Some Fun with Antiquated Hat Terms – Part Three- 1800 – 1900

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I have uncovered some obscure and unusual words while looking back at the history of hats and headdress. Having recently finished reading THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN (by Simon Winchester, HarperCollins 1998) about the making 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 disappeared from modern use. [I’ll breakup this project into three or four parts, so stay tuned.]

To qualify for inclusion below, the word must show up with a squiggly red line at Microsoft Word’s “spell check” tool. So here goes:
[Note: As I move into part three of this project, terms become less lost in antiquity. I have included a few words, albeit rarely used today that did show up “spell check”.]

Poke Bonnet

Now hist.

1. A bonnet with a projecting brim, fashionable esp. in the 19th cent.

1801 C. DIBDIN Song Smith in Mirth & Metre (1807) 62, I’ll hammer out songs by the staves if you please, Short as new-fashion’d sight, or as long as poke bonnets. 1820 F. MACDONOGH Hermit in London V. xcii. 35 Another street nuisance is your poke-bonnet ladies, who sometimes put out your eyes with these pent-house projections. 1837 E. BULWER-LYTTON Ernest Maltravers II. IV. vi. 67 A few ladies of middle age..wear..straw poke bonnets. 1858 R. S. SURTEES Ask Mamma ix, [A] lady..painted in one of the old poke bonnets of former days. 1884 Cent. Mag. 28 14 Eight or nine ladies, gentlemen, and children, in the poke-bonnets and high-collared coats of the year 1839. 1913 W. CATHER O Pioneers! I. i. 12 This city child was dressed in what was then called the ‘Kate Greenaway’ manner,..her poke bonnet, gave her the look of a quaint little woman. 1984 P. ALLEN Old Galleries of Cumbria (BNC) 18 Married women wore a cap, a blue linen apron.., neb shaped clogs with buckled shoes for better wear, a poke bonnet and cloak for outer wear.

2. spec. A bonnet of this kind traditionally worn by women members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the Salvation Army, etc. Hence: a wearer of this kind of bonnet.

1848 J. R. BARTLETT Dict. Americanisms s.v., Poke-bonnet, a long, straight bonnet, much worn by Quakers and Methodists. 1862 H. MARRYAT One Year in Sweden II. lvi. 264 We dined at a farmhouse.., the property of Anabaptists, a sect most numerous in Götland. There’s no mistaking the women by their downcast looks and black poke-bonnets. 1877 Sat. Rev. 12 May 577/2 At Croydon, Dorking, and other favourite haunts of Friends, the..broad-brimmed hats for the men, and close poke-bonnets for the women, may still be seen. 1899 St. James’ Gaz. 17 Aug. 11/2 Never reached by the Church,..or any other spiritual organisations, except possibly the ‘poke bonnets’ at the corners of the streets. 1902 E. BANKS Autobiogr. Newspaper Girl 107 The poke bonnet and dark blue dress, which I thought I would not get until I had spent a few days investigating what was the best way to join the Army. 1945 Musical Q. 31 276 Amish women are easily identified by their poke bonnets, shawls, and a complete absence of ornament in their attire. 2000 Sunday Herald (Glasgow) (Nexis) 14 May 36 A Pennsylvania Amish in a poke bonnet goes next, happy as a bug.


f. Gibus the name of the first maker.]

An opera or crush hat. Also gibus-hat.

1848 THACKERAY Bk. Snobs xviii, With his gibus-hat and his little glazed pumps. a1854 E. FORBES Lit. Papers viii. (1855) 214 No man in a gibus ever commanded public awe or private respect. 1888 Daily Tel. 28 Apr. 5/2 The collapsible crush hat or Gibus.

[Note from Belinsky: Today a Gibus is more commonly known as a “Collapsible Top Hat”.]

Riding Casquette

[Fr.; fem. of casquet, dim. of casque CASQUE.]

A head dress resembling a casque.

1840 L. S. COSTELLO Summ. amongst Bocages II. 206 His long tresses were confined by an eastern-looking casquette.

[a. F. casque, ad. Sp. casco in same sense: see CASK n.]

1. A piece of armour to cover the head; a helmet. A term applied very loosely to all kinds of military head-pieces, and now only historical, poetical, or foreign. Formerly written CASK.

1580-1649 [see CASK n. 4]. 1696 PHILLIPS, Casque, a helmet. 1714 GAY Trivia III. 363 The fireman sweats beneath his crooked arms, A leathern casque his vent’rous head defends. 1791 COWPER Iliad III. 375 They shook them in a brazen casque. 1842 TENNYSON Galahad 1 My good blade carves the casques of men. 1877 Daily News 24 Dec. 5/4 The mitre-like casques of the Pauloff Guard regiment.

