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biretta

[buh-ret-uh] /bəˈrɛt ə/
noun
1.
a stiff square cap with three or four upright projecting pieces extending from the center of the top to the edge, worn by ecclesiastics.
Also, berretta, birretta.
Origin
1590-1600
1590-1600; < Italian berretta, feminine variant of berretto < Old Provençal berret < Medieval Latin birrettum cap, equivalent to Late Latin birr(us) birrus + -ettum -et; apparently by the development: hooded cloak > hood > cap; compare Medieval Latin (circa 800) byrrus short hood (cuculla brevis)
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for biretta

biretta

/bɪˈrɛtə/
noun
1.
(RC Church) a stiff clerical cap having either three or four upright pieces projecting outwards from the centre to the edge: coloured black for priests, purple for bishops, red for cardinals, and white for certain members of religious orders
Word Origin
C16: from Italian berretta, from Old Provençal berret, from Late Latin birrus hooded cape
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for biretta
biretta
square cap worn by Catholic clergy, 1590s, from It. beretta, from L.L. birrus, birrum "large cloak with hood;" perhaps of Gaulish origin, or from Gk. pyrros "flame-colored, yellow."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for biretta

stiff square hat with three or four rounded ridges, worn by Roman Catholic, some Anglican, and some European Lutheran clergy for both liturgical and nonliturgical functions. A tassel is often attached. The colour designates the wearer's rank: red for cardinals, purple for bishops, and black for priests.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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