Definition of bonnet in English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To heighten the tension, the Amish group is dressed in traditional attire that includes bonnets and suspenders.’
    • ‘They left after Geneva found her bonnet and tied the strings under her chin perfectly, and they both put on their coats.’
    • ‘Easter is next week and that means little kids in cute dresses and bonnets, not down jackets and knit caps.’
    • ‘From inside his coat he produced her bonnet, battered and dirty.’
    • ‘It was a straw bonnet with light blue lace ribbon around it.’
    • ‘Marietta slowly wrapped her light shawl around her shoulders, then tied on her bonnet, taking one last glance at Nathan.’
    • ‘Straw boaters, summer bonnets and picnic baskets will be the order of the day although limited refreshments will be provided at the venue.’
    • ‘Women's costumes in Normandy include white, flared bonnets and dresses with wide, elbow-length sleeves.’
    • ‘They often looked quite picturesque, the womenfolk in their bonnets and the men folk in their straw hats.’
    • ‘I began tying the bonnet ribbon under my chin as I made my way to her.’
    • ‘Large turquoise bonnets with tiny birds around the brim.’
    • ‘Dresses irked him, let alone such things as bonnets, gloves, and parasols.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pioneer women wore bonnets and gloves to keep their skin white while plowing the fields.’
    • ‘They had decided to revert to the old-style button-up tunics and bonnets.’
    1. 1.1A soft, round brimless hat like a beret, as worn by men and boys in Scotland.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After fierce fighting the Mahratta front line on the British left was broken by the 78th Highlanders, majestic giants in kilts and 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His bald head was currently covered with a bonnet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were Scotsmen in kilts, brandishing bayonets and wearing feathered bonnets.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then the royal procession, with Baroness Amos carrying the cap of maintenance, a sort of scarlet bonnet with red trim.’
    3. 1.3The ceremonial feathered headdress of an American Indian.
      • ‘I lived in Leicester, and when he came down that gangplank he was like 10 feet tall with this great war bonnet on.’
      • ‘A respected art dealer is busted for selling a Cheyenne war bonnet.’
      • ‘Troy made a fabulous war bonnet and reported on the Plains Indians replete with buffalo, tepee, and travois information.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He removes his war bonnet and plants his sword at the foot of the throne.’
  • 2British The hinged metal canopy covering the engine of a motor vehicle.

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Also called the bonnet, the chimney cap is the cornice at the top of the chimney.’
    • ‘Bonnet cowl with collar available with 75mm deep collar for ornamental chimney pots.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Another way to reduce sail is to build a sail with removable sections called bonnets and drabbiers.’
    • ‘When you shortened sail, you began by lowering the yard a bit, removing a bonnet, and re-reeving tacks and sheets.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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.