Manier Bandeau

[Fr.: OF. bandel, dim. form from bande BAND n.2; cf. BANDORE2.]

a. A narrow band or fillet worn by women to bind the hair, or as part of a head-dress. b. A bandage for the eyes.

1706 T. BETTERTON Amorous Widow I. 4 The fairest Hair, the beautiful’st Curls do not become your Forehead, so well as a Bando did. c1790 F. BURNEY Diary (1842) I. 98 (D.) That bandeau..was worn by every woman at court. a1847 MRS. SHERWOOD Lady of Manor III. xxi. 277 Just make up this bandeau for my hair. ?1858 C. MATHEWS Autobiog. (1879) I, In a laced night-cap with sky-blue bandeau. 1861 GEN. P. THOMPSON Audi Alt. III. clxi. 175 The Chancellor of the Exchequer, as Paul Louis said of fortune, sees under his bandeau. 1908 [see BARRETTE 2]. 1959 Sunday Times 5 Apr. 22/5 As small as it is possible to be and still be called a hat, a bandeau and bow are caught in a cage of veiling.

c. A strip of velvet or other material generally made up in a circular form to be stitched inside the lower part of the crown of a hat that is too large for the head.

1908 Daily Chron. 29 Jan. 4/7 With the right sort of ‘bandeau’ need not wear a hatpin at all.

Sennit Straw

[var. of SINNET.]

a. = SINNET. b. (See quot. 1858.)

1769 FALCONER Dict. Marine (1789), Sennit. 1858 SIMMONDS Dict. Trade, Sennit,..plaited straw or palm leaves, &c., of which grass hats are made. 1881 Chequered Career 92 These young gentlemen are to be seen..making sennet, the latter amusement being on a par with picking oakum.

attrib. and Comb. 1882 NARES Seamanship (ed. 6) 79 A sennit eye is worked in. c1898 J. CHALMERS in Lovett Life (1902) 146 The long sennit hawser kept on deck had been passed ashore to natives on the reef.

[Note from Belinsky: Today, a Sennit Straw is more commonly know as a “Boater” or “Skimmer” or “Sailor Straw”.]


Now hist.

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

A mode of knotting the hair behind the head.

c1780 B’NESS D’OBERKIRCH Mem. (1852) II. ix, The duchess of Bourbon had introduced at the court of Montbéliard..[the fashion] of cadogans, hitherto worn only by gentlemen.

Postilion Hat

Now chiefly hist.

[a. Hind. pag a turban.]

1. A light turban or head-covering worn by inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent.

1665 SIR T. HERBERT Trav. (1677) 140 Eastern People..such.. as wear Turbans, Mandils, Dustars, and Puggarees. 1696 J. OVINGTON Voy. Suratt 314 With a Puggarie, or Turbant upon their Heads. 1698 FRYER Acc. E. India & P. 93 A Green Vest and Puckery (or Turbat). 1845 SIR W. NAPIER Conq. Scinde II. i. 224 The Mohamedan Belooch always obeys him who wears the Puggree. 1893 W. FORBES-MITCHELL Remin. Gt. Mutiny 287 The latter wore voluminous thick puggries round their heads. 1930 Aberdeen Press & Jrnl. 22 Apr. 5/2 He has no British officers and no uniform except a distinguishing kind of pagri (head-dress). 1930 Punch 1 Oct. 392/2 Mr Thompson should not allow this bee to find a permanent home in his pagri. 1974 ‘B. MATHER’ White Dacoit 18 Sowars straightened tunics and pagris.

2. A scarf of thin muslin or a silk veil wound round the crown of a sun-helmet or hat and falling down behind as a shade.

1859 DICKENS in All Year Round 30 July 332/1 A ‘Puggery’ is a long slip of white muslin which is bound round the hat and formed into a fantastic bow, with tails behind. 1866 Cornh. Mag. Dec. 741 A silk coat, a puggree, boots, and white cords, adorned the wealthier. 1885 Times 20 Feb. 6/1 Officers and men were attired in red serge tunics,..sun helmets and puggarees. 1901 B. SHAW Three Plays for Purit., Capt. Brassbound I. 215 He wears the sun helmet and pagri, the neutral-tinted spectacles, and the white canvas Spanish sand shoes.

3. attrib., as puggree-cloth.

1934 [see DRILL n.5]. 1978 ‘M. M. KAYE’ Far Pavilions vi. 98 She slept soundly..tied to him by a length of pagri (turban) cloth that prevented her from falling.

Hence pugg(a)reed a., covered with or wearing a puggree.

1881 MRS. C. PRAED Policy & P. I. 13 A broad-brimmed puggareed hat. 1900 Daily News 1 Aug. 3/1 A graceful wave of his green, puggareed soft slouch hat.


[a. F. cabriolet, deriv. of cabriole, so called from its elastic bounding motion.]

1. a. A light two-wheeled chaise drawn by one horse, having a large hood of wood or leather, and an ample apron to cover the lap and legs of the occupant. Contracted by 1830 to CAB, and in later times applied to any vehicle known by that name. Also, the top or open section of a carriage. b. A motor car with fixed sides and a folding top.

2. A bonnet or hat shaped like a cabriolet.

1771 H. WALPOLE Let. 31 July (1904) 63, I have bespoken two cabriolets for her, instead of six, because I think them very dear. 1923 Daily Mail 22 June 11 Cabriolet hats are in fashion again… With a cabriolet you must have ribbon streamers falling over one shoulder.

Marcel Wave

[Psyche Knot

[a. Gr. (in L. ps ch ) breath, f. to breathe, to blow, (later) to cool; hence, life (identified with or indicated by the breath); the animating principle in man and other living beings, the source of all vital activities, rational or irrational, the soul or spirit, in distinction from its material vehicle, the or body; sometimes considered as capable of persisting in a disembodied state after separation from the body at death.

In Mythology, personified as in 1c. By Plato and other philosophers extended to the anima mundi, conceived to animate the general system of the universe, as the soul animates the individual organism. By St. Paul (developing a current Jewish distinction between rua , , spirit or breath, and nephesh, , soul) used for the lower or merely natural life of man, shared with other animals, in contrast with the or spirit, conceived as a higher element due to divine influence supervening upon the original constitution of unregenerate human nature: see PSYCHIC a. 2, PSYCHICAL 2. (For this and other developments in pre-Christian Judaism, and the N.T. writings, see R. H. Charles, Hist. of the Doctrine of a Future Life, 1899.)]

1. The soul, or spirit, as distinguished from the body; the mind.

1658 SIR T. BROWNE Hydriot. iv. 61 Why the Psyche or soul of Tiresias is of the masculine gender. 1794 SULLIVAN View Nat. II. 279 The two essentials in the composition of all sublunary things were, by the ancient Greeks, termed psyche and hyle, that is, spiritus et materia, soul and body. 1877 tr. Virchow in Tyndall Fragm. Sc. (1879) II. xv. 407 If I explain attraction and repulsion as exhibitions of mind, as psychical phenomena, I simply throw the Psyche out of the window, and the Psyche ceases to be a Psyche. 1879 LEWES Study Psychol. 73 The most accredited [ancient] thinkers not only detached Man from Nature, but the Mind from the Organism; they invented a Psyche as the source of all mental phenomena. 1888 New Princeton Rev. Mar. 272 Psychology is the science of the psyche or soul. 1896 P. GARDNER Sculptured Tombs Hellas 24 The psyche, to Homer, is not in the least like the Christian Soul, but is a shadowy double of the man, wanting alike in force and wisdom. 1905 E. J. DILLON in Contemp. Rev. Aug. 287 It is difficult to realise the position and to picture the psyche of Rozhdestvensky [the Russian admiral who fired on the North Sea fishing fleet].

b. The animating principle of the universe as a whole, the soul of the world or anima mundi.

1647 H. MORE Song of Soul Notes 138/2 Such is the entrance of Psyche into the body of the Vniverse, kindling and exciting the dead mist. 1678 CUDWORTH Intell. Syst. I. iv. §21. 388 This is taken by Plotinus to be the Eternal Psyche, that actively produceth All Things, in this Lower World, according to those Divine Ideas. Ibid. §23. 406 But in other places..he frequently asserts, above the Self~moving Psyche an Immovable and Standing Nous or Intellect, which was properly the Demiurgus.

c. In later Greek Mythol., personified as the beloved of Eros (Cupid or Love), and represented in works of art as having butterfly wings, or as a butterfly; known in literature as the heroine of the story related in the Golden Ass of Apuleius. Hence attrib. in sense ‘like that of Psyche’, as in Psyche-knot (of hair), Psyche-mould, Psyche task.

1876 GEO. ELIOT Dan. Der. lxi, In the Psyche-mould of Mirah’s frame there rested a fervid quality of emotion sometimes rashly supposed to require the bulk of a Cleopatra. 1888 A. R. DIEHL Two Thousand Words 170 Psyche knot, the style of wearing the hair in a projecting coil in the middle of the back of the head. 1895 S. B. KENNEDY in Outing (U.S.) Oct. 8/2 Do you think this Psyche knot suits the special cut of my features? 1901 Westm. Gaz. 28 May 2/4 After many Psyche tasks Fate-encumbered now unravelled, Hoping there’s no more to do. 1904 Ibid. 30 Nov. 4/2, I am not quite sure I know what is ‘a Psyche knot’, which was what the lady’s jet-black hair was transformed to. 1968 J. UPDIKE Couples v. 404 Her hair was pinned up in a psyche knot.

Fred Belinsky

write by Howard Malan

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