Share this entry

black hat Syllabification: black hat

Definition of black hat in English:


1Used in reference to a bad person, especially a villain or criminal in a movie, novel, or play: we are the good guys—the black hats lost
More example sentences
  • "I want to see the white hats win and the black hats dangling from the end of a rope."
  • A cursory glance at the history of the conflict reveals it is not just the guys in the black hats who have found it useful.
  • This isn't an airport novel, with white hats and black hats, moral certitude and a nice conclusive ending.
1.1 Computing , informal A person who hacks into a computer network with malicious or criminal intent: black hats have a history of disassembling source code and looking for lapses
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The fact is, of course, that the computing world's black hat brigade don't give a monkey's what platform you're using.
  • According to security clearing house CERT, an exploit based on the vulnerability is yet to be used by black hats.


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

Definition of black hat in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources