Definition of hat in English:



  • 1A shaped covering for the head worn for warmth, as a fashion item, or as part of a uniform:

    ‘a black straw hat’
    ‘a woolly hat’
    • ‘We've all seen Beckham with his tea cosy version of the woolly hat and Victoria in her baseball cap.’
    • ‘The city look was updated with pinstripe suits worn with pork pie hats and maxi-length leather coats.’
    • ‘Church hats, straw hats or a colorful scarf tied around the head is very popular with the older crowd.’
    • ‘There were felt hats and straw hats, decorated with feathers and flowers, ribbon and lace.’
    • ‘This year's race on 2 November will be a day of hedonism and hats, of fashion shows and celebrities.’
    • ‘Raucous women of all ages, many of them wearing glittery cowboy hats, are screeching at each other loudly.’
    • ‘We walk away from the smattering of polo insiders wearing baseball caps and woolly hats, watching a practice game.’
    • ‘Dwarves, all wearing brightly coloured pointy hats, hurried pass on all manner of errands.’
    • ‘The original style V-neck T-shirt have sold out as have woolly and beanie hats.’
    • ‘Everybody is wearing cowboy hats, and it's hotter than it was in Texas when he left.’
    • ‘However, safari or straw hats also come to mind for the golfing and country club set.’
    • ‘Miss Sobania said on this occasion he wore a woolly hat instead of a helmet because it was cold.’
    • ‘The man was wearing a long black raincoat and a hat and his face was hidden as he struggled with the dog.’
    • ‘Straw hats vary in style, indicating either where the hat was made or where the wearer is from.’
    • ‘Behind the counter men in white kitchen uniforms with little paper hats prepared plates of burgers and fries.’
    • ‘The Stetson hats and baseball caps are whipped off when they begin with prayer.’
    • ‘His suits were put into storage, and on went the beanie hats and jeans.’
    • ‘They are both wearing Santa Claus hats, and they are out of their heads on Malibu.’
    • ‘Turn out your cupboard for old straw sunhats, berets, baseball caps and felt hats.’
    • ‘Staff and directors donned chef hats and aprons in the battle of the best cake.’
    1. 1.1 Used to refer to a particular role or occupation of someone who has more than one:
      ‘wearing her scientific hat she is director of a pharmacology research group’
      • ‘Life can be busy with many different roles and hats to put on and take off again.’
      • ‘A Toastmaster Wears Many Hats. The Toastmaster is the host of the day and conducts the meeting (with the exception of the business portion).’
      • ‘Wearing all her various hats and wearing them well, Paula certainly fits the Burton bill.’
      • ‘From his humble origins to the height of power, Merten was a man of many hats for all seasons- Financier, Adventurer, War Hero.’


  • be all hat and no cattle

    • informal Tend to talk boastfully without acting on one's words:

      ‘in my view, the Senators are all mouth and no action or, as we say in my part of the country, all hat and no cattle’
      • ‘Chappell thinks the NHS shouldn't be broken up, or even handed over to fast-talking private managers who may turn out to be all hat and no cattle.’
      • ‘Betraying all the latent suspicions and canny introspection of the Texas cattleman, they just wanted to know one thing: ‘Is he all hat and no cattle?’’
      • ‘But for all the shiny numbers Manning puts up there is still a slight sense that he is, as they say in Texas, all hat and no cattle.’
      • ‘It's all hat and no cattle, all buckle and no belt; or, as a noted English playwright once put it, ‘It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’’
      • ‘And when you run ads saying you are going to take care of Social Security, my friend, that's all hat and no cattle.’
      • ‘They're all hat and no cattle, a long run for a short slide.’
  • hat in hand

