Some fun with old-fashioned hat terms – Part Two – Renaissance Europe to 1799

Some dark and unusual words come to light when looking back at the history of hats and headdresses. Having recently finished reading THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN (by Simon Winchester, HarperCollins 1998) about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, I thought it might be fun to explore the definitions and etymology of some of these ancient terms, most of which have all but it disappeared from modern usage. [I’ll breakup this project into three or four parts, so stay tuned.]

To qualify for inclusion below, the word must appear with a wavy red line in Microsoft Word’s “spell check” tool. So here it goes:


[Fr. ferronnière, a frontlet; a coronet worn on the forehead: after Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait La Belle Ferronnière.]

(See citation 1960.)

1840 THACKERAY in Fraser’s Mag. June 681/2 The sisters … with pink scarves … and brass ferronières … were voted very charming. 1908 HC SMITH Jewelry xx. 172 This headdress is known as a ferronière. 1960 H. HAYWARD Antique Coll. 117/1 Ferronière, a chain that is worn as an ornament that surrounds the head with a jewel in the center.



[a. F. bonne-grace ‘th’ vppermost flap of the down-hanging taile of a French-hood (whence belike our Boon-grace)’ Cotgr.; f. bonne good, grace grace.]

1. A curtain or curtain that was previously worn in the front of women’s hats or caps to protect the skin from the sun; an umbrella. (See citation 1617; the latter may therefore belong to 2.)

1530 PALSGR. 907 The grace of the bones, the mufflet. 1533 Pardoner & Fr. in Hazl. Dodsl. I. 203 His bongrace that he wore, with his French hood, When he always went out to sunbathe. 1595 R. WILSON Pedlar’s Proph. Bij, steaks and bungraces. 1604 DEKKER King’s Entert. 311 This blessing he made for the purpose of keeping his face away from heat. 1617 MORYSON Itin. III. IV. I. 170 A French shade of veluet to defend them from the Sunne, which our Gentlewomen of yore borrowed from the French, and called them Bonegraces, now totally out of vse with us. 1636 DAVENANT Plato. Lovers Wks. (1673) 411 If I had been old enough to wear a Bongrace.

FIG. 1609 HEYWOOD Brit. Troy VI. civ. 137 A grove through which the lake runs, making its arches a kindness of the sun.

2. A fitted wide-brimmed hat to shade the face. bow. u Obs.

1606 NETHERLANDS Sueton. 75 A wide-brimmed hat [marg. or Bond-grace = petasatus] Above his head. 1638 Songs Costume (1849) 140 Straw hats will be no more beautiful, From the bright sun to hide their faces. 1719 D’URFEY Pills (1872) IV. 107 Your Bongrace of wended straw. 1815 SCOTT Guy M. iii, an old-fashioned bonnet called bon-grace.

3. «Junk fenders; to bounce obstacles off the sides or bow of a ship. Smyth’s Sailor Word.


Obs. Exc. Hist.

[a. OF. huque, heuque a kind of cape with a hood; in med.L. huca (13th c. in Du Cange), MDu. hûke, hôike, heuke, Du. huik, MLG. hoike, LG. hoike, heuke, heike, hokke, hök, E.Fris. heike, heik’, haike, hoike. Ulterior origin obscure. See also HAIK1.]

A kind of cloak or cloak with a hood; ‘an outer garment or cloak worn by women and later by men; it was also later applied to a tight-fitting dress worn by both sexes (Fairholt costume).

