Definition of bonnet in English:



  • 1A woman's or child's hat tied under the chin and with a brim framing the face.

    • ‘She had many bonnets, but the new style was a small hat that did nothing to shade the sun from your eyes but tied underneath your chin with beautiful silk strings.’
    • ‘Men often dressed in baggy black pants and wide-brimmed hats, while women wore voluminous black dresses, embroidered bodices, and lace bonnets.’
    • ‘Dresses irked him, let alone such things as bonnets, gloves, and parasols.’
    • ‘Women's costumes in Normandy include white, flared bonnets and dresses with wide, elbow-length sleeves.’
    • ‘It was a straw bonnet with light blue lace ribbon around it.’
    • ‘I began tying the bonnet ribbon under my chin as I made my way to her.’
    • ‘They had decided to revert to the old-style button-up tunics and bonnets.’
    • ‘One was for prominent Bollywood directors, the other was for the Jane Austen society who turned up to the screening in Bath dressed in bonnets and top hats.’
    • ‘Straw boaters, summer bonnets and picnic baskets will be the order of the day although limited refreshments will be provided at the venue.’
    • ‘Large turquoise bonnets with tiny birds around the brim.’
    • ‘Marietta slowly wrapped her light shawl around her shoulders, then tied on her bonnet, taking one last glance at Nathan.’
    • ‘Her curly blonde hair was pulled into a tight bun atop her head, and she was wearing a white bonnet that matched her black maids' frock and white apron.’
    • ‘From inside his coat he produced her bonnet, battered and dirty.’
    • ‘They left after Geneva found her bonnet and tied the strings under her chin perfectly, and they both put on their coats.’
    • ‘They often looked quite picturesque, the womenfolk in their bonnets and the men folk in their straw hats.’
    • ‘Easter is next week and that means little kids in cute dresses and bonnets, not down jackets and knit caps.’
    • ‘She was a beautiful woman, her skin was fair and pale and her chestnut brown hair was soft a silky in the sun when she took her bonnet off.’
    • ‘Pioneer women wore bonnets and gloves to keep their skin white while plowing the fields.’
    • ‘A plump woman in a black dress with a white bonnet and apron had come out of the parlor, a feather duster in her hand.’
    • ‘To heighten the tension, the Amish group is dressed in traditional attire that includes bonnets and suspenders.’
    1. 1.1 A soft, round brimless hat like a beret, as worn by men and boys in Scotland.
      • ‘Gurkhas and Scots Highlanders have always had a close mutual affinity and the Gurkha bagpipe and diced bonnet are directly drawn from those of their comrades.’
      • ‘His bald head was currently covered with a bonnet.’
      • ‘They were Scotsmen in kilts, brandishing bayonets and wearing feathered bonnets.’
      • ‘And while these elderly gents may look faintly ridiculous when they troop out in their finery of tartan trews, Lincoln green tunics and feathered bonnets they are all serious people.’
      • ‘After fierce fighting the Mahratta front line on the British left was broken by the 78th Highlanders, majestic giants in kilts and feathered bonnets.’
      • ‘As he walks up the final fairway, waving a new tartan bonnet, the crowd rise in tribute to a great champion.’
      • ‘Hard to miss, especially as they turned out in full dress uniform with plaids and feather bonnets on what turned out to be a warm day.’
      • ‘Armed to the teeth and clad in kilt, tartan hose and bonnet, he looks every inch the clan chieftain.’
      • ‘He is depicted clothed in this painting, wearing a feathered bonnet, and again confronts the viewer directly.’
    2. 1.2Heraldry The velvet cap within a coronet.
      • ‘Hanover became a kingdom in 1816, and the bonnet was replaced by a German royal crown.’
      • ‘Then the royal procession, with Baroness Amos carrying the cap of maintenance, a sort of scarlet bonnet with red trim.’
      • ‘The Knights and Ladies of the Garter were dressed in dark blue velvet robes, red velvet hoods, and black velvet bonnets topped with swaying ostrich plumes.’
    3. 1.3 The ceremonial feathered headdress of an American Indian.
      • ‘A respected art dealer is busted for selling a Cheyenne war bonnet.’
      • ‘I lived in Leicester, and when he came down that gangplank he was like 10 feet tall with this great war bonnet on.’
      • ‘Troy made a fabulous war bonnet and reported on the Plains Indians replete with buffalo, tepee, and travois information.’
      • ‘He removes his war bonnet and plants his sword at the foot of the throne.’
      • ‘To represent the Illini with a Plains Indian war bonnet, and to dress the mascot in the military regalia of a Sioux warrior, is therefore totally inaccurate.’
  • 2British The hinged metal canopy covering the engine of a motor vehicle.

