Definition of bonnet in English:



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

    • ‘It was a straw bonnet with light blue lace ribbon around it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I began tying the bonnet ribbon under my chin as I made my way to her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They often looked quite picturesque, the womenfolk in their bonnets and the men folk in their straw hats.’
    • ‘From inside his coat he produced her bonnet, battered and dirty.’
    • ‘Easter is next week and that means little kids in cute dresses and bonnets, not down jackets and knit caps.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pioneer women wore bonnets and gloves to keep their skin white while plowing the fields.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Men often dressed in baggy black pants and wide-brimmed hats, while women wore voluminous black dresses, embroidered bodices, and lace bonnets.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To heighten the tension, the Amish group is dressed in traditional attire that includes bonnets and suspenders.’
    • ‘Dresses irked him, let alone such things as bonnets, gloves, and parasols.’
    • ‘They left after Geneva found her bonnet and tied the strings under her chin perfectly, and they both put on their coats.’
    • ‘They had decided to revert to the old-style button-up tunics and bonnets.’
    1. 1.1 A soft, round brimless hat like a beret, as worn by men and boys in Scotland.
      • ‘They were Scotsmen in kilts, brandishing bayonets and wearing feathered bonnets.’
      • ‘Armed to the teeth and clad in kilt, tartan hose and bonnet, he looks every inch the clan chieftain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He is depicted clothed in this painting, wearing a feathered bonnet, and again confronts the viewer directly.’
      • ‘As he walks up the final fairway, waving a new tartan bonnet, the crowd rise in tribute to a great champion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His bald head was currently covered with a bonnet.’
      • ‘After fierce fighting the Mahratta front line on the British left was broken by the 78th Highlanders, majestic giants in kilts and feathered bonnets.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2Heraldry The velvet cap within a coronet.
      • ‘Then the royal procession, with Baroness Amos carrying the cap of maintenance, a sort of scarlet bonnet with red trim.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 The ceremonial feathered headdress of an American Indian.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I lived in Leicester, and when he came down that gangplank he was like 10 feet tall with this great war bonnet on.’
  • 2British The hood of an automobile.

    • ‘On top of that goes a neat Jaguar-style rear and front grille along with some familiar Ford door and bonnet styling.’
    • ‘Progress was slow - is there really a 2-litre engine under the bonnet?’
    • ‘There is nothing he loves more than opening the bonnet of his Vauxhall Nova and getting his hands covered in oil.’
    • ‘I've got substantial front-end damage - bumper, bonnet, cross-member and sill.’
    • ‘Sold only in Britain, it's styled to look like the flagship model, but under the bonnet you get a diesel engine that makes the sounds of the canal when you start it up.’
    • ‘It had doors, bonnet, boot lid, seats and all manner of bits and bobs from other Avengers.’
    • ‘It certainly is ‘retro’ with the long bonnet, side scoops, round headlights, aggressive nose and the galloping horse insignia.’
    • ‘They removed the bonnet and the air filter but took nothing else.’
    • ‘A family who left their £23,000 car with an airport parking firm while they went on holiday returned to find it caked in mud and the doors and bonnet damaged.’
    • ‘It drives really well, and it was surprisingly easy to manoeuvre, bearing in mind that long bonnet.’
    • ‘Car manufacturers are packing ever-more technology into the dashboard and under the bonnet of vehicles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The designers have also given the Ranger a new bonnet, grille, bumper and headlamps.’
    • ‘Every time he reverses he crushes someone's bonnet.’
    • ‘The officer suffered a serious head wound when she was thrown from the car's bonnet while trying to stop it leaving the car park.’
    • ‘There's a round thing that fits in a hole to close the bonnet, and it's been jammed down very, very securely.’
    • ‘Will frowned and opened his door, coming round the car and pulling me up off the bonnet.’
    • ‘People shouted a warning to the 26-year-old, but he was unable to get out the way and was thrown over the car's bonnet, landing on the road.’
    • ‘Have a good fiddle with the doors, boot, bonnet and windows to make sure they all work as they should.’
    • ‘The woman tried to drive off, but Gatty jumped on the bonnet and kicked the windscreen, smashing it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Underneath the bonnet stretching out in front is Jaguar's lovely V8.’
    • ‘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 combination of the view over the long curvaceous bonnet coupled with the chunky gearbox gives a false impression of size.’
    • ‘He got out of his car to chase after the youths and met another driver whose car bonnet had been bit by a brick.’
    • ‘When the woman turned the car round in the road she threw herself on the bonnet.’
    • ‘The Saxo should be well behaved around town as long as you remember that there is a lot of power under that sleek bonnet.’
    • ‘The sleek looks of that sweeping bonnet with the racing style grille together with the rear spoiler just say ‘racing machine’ to me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Collard's race effectively ended, however, when his car's bonnet dramatically flew up into its windscreen and he was forced to pit for repairs.’
    • ‘I particularly like the reflections of the sky and the traffic lights in the car's bonnet.’
    • ‘Most importantly, the cars may look old, but purring under the bonnet are state-of-the-art Ford engines.’
    • ‘The Hillman name appeared on the front of the bonnet and the headlight surrounds were painted rather than chromed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He suffered severe bruising and cuts to his arm and face and more than £1,000 worth of damage to his car - mainly to the windows and bonnet.’
    • ‘As one of the thieves drove their car straight at him, he jumped on to the bonnet and smashed the windscreen with his elbow.’
    • ‘Even with its long saloon body and big proud bonnet, this car feels and reacts like a sports car.’
    • ‘The front bonnet affords extra crumple space in the event of an accident, and both driver and passenger airbags are standard.’
    • ‘Rising over the bonnet and windscreen, the airflow is smooth.’
    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.’
    • ‘Bonnet cowl with collar available with 75mm deep collar for ornamental chimney pots.’
    • ‘This is a method and apparatus for providing a flashing system for a chimney-bonnet positioned on a chimney of a building structure.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


Late Middle English (denoting a soft brimless hat for men): from Old French bonet, from medieval Latin abonnis ‘headgear’. bonnet (sense 1) dates from the late 15th century.