Some Fun with Antiquated Hat Terms – Part Two – Renaissance Europe Through 1799

Some obscure and unusual words come to light 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:


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

(See quot. 1960.)

1840 THACKERAY in Fraser’s Mag. June 681/2 The sisters..with pink scarfs..and brass ferronières..were voted very charming. 1908 H. C. SMITH Jewellery xx. 172 This head ornament is known as the ferronière. 1960 H. HAYWARD Antique Coll. 117/1 Ferronière, a chain worn as an ornament encircling the head with a jewel in the centre.



[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 shade or curtain formerly worn on the front of women’s bonnets or caps to protect the complexion from the sun; a sunshade. (See quot. 1617; the later one may consequently belong to 2.)

1530 PALSGR. 907 The bone grace, le moufflet. 1533 Pardoner & Fr. in Hazl. Dodsl. I. 203 Her bongrace which she ware, with her French hood, When she went out always for sun-burning. 1595 R. WILSON Pedlar’s Proph. Bij, Fillets and bungraces. 1604 DEKKER King’s Entert. 311 This boon-grace hee made of purpose to keepe his face from heate. 1617 MORYSON Itin. III. IV. i. 170 A French shadow of veluet to defend them from the Sunne, which our Gentle~women of old borrowed from the French, and called them Bonegraces, now altogether out of vse with us. 1636 DAVENANT Platon. Lovers Wks. (1673) 411 Had she been but old enough to wear a Bongrace.

fig. 1609 HEYWOOD Brit. Troy VI. civ. 137 A Grove through which the lake doth run, Making his bowes a Bon~grace from the Sun.

2. A broad-brimmed hat fitted to shade the face. arch. or Obs.

1606 HOLLAND Sueton. 75 A broad brim’d Hat [marg. or Bond-grace = petasatus] upon his head. 1638 Songs Costume (1849) 140 Straw hats shall be no more bongraces, From the bright sun to hide your faces. 1719 D’URFEY Pills (1872) IV. 107 Her Bongrace of wended Straw. 1815 SCOTT Guy M. iii, An old-fashioned bonnet called a bon-grace.

3. ‘Junk-fenders; for booming off obstacles from a ship’s sides or bows’. Smyth Sailor’s Word-bk.


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 cape or cloak with a hood; ‘an outer garment or mantle worn by women and afterwards by men; also subsequently applied to a tight-fitting dress worn by both sexes’ (Fairholt Costume).

1415 in Nicolas Test. Vetust. I. 187, I will that all my hopolands [and] huykes not furred, be divided among the servants. 1418 E.E. Wills (1882) 37 Also a Hewk of grene and other melly parted. 1423 JAS. I Kingis Q. xlix, An huke sche had vpon hir tissew quhite. c1440 [see HAIK n.1]. a1529 SKELTON E. Rummyng 56 Her huke of Lyncole grene. 1530 PALSGR. 231/1 Hewke a garment for a woman, surquayne, froc. Ibid. 233/1 Huke. 1616 BULLOKAR, Huke, a Dutch attire couering the head, face, and all the body. a1626 BACON New Atl. (1627) 24 A messenger, in a rich Huke. a1657 LOVELACE Poems (1864) 210 Like dames i’ th land of Luyck, He wears his everlasting huyck. 1694 Dunton’s Ladies Dict. (N.), The German virgins..put on a streight or plain garment, such a one as they in some places call a huk. 1834 J. R. PLANCHÉ Brit. Costume 181. 1852 C. M. YONGE Cameos (1877) II. xxxvi. 370 When not in armour, she wore a huque, or close-fitting gown.

b. Applied to the Arab. haïk: see HAIK2.

1630 J. TAYLOR (Water P.) Wks. (N.), The richer sort [of women] doe weare a huicke, which is a rob of cloth or stuffe plated, and the upper part of it is gathered and sowed together in the forme of an English potlid, with a tassell on the top. 1660 F. BROOKE tr. Le Blanc’s Trav. 269 (Cairo) They [ladies] go all as ’twere masked and covered with an Huke that hides their face.

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

1613 H. KING Halfe-pennyw. Wit (ed. 3) Ded. (N.), I will..throw some light vaile of spotlesse pretended well-meaning over it, to huke and mask it from publicke shame.


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

A curl of a particular form worn by courtiers in the time of Elizabeth and James I; later, any curl or tress of hair of a peculiar or striking character.