    • see omitted unresolving XREF to "cap in hand " at cap
      • ‘If I had approached James, hat in hand so to speak, and asked if he had talked with Murphy about that bill, what do you suppose he would have said?’
      • ‘Rather than go hat in hand to the state, it sought bankruptcy protection from producers and banks, to which it owes a total $19 billion.’
      • ‘We must go hat in hand to the UN and ask the world to repair the political catastrophe we've sown at its root.’
      • ‘We didn't go hat in hand, we were asked to take it.’
      • ‘And believe me, I went hat in hand to all of them.’
      • ‘Senator McCain doesn't want to be seen hat in hand with the president whose failed policies he promises to continue for another four years.’
      • ‘I went hat in hand and asked for your feedback on the hot young garage punk bands of 2003, and you, the readers, came out in force and told me.’
      • ‘The big three went hat in hand to Congress to stay afloat at least through March.’
      • ‘He has an approach that sounds like humble farmer with hat in hand.’
      • ‘The CEOs from Detroit's big three automakers go back before Congress today hat in hand.’
  • hats off to ——

    • Used to express admiration for someone who has done something praiseworthy:

      ‘hats off to them for agreeing to work for the day to raise money’
      • ‘Stuart Hornby hit the ball superbly and hats off to him.’
      • ‘But hats off to the lads - they've down a great job.’
      • ‘So hats off to my sister-in-law's brother who, when wished a happy 30th, instantly replied, ‘Don't be silly, I'm celebrating the first anniversary of my 29th birthday’.’
      • ‘It's an absolutely incredible amount, and we really have to take our hats off to them.’
      • ‘We must say hats off to the Evening Press though, as initiatives such as these are ones we had not thought of until the Press became involved.’
      • ‘If she and her boys can turn the younger music public onto something a little more challenging and less tedious then hats off to them.’
      • ‘‘It really is hats off to the fire brigade for mopping up so much so quickly,’ he said.’
      • ‘Firstly, hats off to me too for bravely not passing out.’
      • ‘Talking of which, free entry for kids under 16 to all enclosures on all three days is certainly good value, so hats off to marketing manager Carol Moore.’
      • ‘So hats off to the band for going ahead with the film - particularly as they come across not as the fearsome rock warriors of popular image but a bunch of self-regarding, touchy-feely sissies.’
  • keep something under one's hat

    • Keep something a secret:

      ‘keep it under your hat is the golden rule for top chefs when it comes to sharing culinary secrets’
      • ‘I know how to keep my politics under my hat for a dinner party.’
      • ‘The good folk of Harrogate would not want it shouting from their elegant Georgian rooftops, so keep it under your hat.’
      • ‘Here's a tip for Ascot, but keep it under your hat!’
      • ‘They've certainly kept this change under their hat.’
      • ‘At the moment it's all a bit hush-hush, so keep it under your hat.’
      • ‘Churchill replied: ‘I'll tell you a secret, but keep it under your hat.’’
      • ‘I've spoken with him myself on his motives for committing his crime, and while I agreed to keep his explanation under my hat, I firmly believe his actions were justified.’
      • ‘I've been keeping some exciting news under my hat for the past two weeks.’
      • ‘If you've got a good idea, keep it under your hat.’
      • ‘It was difficult for Weber to keep the discovery under his hat.’
      conceal, hide, cover up, disguise, dissemble, mask, veil
      keep secret, keep quiet about, keep dark, hush up, draw a veil over, sweep under the carpet, gloss over
      suppress, repress, bottle up, bury
      keep a lid on, keep the lid on
      View synonyms
  • pass the hat round (or north americanpass the hat)

    • Collect contributions of money from a number of people for a specific purpose:

      ‘we're going to pass the hat round later and buy some beer’
      • ‘Celebrities are for the most part airheads, true, but they're really good at passing the hat for lobbying funds.’
      • ‘We'll also be passing the hat for additional donations, so drink up and loosen your purse strings.’
      • ‘Corporates and individuals pitch in, passing the hat around, so that the target is met.’
      • ‘We'll also use the occasion to pass the hat around for a charity (to be confirmed) which is working on tsunami relief.’
      • ‘Or you can watch the show from any vantage point on the plaza and pay what you can when they pass the hat.’
      • ‘So the group passed the hat at school, asking the families of the 675 kids for donations, and raised another $14,000.’
      • ‘Some restaurants have plans to ignore the ban altogether and pass the hat around for the fines.’
      • ‘And in Richmond, organizers plan to pass the hat at parties and hold other fund-raisers for the US $1,000 or so needed to charter a bus.’
      • ‘After each performance, they pass the hat, collect what they can, and move on to the next village.’
      • ‘Of course, he left his unsuspecting assistant to pass the hat, and of course the money filled it to the brim.’
  • pick something out of a hat

