What would you call a knitted woolen hat with a bobble on top?

Lost: red bobble hat

I would call it a bobble hat, and I discovered yesterday that in French such a hat is called un bonnet à pompons or un chapeau à pompons or simply un bonnet. What about in other languages?

Bonnet [bɔ.nɛ] also means hat, cap, beanie, knit cap, skully, stocking cap or (bra) cup. Other types of bonnet include:

  • bonnet d’âne = dunce’s cap
  • bonnet de bain = bathing cap, swimming hat
  • bonnet de nuit = nightcap
  • bonnet de police = forage cap
  • bonnet de douche = shower cap

A bigwig, or “person of consequence”, is un gros bonnet, and the French equivalent of six of one, half a dozen of the other is bonnet blanc, blanc bonnet.

Bonnet comes from the Middle French bonet, from the Old French bonet (material from which hats are made), from the Frankish *bunni (that which is bound), from the Proto-Germanic *bundiją (bundle), from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰendʰ- (to tie).

The English word bonnet comes from the same root, and can refer to various types of headgear, particularly a type of hat usually framing the face and tied with ribbons under the chin and worn mainly by females.

baby bonnets

In Scots a bonnet/bunnet refers to “A head covering for men or boys, including all kinds of caps, but not hats”.

Sources: ReversoDictionary, Wiktionary, Dictionaries of the Scots Language / Dictionars o the Scots Leid

6 thoughts on “Bonnets

  1. In Vermont we called it a tuque, regardless of whether or not it has a pompom on top.

  2. In the USA it’s a beanie; the type with the pompom may be a pom beanie. Border states with Canada may use tuque or toque.

  3. In Michigan, what you pictured is just a knit hat or a snow hat, or perhaps a ski hat (since it’s far too hot to wear it any time other than winter). Pretty much only girls would wear the kind with a pompon on top. We are somewhat aware of the word tuque, but no one would use that word except as a joke.

    There was a comedy album from two Canadians called Bob and Doug McKenzie, where they kept using the word tuque (and kept talking about beer drinking and other male pursuits). Thus, the joke.

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