Definition of hat in English:


Syllabification: hat


1A shaped covering for the head worn for warmth, as a fashion item, or as part of a uniform.
More example sentences
  • We walk away from the smattering of polo insiders wearing baseball caps and woolly hats, watching a practice game.
  • Turn out your cupboard for old straw sunhats, berets, baseball caps and felt hats.
  • There were felt hats and straw hats, decorated with feathers and flowers, ribbon and lace.
1.1Used 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
More example sentences
  • Life can be busy with many different roles and hats to put on and take off again.
  • Wearing all her various hats and wearing them well, Paula certainly fits the Burton bill.
  • A Toastmaster Wears Many Hats. The Toastmaster is the host of the day and conducts the meeting (with the exception of the business portion).


Old English hætt, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse hǫttr 'hood', also to hood1.


be all hat and no cattle

US informal Tend to talk boastfully without acting on one’s words.
More example sentences
  • They're all hat and no cattle, a long run for a short slide.
  • And when you run ads saying you are going to take care of Social Security, my friend, that's 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.’

hat in hand

Used to indicate an attitude of humility: standing on the stoop of his ex-wife’s house, hat in hand
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • We didn't go hat in hand, we were asked to take it.

keep something under one's hat

Keep something a secret.
More example sentences
  • Churchill replied: ‘I'll tell you a secret, but keep it under your hat.’
  • They've certainly kept this change under their hat.
  • I know how to keep my politics under my hat for a dinner party.

pass the hat

Collect contributions of money from a number of people for a specific purpose.
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • We'll also be passing the hat for additional donations, so drink up and loosen your purse strings.

pick something out of a hat

Select something, especially the winner of a contest, at random.
More example sentences
  • If two or more people suggested the chosen name, the winner will be picked 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.
  • An inside source told me that candidates’ seating positions were chosen by picking numbers out of a hat.

take one's hat off to (or hats off to)

Used to state one’s admiration for (someone who has done something praiseworthy): I take my hat off to anyone who makes it work hats off to emergency services for prompt work in the wake of the storms
More example sentences
  • I take my hat off to all the people who do the job for an entire season.
  • ‘I take my hat off to all the participants,’ he said.
  • I took my hat off to him for trying something like that.

talk through one's hat

see talk.

throw one's hat in (or into) the ring

Express willingness to take up a challenge, especially to enter a political race.
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /-ˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural hatfuls)
More example sentences
  • I know now that I don't have to take hatfuls of wickets to impress.
  • He was about nineteen feet tall and scored hatfuls of goals as a result, all of them headers.
  • To a large extent, Ireland were masters of their own downfall, making countless errors and conceding a hatful of penalties.


More example sentences
  • The man came out of the darkness, impeccable as always in his well-styled coat - hatless this time, he noted, in spite of the wind.
  • Until the 1950s, many women would go hatless in their own quartier, something they would not do if they were to go beyond its informal limits.
  • It was very hot in the Brazilian sun on a hatless balding head.


[in combination]: a white-hatted cowboy
More example sentences
  • Oh, this fills my head with such wonderful images of respectable, gloved, hatted ladies exchanging filthy pictures over supper.
  • She smiled, thinking of the hard hatted woman who must have written it there.
  • Such sea changes in men's attire invariably occur with a nod or a frown from a head of state, whether hatted or not.

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Word of the day retroflex
Pronunciation: ˈrɛtrə(ʊ)flɛks
turned backwards