    • Select something, especially the winner of a contest, at random:

      ‘he picked the victor out of a hat’
      • ‘It hardly seems fair to force people to pick a number out of a hat to justify a long-term strategic decision.’
      • ‘If two or more people suggested the chosen name, the winner will be picked out of a hat.’
      • ‘Did someone just pick a percentage out of a hat and declare it to be fair?’
      • ‘There is something liberating about going into a travel agent and saying that I want to go away in three days and just picking a hotel out of a hat.’
      • ‘Then tell them that after considerable thought, you've decided that the only way to make the call is to pick a name out of a hat and randomly choose a car to sell.’
      • ‘This is a case when the filmmakers couldn't have come up with worse choices if they had picked names out of a hat.’
      • ‘Two lucky volunteers' names were picked out of a hat to fill the two places allocated to some charities for a trip to London.’
      • ‘I think they must have just picked players out of a hat rather than a seeding system because later on I played people Michael would have easily beaten.’
      • ‘An inside source told me that candidates’ seating positions were chosen by picking numbers out of a hat.’
      • ‘Today, we will be picking names out of a hat for our partners with our next project.’
  • take one's hat off to

    • State one's admiration for (someone who has achieved something):

      ‘I take my hat off to anyone who makes it work’
      • ‘We've been working towards something special for the last five months, so you've got to take your hat off to these young fellas.’
      • ‘Supt Hitchborne added: ‘I take my hat off to the professionalism and commitment of the Army.’’
      • ‘But I take my hat off to Sundberg for getting the technology and the media attention.’
      • ‘I took my hat off to him for trying something like that.’
      • ‘I think for modern pop, you've go to take your hat off to the Spice Girls, they've all had to work very hard and they've done a great job.’
      • ‘Add to that the fact that he has recently had a heart attack and heart surgery and he's 59 and you certainly have to take your hat off to him.’
      • ‘I take my hat off to all the people who do the job for an entire season.’
      • ‘There are a lot of excellent farm shops in the region so I take my hat off to them as well.’
      • ‘Gatland added: ‘I think you've got to take your hat off to England, they came up with a fantastic performance.’’
      • ‘‘I take my hat off to all the participants,’ he said.’
      praise, pay tribute to, sing the praises of, speak highly of, express admiration of, commend, acclaim, applaud, salute, honour, show appreciation of, appreciate, recognize, acknowledge, give recognition to, show gratitude to, be grateful for, pay homage to, extol
      View synonyms
  • throw one's hat in (or into) the ring

    • Express willingness to take up a challenge:

      ‘he has resisted the temptation to throw his hat in the ring and do both jobs simultaneously’
      • ‘Last year he surprised many by throwing his hat in the ring to contest the chair against Queenan and came close to causing an upset.’
      • ‘Undeterred, Danesh threw his hat in the ring once more by entering the Pop Idol competition last autumn.’
      • ‘I sincerely hope that he throws his hat into the ring and if he does, I will support him.’
      • ‘Never being one to turn down a new challenge, Larry threw his hat into the ring as a candidate for the position, and he was hired for the job.’
      • ‘It's not at all clear to me that he can push these other contenders from the field simply by throwing his hat into the ring.’
      • ‘All will be revealed on Friday night September 17 when the two heavyweights as well as many more local protagonists will be throwing their hat into the ring and vying for the coveted title.’
      • ‘However he is not throwing his hat into the ring for the provincial vice chair.’
      • ‘It seems she is seriously considering throwing her hat in the ring.’
      • ‘But he made clear yesterday that he will not be throwing his hat in the ring.’
      • ‘Everyone is throwing their hat in the ring because this is the last chance to do a deal.’


Old English hætt, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse hǫttr hood, also to hood.