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Woman in a Flowered Hat (1889), by Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Straw hat with brim decorated with cloth flowers and ribbons

A hat is a headcovering. It may be worn for protection against the elements, for religious reasons, for safety or as a fashion accessory. Hats were once an indicator of social status. In the military, they denote rank and regiment.


  • ABACOT, n. A cap of state wrought into the shape of two crowns, formerly worn by kings. Very pretty monarchs had it made in the form of three crowns.
    • Ambrose Bierce, "Forma pauperis", The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Have you noticed when you wear a hat for a long time it feels like it's not there anymore? And then when you take it off it feels like it's still there?
  • A hat should be taken off when greeting a lady, and left off the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat.
    • P. J. O'Rourke, Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People (1983), Ch. 3.
  • He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the next block.
  • ———“Are we not here now;”—continued the corporal, “and are we not”—(dropping his hat plumb upon the ground—and pausing, before he pronounced the word)——“gone! in a moment?” The descent of the hat was as if a heavy lump of clay had been kneaded into the crown of it.——Nothing could have expressed the sentiment of mortality, of which it was the type and fore-runner, like it,—his hand seemed to vanish from under it,—it fell dead,—the corporal’s eye fix’d upon it, as upon a corps,—and Susannah burst into a flood of tears. Now—Ten thousand, and ten thousand times ten thousand (for matter and motion are infinite) are the ways by which a hat may be dropped upon the ground, without any effect.——Had he flung it, or thrown it, or cast it, or skimmed it, or squirted, or let it slip or fall in any possible direction under heaven,—or in the best direction that could be given to it,—had he dropped it like a goose—like a puppy—like an ass—or in doing it, or even after he had done, had he looked like a fool,—like a ninny—like a nicompoop—it had fail’d, and the effect upon the heart had been lost. Ye who govern this mighty world and its mighty concerns with the engines of eloquence,—who heat it, and cool it, and melt it, and mollify it,——and then harden it again to your purpose—— Ye who wind and turn the passions with this great windlass,— and, having done it, lead the owners of them, whither ye think meet— Ye, lastly, who drive——and why not, Ye also who are driven, like turkeys to market, with a stick and a red clout—meditate—meditate, I beseech you, upon Trim’s hat.


  • Oh, Hat that cows the spirit!
    ...If any spirit be...
    First cousin to the Black Cap
    And sign of slavery!
    Funereal and horrible...
    But this at least I owe it;
    It matches to a nicety
    The Face that Sits Below It!.
    • Mervyn Peake, Ode to a Bowler, in Complete Nonsense (2011), p.30

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 355.
  • "Sye," he seyd, "be the same hatte
    I can knowe yf my wyfe be badde
    To me by eny other man;
    If my floures ouver fade or falle,
    Then doth my wyfe me wrong wyth alle
    As many a woman can."
  • So Britain's monarch once uncovered sat,
    While Bradshaw bullied in a broad-brimmed hat.
  • A hat not much the worse for wear.
  • My new straw hat that's trimly lin'd with green,
    Let Peggy wear.
    • John Gay, Shepherd's Week, Friday, line 125.
  • I know it is a sin
    For me to sit and grin
    At him here;
    But the old three-cornered hat
    And the breeches and all that
    Are so queer.
  • The Quaker loves an ample brim,
    A hat that bows to no Salaam;
    And dear the beaver is to him
    As if it never made a dam.
  • A sermon on a hat: "'The hat, my boy, the hat, whatever it may be, is in itself nothing—makes nothing, goes for nothing; but, be sure of it, everything in life depends upon the cock of the hat.' For how many men—we put it to your own experience, reader—have made their way through the thronging crowds that beset fortune, not by the innate worth and excellence of their hats, but simply, as Sampson Piebald has it, by 'the cock of their hats'? The cock's all."
  • I never saw so many shocking bad hats in my life.
    • Attributed to Duke of Wellington, upon seeing the first Reformed Parliament. Sir William Fraser, in Words on Wellington (1889), p. 12, claims it for the Duke. Captain Gronow, in his Recollections, accredits it to the Duke of York, second son of George III., about 1817.
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