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hard hat

a protective helmet of metal or plastic, especially as worn by construction or factory workers.
a uniformed soldier of a regular army, as opposed to a guerrilla.
Origin of hard hat
First recorded in 1925-30


or hardhat

[hahrd-hat] /ˈhɑrdˌhæt/
noun, Informal.
a construction worker, especially a member of a construction workers' union.
a working-class conservative.
pertaining to or characteristic of hard-hats:
enlisting hard-hat support for his policies.
First recorded in 1960-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hardhat
Contemporary Examples
  • He was a local construction worker, complete with hardhat, and he spoke with a heavy Spanish accent.

    The Boys on the Bus Ben Crair November 3, 2008
British Dictionary definitions for hardhat

hard hat

a hat made of a hard material for protection, worn esp by construction workers, equestrians, etc
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) a construction worker
(informal, mainly US) characteristic of the presumed conservative attitudes and prejudices typified by construction workers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hardhat

hard hat

also hardhat, hard-hat, late 14c., "helmet;" 1935, "derby hat;" meaning "safety helmet" is from 1953; used figuratively for "construction worker" from 1970.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hardhat

hard hat


: Caution, this is a hard-hat zone

noun phrase

  1. A derby hat: The boys with the hard hats always ask a lot of questions about murders (1935+)
  2. (also brain bucket) The steel or plastic helmet worn by various sorts of workers, esp construction workers: From here on we wear hard hats/ They lay aloft at 1930 with their ''brain buckets'' (hard hats) and bags of tools (1953+)
  3. A worker who wears a hard hat: The hard hats sat around and whistled at the passing girls (1960s+)
  4. A very conservative right-winger; a reactionary: He knows he can count on the hard hats to support him (1970s+)
  5. A regular Viet Cong soldier, who wears a military helmet, as distinct from a guerrilla or reservist: Some 50,000 are ''hard-hats'' (full-time fighters) (Vietnam War armed forces)

[the political sense fr the vocal and sometimes violent opposition of many construction workers to the US peace movement during the Vietnam War, reinforced by terms like hard line and hard core]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with hardhat

hard hat

A working-class ultraconservative. For example, They were counting on a large number of votes from the hard hats. This term alludes to the rigid protective headgear worn by construction workers, who were noted for their conservatism during the tumultuous 1960s. [ c. 1960 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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