[tam-uh-shan-ter, tam-uh-shan-ter]
  1. a cap of Scottish origin, usually made of wool, having a round, flat top that projects all around the head and has a pompon at its center.

Origin of tam-o'-shanter

First recorded in 1880–85; named after the hero of Tam O'Shanter (1791), poem by Robert Burns
Also called tam.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for tam-o'-shanter


  1. a Scottish brimless wool cap with a bobble in the centre, usually worn pulled down at one sideAlso called: tam, tammy

Word Origin for tam-o'-shanter

C19: named after the hero of Burns' poem Tam o' Shanter (1790)
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

Word Origin and History for tam-o'-shanter

c.1840, type of bonnet formerly worn by Scottish plowmen, from Tam O'Shanter "Tom of Shanter," name of hero in a poem of the same name by Robert Burns, written 1790. The woolen cap became fashionable for ladies c.1887.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper