are many other things that look similar, such as the ropes on a parachute, rigging in a theater — and security shrouds, which at some point must have reminded someone of nautical rigging.

Ads on shrouds were originally for video games and movies, but now suppliers are using shrouds to increase awareness of products from cereal to electronics. Since every customer must pass through the shrouds on their way in and out of the store, the shrouds are very high traffic marketing opportunities.