1415 in Nicolas Test. Vetust. 187, I want all my hopolands [and] furless huykes, will be divided among the servants. 1418 EE Wills (1882) 37 Also a Hewk de grene and other melly parted ways. 1423 JAS. I Kingis Q. xlix, An huke sche had vpon hir tissew quhite. c1440 [see HAIK n.1]. a1529 SKELTON E. Rummyng 56 Su huke de Lyncole grene. 1530 PALSGR. 231/1 Hewke a garment for women, surquayne, froc. Ibid. 233/1 Huke. 1616 BULLOKAR, Huke, a Dutchman attracts the head, the face and the whole body. a1626 BACON New Atl. (1627) 24 A messenger, in a rich Huke. a1657 Poems of LOVELACE (1864) 210 As ladies in the land of Luyck, dress his eternal huyck. 1694 Dunton Ladies Dict. (N.), The German virgins … wear a simple or straight dress, as in some places they call huk. 1834 JR PLANCHÉ Brit. Costume 181. YONGE Cameos of 1852 CM (1877) II. xxxvi. 370 When he was not wearing armor, he wore a huque or tight tunic.

B. Applied to Arabic. haik: see HAIK2.

1630 J. TAYLOR (Water P.) Wks. (N.), The richest one comes out [of women] doe weare a huicke, which is a tunic of silver cloth or stucco, and the upper part is put together and planted in the form of an English potlid, with a tassel on the upper part. 1660 F. BROOKE tr. Trav de Le Blanc. 269 ​​(Cairo) [ladies] They all go as if they were masked and covered with a Huke that hides their faces.

Therefore, huke v. trans., cover with or as with a huke; veil, cloak.

1613 H. KING Halfe-pennyw. Wit (ed. 3) Ded. (N.), … I will throw over him a light veil of well-intentioned feigned stain, to mask him and mask him from public shame.


[f. LOVE n.1 + LOCK n.1]

A curl of a particular shape that the courtiers used in the time of Isabel and Jacobo I; later, any curl or strand of hair of a peculiar or striking character.

1592 LYLY Midas III. ii. 43 Haue … your loue-locke wrapped with a touch of silk, or shaggie to fall on your shoulders? 1628 PRYNNE (title) The Vnlovelinesse of Love ~ lockes. 1840 MARRYAT Poor Jack I, Lovelocks, as sailors call the curls at their temples. 1894 A. GRIFFITHS Secrets Prison Ho. II. IV. ii. 63 Bandoline, which he used to make love locks to adorn his forehead and temples.

transf. 1886 MAXWELL GRAY Silence Dean Maitland I. i. 12 each [cart-] The horse wore its mane in locks of love.


[Fr. fontange, f. Fontanges the territorial title of a mistress of Louis XIV.]

A tall headdress worn in the 17th and 18th centuries.

1689 SHADWELL Bury F. 11, What are you missing, ladies? fine mazarine hoods, fontanges, girdles. 1711 ADDISON Spect. No. 98 1 These old-fashioned Fontanges raised an Ell above the Head. 1883 FG STEPHENS Catal. Print Brit. Mus. IV. 282 An old and ugly one-eyed woman in a fountain.


[a. F. béguin child’s cap. See BEGUINE, note.]

1. Child’s cap.

1530 PALSGR. 198/1 Byggen for a chyldes, beguyne. 1532 MORE Confused. Tindale Wks. 577/2. 1639 MASSAGER Unnat. Combat IV. ii, would you make me transform my hat into double bangs and biggings? 1755 Connoisseur No. 80 (1774) III. 71 Such a warehouse of influences, caps … large … as you would establish a nursing home. 1819 SCOTT Ivanhoe xxviii, My brain has been upside down … ever since the biggin was first tied around my head.


[Said to be from the name of the 1st Earl Cadogan (died 1726). See Littré, and N. & Q. 7th Ser. IV. 467, 492.]

A way to tie the hair behind the head.

c1780 B’NESS D’OBERKIRCH Mem. (1852) II. IX, The Duchess of Bourbon had appeared at the court of Montbéliard.[the fashion] of cadogans, until now used only by gentlemen.


[a. F. toupet (tup ) tuft of hair, esp. over the forehead, deriv. (in form dim.) of OF. toup, top, tup, tuft of hair, foliage, etc.; ad. *LG. topp- = OHG. zopf top, tuft, summit; cf. OFris. top tuft, top, ONorse toppr top, tuft, lock of hair: see TOP n.1]

1. = TOUPEE.