1592 LYLY Midas III. ii. 43 Wil you haue..your loue-locke wreathed with a silken twist, or shaggie to fal on your shoulders? 1628 PRYNNE (title) The Vnlovelinesse of Love~lockes. 1840 MARRYAT Poor Jack i, Lovelocks, as the sailors term the curls which they wear on their temples. 1894 A. GRIFFITHS Secrets Prison Ho. II. IV. ii. 63 Bandoline, which she used in making love-locks to adorn her fore~head and her temples.

transf. 1886 MAXWELL GRAY Silence Dean Maitland I. i. 12 Each [cart-] horse wore his mane in love-locks.


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

A tall head-dress worn in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

1689 SHADWELL Bury F. 11, What d’ye lack, Ladies? fine mazarine Hoods, Fontanges, Girdles. 1711 ADDISON Spect. No. 98 1 These old-fashioned Fontanges rose an Ell above the Head. 1883 F. G. STEPHENS Catal. Prints Brit. Mus. IV. 282 An ugly old one-eyed woman in a fontange.


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

1. A child’s cap.

1530 PALSGR. 198/1 Byggen for a chyldes heed, beguyne. 1532 MORE Confut. Tindale Wks. 577/2. 1639 MASSINGER Unnat. Combat IV. ii, Would you have me Transform my hat to double clouts and biggings? 1755 Connoisseur No. 80 (1774) III. 71 Such a store of clouts, would set up a Lying-in Hospital. 1819 SCOTT Ivanhoe xxviii, My brain has been topsy-turvy..ever since the biggin was bound first round 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 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.


[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 Think we that modern words eternal are? Toupet, and Tompion, Cosins, and Colmar Hereafter will be called by some plain man A Wig, a Watch, a Pair of Stays, a Fan. 1818 SCOTT Rob Roy vi, These fadeurs, which every gentleman with a toupet thinks himself obliged to recite to an unfortunate girl. 1863 Cornh. Mag. VII. 395 Wigs are dangerous unless frankly avowed. A toupet may easily escape detection.

b. transf. = TOUPEE b. Obs.

1728 FIELDING Love in Sev. Masques Epil., From you then ye toupets he hopes defence. 1748 RICHARDSON Clarissa Wks. 1883 VII. 495 A couple of brocaded or laced-waistcoated toupets..with sour screwed up half-cocked faces.

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

1797 Sporting Mag. X. 295 The Tuft or Toupet, that part of the mane which lies between the two ears. 1834 SOUTHEY Doctor iii. (1862) 5 Some of the inhabitants of Congo make a secret fob in their woolly toupet.

3. attrib., as toupet-coxcomb, -man, -wig; toupet-titmouse, the Crested Titmouse.

1731 FIELDING Mod. Husb. I. ix, I meet with nothing but a parcel of toupet coxcombs, who plaster up their brains upon their periwigs. 1748 RICHARDSON Clarissa (1811) VII. vi. 35 No mere toupet-man; but all manly. a1784 PENNANT Arct. Zool. (1785) II. 423 Titmous. Toupet..feathers on the head long, which it erects occasionally into a pointed crest, like a toupet. 1884 E. YATES Rec. & Exper. II. 238 A carefully arranged toupet-wig.

Hence toupeted nonce-wd. ( tu p t d, tu pe d) a., wearing a toupet.

1903 Smart Set IX. 53/2 We go in to dinner with the toupeted colonels.



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

a. attrib. Applied to a high cock given to a broad-brimmed hat worn in the middle of the 18th c. (see Fairholt Costume in Eng. (1860) 299); hence also with hat. b. absol. A cock of this form; a hat cocked in this fashion.

1746 Brit. Mag. 309 A laced Hat pinched into what our Beaux have learnt to call the Kevenhuller Cock. 1750 COVENTRY Pompey Litt. II. iv. (1785) 58/1 Jockey-boots, Khevenhullar-hats, and Coach-whips. 1753 Proc. Commission of Common Sense (Fairholt I. 377) Is not the Dettingen cock forgotten? the noble Kevenhuller discouraged? 1762 Lond. Chron. XI. Chapter of Hats (Planchè), Hats are now worn, upon an average, six inches and three-fifths broad in the brim and cocked 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 patron. 1753 Let. Mrs. Dewes in Life & Corr. 260 She had not yet been able to get her dormouse.

2. A travelling-carriage adapted for sleeping in.

1808 M. WILMOT Jrnl. 16 Aug. (1934) III. 363 We..set off in the Dormeuse 4 horses abreast & two before. 1825 VISC. S. DE REDCLIFFE in S. L. Poole Life (1888) I. 357 The two dark green carriages a Dormeuse and Britchka, which you Windsor. 1841 LYTTON Nt. & Morn. (1851) 216 A dormeuse and four drove up to the inn door to change horses.

3. A kind of couch or settee.

1865 OUIDA Strathmore I. vi. 94 (Stanf.) He lay back in a dormeuse before the fire.

Fred Belinsky