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[hat] /hæt/
a shaped covering for the head, usually with a crown and brim, especially for wear outdoors.
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. the distinctive head covering of a cardinal.
  2. the office or dignity of a cardinal.
    Compare red hat.
verb (used with object), hatted, hatting.
to provide with a hat; put a hat on.
hat in hand, humbly; respectfully:
He approached the boss, hat in hand.
pass the hat, to ask for contributions of money, as for charity; take up a collection:
The lodge members passed the hat to send underprivileged children to summer camp.
take off one's hat to, to express high regard for; praise:
We took off our hats to their courage and daring.
talk through one's hat, to speak without knowing the facts; make unsupported or incorrect statements:
He is talking through his hat when he says he'll make the team.
throw / toss one's hat in / into the ring, to become a participant in a contest, especially to declare one's candidacy for political office:
His friends are urging him to throw his hat in the ring.
under one's hat, confidential; private; secret:
I'll tell you the real story, but keep it under your hat.
wear two / several hats, to function in more than one capacity; fill two or more positions:
He wears two hats, serving as the company's comptroller as well as its chief executive officer.
Origin of hat
before 900; Middle English; Old English hætt; cognate with Old Norse hǫttr hood; akin to hood1
Related forms
hatless, adjective
hatlessness, noun
hatlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hatless
Historical Examples
  • On I rushed with the rest, hatless, and as in a cloud of fury.

    A Woman Tenderfoot Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
  • He was hatless, and came out into the sunshine rather hurriedly.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • There was little to be seen of Meg save her rumpled, hatless head.

    Jan and Her Job L. Allen Harker
  • He is hatless and unwashed and dishevelled, standing in the Blackfriars Road.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • Cleave, hatless, bleeding from a bayonet thrust in the arm, ordered the retreat.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Kano caught up a bamboo cane and, hatless, went into the street.

    The Dragon Painter

    Mary McNeil Fenollosa
  • It was a man, hatless, and with half his clothes torn from his back.

    Dave Porter in the Gold Fields Edward Stratemeyer
  • An officer rode by me hatless, and halted, shading his eyes.

    Eben Holden Irving Bacheller
  • Mark had burst from the policeman—he was standing now hatless before the altar.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • I followed a few yards in the rear, hatless, with my breath coming in gasps.

    The Blue Germ Martin Swayne
British Dictionary definitions for hatless


  1. any of various head coverings, esp one with a brim and a shaped crown
  2. (in combination): hatrack
(informal) a role or capacity
at the drop of a hat, without hesitation or delay
(informal) I'll eat my hat, I will be greatly surprised if (something that proves me wrong) happens: I'll eat my hat if this book comes out late
hat in hand, humbly or servilely
keep something under one's hat, to keep something secret
(interjection) (Brit, informal) my hat
  1. my word! my goodness!
  2. nonsense!
old hat, something stale or old-fashioned
out of a hat
  1. as if by magic
  2. at random
pass the hat round, send the hat round, to collect money, as for a cause
take off one's hat to, to admire or congratulate
talk through one's hat
  1. to talk foolishly
  2. to deceive or bluff
(Irish) throw one's hat at it, to give up all hope of getting or achieving something: you can throw your hat at it now
throw one's hat in the ring, toss one's hat in the ring, to announce one's intentions to be a candidate or contestant
verb hats, hatting, hatted
(transitive) to supply (a person, etc) with a hat or put a hat on (someone)
Derived Forms
hatless, adjective
hatlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English hætt; related to Old Norse höttr cap, Latin cassis helmet; see hood1
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 hatless

mid-15c., from hat + -less.



Old English hæt "hat, head covering," from Proto-Germanic *hattuz "hood, cowl" (cf. Frisian hat, Old Norse hattr), from PIE root *kadh- "cover, protect" (cf. Lithuanian kudas "tuft or crest of a bird," Latin cassis "helmet"). Now, "head covering with a more or less horizontal brim." To throw one's hat in the ring was originally (1847) to take up a challenge in prize-fighting. To eat one's hat is said to have been originally To eat Old Rowley's [Charles II's] hat.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hatless
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 hatless
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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