1729 Art of Politicks 10 Do we believe that modern words are eternal? Toupet, and Tompion, Cosins and Colmar from now on will be called by a simple man Wig, Clock, Pair of rooms, Fan. 1818 SCOTT Rob Roy I saw, These fadeurs, that every gentleman with a toupee thinks he is obliged to recite to an unfortunate girl. 1863 Cornh. magazine VII. 395 Wigs are dangerous unless stated frankly. A toupet can easily escape detection.

B. transf. = TOUPEE b. Obs.

1728 FIELDING Love in Sev. Masques Epil., From you then the toupees awaits the defense. 1748 RICHARDSON Clarissa Wks. 1883 VII. 495 A pair of brocade or lace-up toupees on the waistcoat … with sour faces half lopsided.

2. The forelock of a horse or other animal (obs.); a thick hair (in quot., of a black).

1797 Sporting Mag. X. 295 The Mechón or Toupet, the part of the mane between the two ears. 1834 SOUTH Doctor iii. (1862) 5 Some of the Congolese people make a secret key ring out of their woolly toupee.

3. attrib., Such as toupet-coxcomb, -man, -wig; toupet-titmouse, the crested chickadee.

1731 FIELD Mod. Husb. I. IX, I don’t come across anything but a bundle of toupee combs, plastering their brains on their wigs. 1748 RICHARDSON Clarissa (1811) VII. saw. 35 No toupet-man mother; but all manly. a1784 PENNANT Arct. Zool. (1785) II. 423 Titmous. Toupet … long feathers on the head, occasionally erecting in a pointed crest, like a toupet. 1884 E. YACHTS Rec. & Exper. II. 238 A neatly groomed toupet-wig.

Hence touted nonce-wd. (you ptd, you pe d)

1903 Smart set IX. 2/53 We went in to dinner with the furry colonels.



[f. the name of the Austrian general, Andr. von Khevenhüller (1683-1744).]

For. attrib. Applied to a tall rooster given to a wide-brimmed hat worn in the middle of the s. XVIII. (see Fairholt’s Costume in English (1860) 299); hence also with hat. B. absolute A rooster of this form; a hat raised like this.

1746 Brit. Magazine 309 A lace-up hat pinched into what our Beaux have learned to call the Kevenhuller Rooster. 1750 COVENTRY Pompey Litt. II. iv. (1785) 58/1 Jockey boots, Khevenhullar hats, and coach whips. 1753 Proc. Common Sense Commission (Fairholt I. 377) Hasn’t the Dettingen rooster been forgotten? the noble Kevenhuller discouraged? 1762 Lond. Chron. XI. Chapter of Hats (Planchè), hats are now worn, on average, six inches and three fifths wide at the brim and are mounted between Quaker and Kevenhuller.


Now hist.


[Fr.; fem. of dormeur sleeper, applied to articles convenient for sleeping, f. dormir to sleep.]

1. A hood or nightcap. Obs.

1734 MRS. DELANY Life & Corr. (1861) I. 479, I have sent you … a dormeuse pattern. 1753 Let. Ms. Dewes in Life & Corr. 260 He still hadn’t been able to get his dormouse.

2. A travel car adapted for sleeping.

1808 M. WILMOT Jrnl. August 16 (1934) III. 363 We left in the Dormeuse 4 horses head-on and two before. 1825 VISC. S. DE REDCLIFFE in SL Poole Life (1888) I. 357 The two dark green carriages, a Dormeuse and a Britchka, that you saw … at Windsor. 1841 LYTTON Nt. And tomorrow. (1851) 216 A sleepyhead and four approached the door of the inn to change horses.

3. A kind of couch or couch.

1865 OUIDA Strathmore I. vi. 94 (Stanf.) He lay down in a bedroom in front of the fire.

Fred belinsky

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