Black cap (See page 140, Black Cap.)
A square cap or mortar-board. (French, quartier.)
A trencher like the caps worn at the English
Universities by students and bachelors of art, doctors of divinity,
A cylindrical cap with feather and bells, such as licensed Fools
used to wear. Forked cap. A bishop's mitre. For the paper so
called, see Foolscap.
John Knox cap
(A). A cap made of black silk velvet.
“A cap of black silk velvet, after the John Knox fashion.” —Edinburgh University Calendar.
Monmouth cap (A). (See Monmouth.)
(A). Cap of liberty (q.v.).
Scotch cap. A cloth cap worn commonly in Scotland. Cap and
bells. The insignia of a professional fool or jester. A feather
in one's cap. An achievement to be proud of; something creditable.
Square cap. A trencher or “mortar-board,” like the University cap.
A woollen cap ordered by statute to be worn on holidays by all
citizens for the benefit of the woollen trade. To a similar end,
persons were obliged to be buried at death in flannel.
“Well, better wits have worn plain statute caps.” —Shakespeare:
Love's Labour Lost, v 2.
or mortar-board. A cap with a square board, generally covered with
black cloth. I must put on my considering cap. I must think
about the matter before I give a final answer. The allusion is to a
If the cap fits, wear it.
If the remark applies to you, apply it to yourself. Hats and caps
differ very slightly in size and appearance, but everyone knows his own
when he puts it on.
Setting her cap at him.
Trying to catch him for a sweetheart or a husband. The lady puts on
the most becoming of her caps, to attract the attention and admiration
of the favoured gentleman.
To gain the cap.
To obtain a bow from another out of respect.
Such gains the cap of him that makes them fine,
But keeps his book uncrossed.
To pull caps.
To quarrel like two women, who pull each other's caps.
Your cap is all on one side.
The French have the phrase Mettre son bonnet de travers,
meaning “to be in an ill-humour.” M. Hilaire le Gai explains it thus:
“La plupart des tapageurs de profession portent ordinairement le
chapeau sur l'oreille. ” It is quite certain that workmen, when
they are bothered, push their cap on one side of the head, generally
over the right ear, because the right hand is occupied.
I cap to that, i.e.
assent to it. The allusion is to a custom observed in France
amongst the judges in deliberation. Those who assent to the opinion
stated by any of the bench signify it by lifting their toque from their
“Well, that caps the globe.” —C. Bronte: Jane Eyre.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894