    • ‘On his arrival the criminals turned their guns on him, shooting his police car three times - damaging his vehicle bonnet, windshield and engine.’
    • ‘The tires are brown, there's pretty arcing streaks along the car, in fetching pale beige, and blackened handprints round the bonnet and door handle.’
    • ‘Most obvious changes are at the front end in the bonnet and front bumper and at the back where a new lamp design has been added.’
    • ‘It certainly is ‘retro’ with the long bonnet, side scoops, round headlights, aggressive nose and the galloping horse insignia.’
    • ‘Underneath the bonnet stretching out in front is Jaguar's lovely V8.’
    • ‘Rising over the bonnet and windscreen, the airflow is smooth.’
    • ‘There's a round thing that fits in a hole to close the bonnet, and it's been jammed down very, very securely.’
    • ‘Progress was slow - is there really a 2-litre engine under the bonnet?’
    • ‘And while it is easy to forget what lies under the bonnet, the engine will not object to a polish and shine as well.’
    • ‘The front bonnet affords extra crumple space in the event of an accident, and both driver and passenger airbags are standard.’
    • ‘The designers have also given the Ranger a new bonnet, grille, bumper and headlamps.’
    • ‘Car manufacturers are packing ever-more technology into the dashboard and under the bonnet of vehicles.’
    • ‘As one of the thieves drove their car straight at him, he jumped on to the bonnet and smashed the windscreen with his elbow.’
    • ‘The Hillman name appeared on the front of the bonnet and the headlight surrounds were painted rather than chromed.’
    • ‘When the woman turned the car round in the road she threw herself on the bonnet.’
    • ‘The woman tried to drive off, but Gatty jumped on the bonnet and kicked the windscreen, smashing it.’
    • ‘Legislation is going to demand that the front of a car must absorb up to 700 Joules of impact energy on the front edge of the bonnet.’
    • ‘Will frowned and opened his door, coming round the car and pulling me up off the bonnet.’
    • ‘The compact, boxy design was very forward looking in its day and is still very striking now, with its dramatic overhanging bonnet and cute round tail-lights.’
    • ‘Most importantly, the cars may look old, but purring under the bonnet are state-of-the-art Ford engines.’
    tip, nose cone
    View synonyms
  • 3A cowl on a chimney.

    • ‘Also called the bonnet, the chimney cap is the cornice at the top of the chimney.’
    • ‘The insert on the top is often called the Hood or bonnet top, and is frequently incorrectly mistaken as a terminal that can be used with a live flue.’
    • ‘This is a method and apparatus for providing a flashing system for a chimney-bonnet positioned on a chimney of a building structure.’
    • ‘Bonnet cowl with collar available with 75mm deep collar for ornamental chimney pots.’
    • ‘Should I not have the Chimney Cowl in stock I will put on the Mesh Bonnet Cowl (pictured above right), these both cost the same to supply and fit.’
  • 4Sailing
    historical An additional canvas laced to the foot of a sail to catch more wind.

    • ‘When a greater spread of sail was required, a piece called a bonnet was added to the foot of the sail, and a further piece called a drabbler could be added to that.’
    • ‘Seventeenth century square riggers often had a bonnet - an additional horizontal panel of sail-that could be laced to the main, giving it some flexibility.’
    • ‘For fine weather sailing one or two ‘bonnets’ are added to the foot of the sail; we sailed with one bonnet of 210 sqft added to the main.’
    • ‘When you shortened sail, you began by lowering the yard a bit, removing a bonnet, and re-reeving tacks and sheets.’
    • ‘Another way to reduce sail is to build a sail with removable sections called bonnets and drabbiers.’


Late Middle English (denoting a soft brimless hat for men): from Old French bonet, from medieval Latin abonnis headgear. bonnet dates from the late 15th century.