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See also: Bonnet


19th century woman wearing a bonnet.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (Scottish brimless hat): bunnet


From Middle English bonet, from Middle French bonet (Modern French bonnet), from Old French bonet (material from which hats are made), from Frankish *bunni (that which is bound), from Proto-Germanic *bundiją (bundle), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰendʰ- (to tie). Compare also Late Latin abbonis, obbonis (ribbon of a headdress), also of Germanic origin, from Frankish *obbunni, from *ob- (above, over) + *bunni. Cognate with Old High German gibunt (band, ribbon), Middle Dutch bont (bundle, truss), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌱𐌿𐌽𐌳𐌹 (gabundi, bond). More at over, bundle.



bonnet (plural bonnets)

  1. A type of hat, once worn by women or children, held in place by ribbons tied under the chin.
    • 1936, Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind[1], page 529-530:
      In the hall, Scarlett saw a bonnet and put it on hurriedly, tying the ribbons under her chin. It was Melanie's black mourning bonnet and it did not fit Scarlett's head but she could not recall where she had put her own bonnet.
    • 2008, Russell H. Conwell, Robert Shackleton, Acres of Diamonds[2], page 37:
      “Now,” said he, “put such a bonnet as that in the show window.” He did not fill his show-window up town with a lot of hats and bonnets to drive people away, and then sit on the back stairs and bawl because people went to Wanamaker's to trade.
  2. A traditional Scottish woollen brimless cap; a bunnet.
    • 1817, Walter Scott, chapter 15, in Rob Roy[3], volume 2:
      A shock-head of red hair, which the hat and periwig of the Lowland costume had in a great measure concealed, was seen beneath the Highland bonnet, and verified the epithet of Roy, or Red, by which he was much better known in the Low Country than by any other, and is still, I suppose, best remembered.
  3. (by extension) The polishing head of a power buffer, often made of wool.
    • 2008, The Editors of Popular Mechanics, Popular Mechanics Complete Car Care Manual[4], page 297:
      Make sure that the power buffer's lamb's-wool bonnet is clean. Change or rinse the bonnet frequently to avoid scratching the finish. Use the bonnet as a mitten to buff in the crevices and other areas that the power buffer can't reach.
  4. (Australia, Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, automotive) The hinged cover over the engine of a motor car; a hood.
    • 2003, Jon McGregor, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things[5], page 189:
      The car is burgundy red, wide and elegant, ten years old but still the boys are impressed and they run to touch it, pressing sticky handprints against the polished bodywork and trying to climb up onto the bonnet.
    • 2004, David Spencer, quoted in Don Loffler, The FJ Holden: A Favourite Australian Car[6], page 217:
      People were reluctant to slam a bonnet shut in those days. One just did not slam bonnets and doors.
    • 2009, Ciaran Simms, Denis Wood, Pedestrian and Cyclist Impact: A Biomechanical Perspective[7], page 38:
      By about 20 ms, there is contact between the bonnet leading edge and the pedestrian upper leg/pelvis on the struck side, the severity of which depends on the vehicle shape.
    • 2009, Stefan Aust, Anthea Bell, Baader-Meinhof: the inside story of the R.A.F.[8], page 308:
      Stoll was still standing on the car bonnet with the catch of his large-calibre repeating rifle off.
  5. (nautical) A length of canvas attached to a fore-and-aft sail to increase the pulling power.
    • 1596, Thomas Masham, “The Third Voyage set forth by Sir Walter Ralegh to Guiana”, in Richard Hakluyt, editor, The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffics and Discoveries of the English Nation[9], volume 3, London, page 695:
      And standing along to the Westward, this night we tryed with our mayne coarse and bonnet. On Saturday night we came to an anker, in three fathomes against Sewramo.
  6. (obsolete, slang) An accomplice of a gambler, auctioneer, etc., who entices others to bet or to bid.
  7. The second stomach of a ruminant.
  8. Anything resembling a bonnet (hat) in shape or use.
    1. A small defence work at a salient angle; or a part of a parapet elevated to screen the other part from enfilade fire.
    2. A metallic canopy, or projection, over an opening, as a fireplace, or a cowl or hood to increase the draught of a chimney, etc.
    3. A frame of wire netting over a locomotive chimney, to prevent escape of sparks.
    4. A roofing over the cage of a mine, to protect its occupants from objects falling down the shaft.
    5. In pumps, a metal covering for the openings in the valve chambers.
    6. (mycology) A mushroom of the genus Mycena.


  • (Scottish brimless hat): tam o'shanter
  • (cover over the engine of a motor car): hood (US)

Derived terms[edit]



bonnet (third-person singular simple present bonnets, present participle bonneting, simple past and past participle bonneted)

  1. (transitive) To put a bonnet on.
  2. (obsolete) To take off the bonnet or cap as a mark of respect; to uncover.
    • c. 1607,, William Shakespeare, Coriolanus[10], Act 2, Scene 2:
      He hath deserved worthily of his country: and his ascent is not by such easy degrees as those who, having been supple and courteous to the people, bonneted, without any further deed to have them at all into their estimation and report:
  3. (dated, transitive) To pull the bonnet or cap down over the head of.
    • 1836, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers 43:
      ‘You’re a dutiful and affectionate little boy, you are, ain’t you,’ said Mr. Weller, ‘to come a–bonnetin’ your father in his old age?’

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for bonnet in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

See also[edit]




From Middle French bonet, from Old French bonet (material from which hats are made), from Frankish *bunni (that which is bound), from Proto-Germanic *bundiją (bundle), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰendʰ- (to tie). Compare also Late Latin abbonis, obbonis (ribbon of a headdress), also of Germanic origin, from Frankish *obbunni, from *ob- (above, over) + *bunni. Cognates: see above, English bonnet. More at over, bundle.



bonnet m (plural bonnets)

  1. beanie
  2. hat, cap
  3. bonnet (for baby)
  4. a knitted hat, usually woollen
  5. cup (of bra)


  • Portuguese: boné
  • Spanish: bonete

Further reading[edit]