Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BONNET, BUNNET, Bunnot, Bannet, Bonnad, Baanut, n. [′bɔnət, ′bonət, ′bɑnət Sc.; bɔnɑd Cai.; ′bʌnət em.Sc.(b), wm.Sc. For bannet see P.L.D. § 54; for bunnet see P.L.D. §§ 93.2, 94.]

1. A head covering for men or boys, including all kinds of caps, but not hats. See Blue, Braid, Cockit, Feather, Humble, etc. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 163:
Put your hand twice to your bannet for ance to your pouch.
Cai. 1932 “Caithness Forum” in John o' Groat Jnl. (22 Jan.) 7:
Ma neeps is gaun weel . . . they're 'e heicht o' ma heid already, an' great flooers on tap o' them as broad as yir bonnad.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 39:
He has niffer'd his sark wi' the bogle, His breeks, coat an' bunnet forby.
m.Sc. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxv.:
Clap a bunnet on a tawtie-bogle, wi' a cock to the ae side that's kin' o' knowin', and ony woman 'll jump at his neck.

2. Extended uses: (1) to a person, by metonymy; (2) to things, (a) “a portion of a seam left on for a roof” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 11); (b) “square pieces of wood to wedge up ‘croons' in a mine” (Ayr.4 1928, bunnot); (c) “gas coal or shale overlying and worked along with a coal seam” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 11); (d) a stone, flat and cylindrical — i.e. shaped like a bonnet. (1) Sc. 1828 Scott F. M. Perth xiii.:
There were some three hundred of their best bonnets, besides that of their chief, Donald Cormac, left on the moor of Thorn . . . and as many were gibbeted at Houghman Stairs.
(2) (d) Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm I. 154:
On the top of this is placed a flat rounded stone or bonnet, of at least 2 inches in thickness.

3. In derisory phr. yer bunnet = nonsense! Lnk. 1929 G. Blake Path of Glory v.:
“Ach, yer bunnet!” said Deveney incredulously.

Phrases: (1) bonnets on the green, a quarrel. Cf. Eng. wigs on the green; (2) dad wi' the blue bonnet (see Blue Bonnet); (3) draw doon (doun) one's bannet, humble oneself. See second quot.; (4) fill the bonnet of another, to be equal to another in any respect; (5) lat the bonnets gae by wyting for the hats (see quot.); (6) no wordie a dad of a bonnet, worth nothing at all; (7) to rive one's father's bonnet, to excel one's father. (1) Rxb.2 c.1920 (also Bnff.2, Abd.9, Kcb.9 1935):
Ay, there'll be bonnets on the green or I'm cheatit.
(3) Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 3:
Sheu wus a awfu hauchty woman, an wad draw doon her bannet for neen.
Ork.1 1935:
Orcadians use the expression “I'll no draw doun my bannet for him,” meaning “I'm as good as he is and I'll let him know that.” But in the old days, “to draw down one's bonnet” meant to prepare for fighting, so that the present-day use of the phrase is the opposite of what it should be.
(4) Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 210:
May every Archer strive to fill His Bonnet, . . . And Praise like him deserve.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xvii.; Abd.19 1935:
He's but a daidling coward body. He'll never fill Rumbleberry's bonnet.
(5) ne.Sc. 1915 A. Maitland W.-L.:
Ye're lattin the bonnets gae by wyting for the hats, you are letting opportunities slip, always waiting for something better.
(6) Rxb. 1820 in Edin. Mag. (April) 345 /1 Note:
“It's no wordie a dad of a bonnet,” was a common phrase used when expressing contempt, or alluding to any thing not worth the trouble of repairing.
(7) Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
It is said of a son, who is by no means viewed as superior to his parent, “He winna rive his father's bonnet”; and sometimes given as a toast, designed to express the warmest wishes for the success of a new-born or rising son, “May he rive his father's bonnet!”
Sc. 1902 Daily Chron. (3 Dec.) 5/1:
Lord Elgin, in proposing the health of the Prince of Wales as Duke of Rothesay . . . at the Scottish Corporation dinner the other night, said that his Royal Highness was “doing all he could to rive his father's bonnet.”
Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 192:
Hee'll riiv hiz faidhur'z baanut yet.

4. Combs.: (1) bonnet-ba', a boys' game played with caps and a ball. Same as Bonnetie, 2, q.v.; (2) bonnet-fecht, “a boys' fight with their caps as weapons” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.; Abd.22 1935); (3) bonnet fir, the common Sc. pine, Pinus sylvestris, L.; (4) bannet-fire, (a) a penalty inflicted on a boy who infringes the rules of a game; (b) a game (see quot.); (5) bonnet-fleuk, bonnet flook, “the brill, Pleuronectes rhombus” (Fif.1 1935); (6) bonnet-laird, bannet laird, (a) “a yeoman, one who farms his own property” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2); (b) (see quot.); (7) bonnet-lug, “the ear which is more visible when the cap is worn on one side of the head” (Sc. 1898 E.D.D.); (8) bonnetman, a ploughman; (9) bonnet-piece, a gold coin of James V., on which the king is represented wearing a bonnet. Arch. (1) Kcb. 1896 S. R. Crockett Grey Man xviii.:
The game royal of Bonnet-Ba'.
(3) Ags.(D) 1882 Brechin Advertiser (28 Nov.) 3/2:
Ay, there's twa-three o' the auld bonnet firs stan'in' yet. [Towards the Cortachy end of Glen Clova a few straggling old Scots pines still remain. They are very striking in appearance, the outline of these trees resembling that of a bonnet or cap or mutch. These particular trees have unusually short stems, so that the resemblance to a bonnet is even more pronounced than usual. It is not until the pines reach a great age — of over 200 years — that they achieve the typical outline (M.L.A.).]
(4) (a) Fif. 1825 Jam.2:
Bannet-fire. Two files are formed by his companions standing face to face, the intervening space being merely sufficient for allowing him to pass. Through this narrow passage he is obliged to walk slowly, with his face bent down to his knees; and as he passes the boys beat him on the back with their bonnets.
(b) Fif.7 1933:
Bannet-fire, the game, originally a religious rite, and a survival from the Beltane Fire, is now extinct, I should imagine. Fires of whins were lit and the young men, after throwing their “bannets” over, themselves jumped through them. It was prevalent in this locality [Kennoway] about 90 or 100 years ago.
(5) Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Fife and Kinross 51:
Rhombus non aculeatus squamosus Willoughbei . . . which our Fishers call the Bonnet Flook.
Ib. (1803) 120 Note:
The Bonnet Flook, Pleuronectes Rhombus, the Pearl, very like, but inferior, to the turbot.
m.Lth. 1808 P. Neill List of Fishes in Wernerian Nat. Hist. Soc. Memoirs (1811) 537:
Pleuronectes rhombus. Brill, Pearl, Mousedab; Bonnet-fleuk.
(6) (a) Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary (1818) iv.:
It belonged to auld Johnnie Howie, a bonnet-laird here hard by.
Bnff. 1882 W. M. Philip K. MacIntosh's Scholars iv.:
Ane o' your bonnet lairdies, that strut aboot like a buntin' cock.
Knr. 1891 “H. Haliburton” Ochil Idylls 147:
And, abune a', wi' bannet lairds, The cocks o' the creation.
(b) Abd. [1851] W. Anderson Rhymes, etc. (1867) 210:
The bonnet lairds were men who generally got their forty or sixty acres in the natural state and at a nominal rent, their lease being two nineteens [of years], and in some instances ninety-nine years, but had to give the land proprietor what was called bonage (a corruption of bondage). [A bonnet was the headgear of the farmer class.]
(7) Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 282:
He cocks his bonnet-lug sae smart, And wears his claes sae neatly.
(8) Sc. 1827 G. Kinloch Ballad Bk. 73:
And there cam bonnetmen following the pleugh.
(9) Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery xxiii.:
Julian Avenel loves the glance of gold bonnet-pieces.
Sc. 1887 adapted from E. Burns Coinage Scot. II. 250–251:
Bonnet Piece. A gold coin of James V. also known as a ducat. These coins dated 1539 and 1540 are the earliest coins to bear a date in the Scottish series . . . the Hopetoun MS. states that they were to have course for forty shillings. The bonnet pieces were of native gold obtained from Crawford Muir and the lands of Corehead, and obtained their name from the bust of the king on the obverse wearing a broad bonnet.

[O.Sc. bonet, bonat, bonnat, bannate, etc., as early as 1375 (Barbour). In the sense of cap it does not appear in Eng. until Caxton's time, 1483, and fell out before 1700, but was revived in mod. times through the influence of Sc. It is a contraction for O.Fr. chapel de bonet, a hat or cap of bonet, a kind of material mentioned in Med.Lat. documents (see N.E.D. s.v. bonnet).]

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"Bonnet n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2021 <>



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