dunce cap

or dunce's cap


a tall, cone-shaped hat formerly worn by slow or lazy students as a punishment in school.

Origin of dunce cap

First recorded in 1830–40
Also called fool's cap.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for dunce cap

  • Although no dunce-cap was on his head, a roomful of staring eyes struck a burning shame into his soul.

    A Japanese Boy|Shigemi Shiukichi
  • I do not think the plan was very successful, for the pockmarked youngster was often adorned with the dunce-cap.

  • He sat in school with a dunce-cap upon his head, or else played hookey and spent his hours in fishing, swimming or idling.

    The New Education|Scott Nearing

British Dictionary definitions for dunce cap

dunce cap

dunce's cap


a conical paper hat, formerly placed on the head of a dull child at school
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