Black cap (See page 140, Black Cap.)
Cater cap. A square cap or mortar-board. (French, quartier.)
College cap. A trencher like the caps worn at the English Universities by students and bachelors of art, doctors of divinity, etc.
Fool's cap. 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.)
Phrygian cap (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.
Statute 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.
Trencher cap, 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 conjurer's cap.
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.
Shakespeare: Cymbeline, iii. 3.
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 heads.
To cap. To excel.
“Well, that caps the globe.” —C. Bronte: Jane Eyre.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894