One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A square cap with three flat projections on top, worn by Roman Catholic clergymen.
- ‘In the present restorationist situation in the church, many leaders are satisfied with the middle-aged vocation with a biretta on his head, an ample cassock, and a conviction that he must teach the laity to obey him.’
- ‘He peered inside through a cracked board and saw two men, birettas in hand.’
- ‘Cardinal Cormac Murphy - O'Connor's new biretta became a beretta in a caption to a photograph of the papal kiss, page 14, yesterday.’
- ‘The young kneeling, tonsured figure on the right appears to be a high-ranking ecclesiastic - a canon or dean - whose biretta rests at Christ's bound feet.’
- ‘Mitres to the left, birettas to the right; it's been a faith-filled, polarising Easter.’
- ‘The dream of a better, kinder nation has gone with the wave of a biretta.’
- ‘The Catholic community knows too that if the Pope decides to appoint a Scottish Cardinal, the biretta is more likely to return to the west.’
- ‘The moirée silk of the cassock, the cappa magna and the biretta was of a pale rose color.’
- ‘Part of the pathos of Durcan's Richelieu lies in his obsessive awareness that if he ‘drops’ the talismanic biretta / crown, the game will be up and the show will be over.’
- ‘As they relax in Rome this weekend, the men are all too aware that only one of them will go on to wear the red biretta and shape the agenda of the powerful Scottish Catholic church for a new century.’
- ‘Yet, when O'Brien steps forward to receive his red biretta at the consistory - the installation ceremony - in Rome on October 21, he will do so knowing his appointment was not universally endorsed by the 750,000 Catholics he now leads.’
- ‘With his sly wit, Avery Dulles made a more elfin impression - especially when his biretta fell off his head into the pope's lap.’
- ‘In confusion, Paul VI perched the wrong birettas on the wrong heads: the American Lawrence Sheehan's large biretta landed on Dante's small Italian head, hanging down over his ears.’
Late 16th century: from Italian berretta or Spanish birreta, based on late Latin birrus ‘hooded cape’. Compare with beret.
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