follow Dictionary.com

Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!

hard hat

noun
1.
a protective helmet of metal or plastic, especially as worn by construction or factory workers.
2.
a uniformed soldier of a regular army, as opposed to a guerrilla.
Origin
1925-1930
1925-30

hard-hat

[hahrd-hat] /ˈhɑrdˌhæt/
noun, Informal.
1.
a construction worker, especially a member of a construction workers' union.
2.
a working-class conservative.
adjective
3.
pertaining to or characteristic of hard-hats:
enlisting hard-hat support for his policies.
Also, hardhat.
Origin
1960-65
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for hard hat

hard hat

noun
1.
a hat made of a hard material for protection, worn esp by construction workers, equestrians, etc
2.
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) a construction worker
adjective
3.
(informal, mainly US) characteristic of the presumed conservative attitudes and prejudices typified by construction workers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hard hat

also hardhat, hard-hat, late 14c., "helmet;" 1935, "derby hat;" meaning "safety helmet" is from 1953; used figuratively for "construction worker" from 1970.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for hard hat

hard hat

modifier

: Caution, this is a hard-hat zone

noun phrase
  1. A derby hat: The boys with the hard hats always ask a lot of questions about murders (1935+)
  2. (also brain bucket) The steel or plastic helmet worn by various sorts of workers, esp construction workers: From here on we wear hard hats/ They lay aloft at 1930 with their ''brain buckets'' (hard hats) and bags of tools (1953+)
  3. A worker who wears a hard hat: The hard hats sat around and whistled at the passing girls (1960s+)
  4. A very conservative right-winger; a reactionary: He knows he can count on the hard hats to support him (1970s+)
  5. A regular Viet Cong soldier, who wears a military helmet, as distinct from a guerrilla or reservist: Some 50,000 are ''hard-hats'' (full-time fighters) (Vietnam War armed forces)

[the political sense fr the vocal and sometimes violent opposition of many construction workers to the US peace movement during the Vietnam War, reinforced by terms like hard line and hard core]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with hard hat

hard hat

A working-class ultraconservative. For example, They were counting on a large number of votes from the hard hats. This term alludes to the rigid protective headgear worn by construction workers, who were noted for their conservatism during the tumultuous 1960s. [ c. 1960 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hard hat

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hard

8
7
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for hard hat