Definition of white hat in US English:

white hat


  • 1Used in reference to a good or moral person, especially the hero in a movie, novel, or play.

    as modifier ‘the two central characters are a cop and a gangster, but don't expect a simple black-hat/white-hat duality’
    • ‘Is this a serious cowboy movie or a commentary on cowboy movies and their inane black hat / white hat ethics?’
    • ‘The cowboy (in white hat, of course) always showed that good triumphed over evil and I truly believe that youngsters subconsciously absorbed the moral force for good inherent in the stories.’
    • ‘Characterization is accepted, not elaborated upon and the result is a film filled only with archetypes, black hats, and white hats.’
    • ‘But we, the journalists, are supposed to be wearing the white hats in our run-ins with the corporate culture, aren't we?’
    • ‘Some of my readers still want good guys and bad guys, white hats and black hats.’
    • ‘The lines between good and bad cease to exist as the white hats do terrible things for the best of reasons.’
    • ‘The San Francisco clothing company is widely admired as a ‘white hat’ among multinationals.’
    • ‘One of the reasons we watch movies is to escape from real life into a world where the good guys in the white hats win in the end, where the guy gets the girl.’
    • ‘Here, no one gets to wear the white hat, no one rides contentedly into the sunset, and the loose ends are left satisfyingly unknotted.’
    • ‘Although I love Dead Man, it's not a Western for those looking for men in white hats riding off to save the town.’
    • ‘There is a lot more to this picture than the good guys wearing white hats’
    • ‘This isn't an airport novel with white hats and black hats, moral certitude and a nice conclusive ending.’
    • ‘As with many Leonard novels, there are no distinctly black or white hats to distinguish the bad guys from the good.’
    • ‘A part of me is actually rooting for the men in white hats to come riding in and save the day.’
    • ‘Too often a film will decide who wears the white hat and leave obvious clues to make sure you know what they think you should think.’
    • ‘In the supposedly witty world of Anarchy TV, there are white hats and the standard, cliched black ones.’
    • ‘The Furies is not a Western where men in white hats face off men in black hats on the town square at noon.’
    • ‘By this time, the days of good guys in white hats and the cavalry riding to the rescue in the nick of time had long since vanished, so imagine everyone's surprise when someone actually made a good-hearted western.’
    1. 1.1Computing informal A person who hacks into a computer network in order to test or evaluate its security systems.
      ‘while security dudes tend to speak in terms of black or white hats, it seems to me that nearly all hats are in varying shades of grey’
      • ‘If they do this with full knowledge and authorization of the affected company, they are white hats; if they criminally exploit the vulnerabilities, they are black hats.’
      • ‘But while it's easy for hackers to detect, it's also easy to fix - and there are more white hats than black.’
      • ‘If convicted, they should not be allowed to go back into the business as a white hat hacker.’
      • ‘A white hat hacker has demonstrated an ingenious way of intercepting cellphone calls.’
      • ‘Among geeks he'd be called a "white hat" hacker - the kind who tinkers with machines out of a desire to learn and explore.’
      • ‘This week's hackers were believed to be government sponsored, which would explain the high-level expertise these white hats showed.’
      • ‘Businesses with trade secret sensitivities might want to consider less formal protection strategies such as white hat hackers.’
      • ‘Exploitation of the latest flaw is straightforward, according to Polish white hat hackers iSec, which unearthed both problems.’
      • ‘It's operated on the belief that the white hats can be spotted by their exemplary policies and programs and sustainability reports.’
      • ‘Once, there were "black hat" hackers and "white hat" hackers - bad guys who broke into computers to wreak havoc, and good guys who tried to find and plug loopholes.’
      brave man, champion, man of courage, great man, man of the hour, conquering hero, victor, winner, conqueror, lionheart, warrior, paladin, knight
      View synonyms


1950s: from the color of the hat traditionally worn by the good character in westerns. Compare with black hat.