Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 3 16:20:57 UTC 2012

Is it evolution or simply broadening? "Baseball cap" or "sports cap" are
still quite common. But when mom tells a kid going out in the sun, "You
need a hat!", she doesn't mean that the kid should borrow one from his
Amish neighbor. Under these circumstances, "cap" seems to be a subset of
"hat" as a type of head cover. So is a woolen cap and a balaclava. On
the other hand, a visor with a strap (ubiquitously associated with
accountants and payroll clerks, but also frequently worn by runners) is
not a hat. Is it a "cap"?


PS: I don't think I've ever heard a "yarmulkeh" referred to as a "hat",
but I have heard "cap" used for it (as opposed to the formal "skullcap").

On 9/3/2012 11:52 AM, Charles C Doyle wrote:
> The OED says that the word "hat" refers to "A covering for the head; in recent use, generally distinguished from other head-gear, as a man's cap (or bonnet) and a woman's bonnet, by having a more or less horizontal brim all round the hemispherical, conical, or cylindrical part which covers the head."
> I have always called such items as baseball players wear atop their heads "caps."  But individuals under the age of 30 or so (who seem ubiquitously to wear baseball caps, the males at least) typically refer to those billed-but-not-brimmed items of headwear as "hats."
> Have any of y'all noticed this recent evolution in terminology?
> Charlie

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list