Word of the Week (215): BIGGON (probability 17228), by David Sutton

A BIGGON was a plain close-ftting cap worn in Elizabethan times. It gets a mention in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2:

'As he whose brow with homely biggon bound
Snores out the watch of night.'

A cap is defined as a flat brimless hat, usually with a peak. Here are some other species of cap:

A BYCOKET was an ornamental cap with peaks at both back and front, worn in the 15th century.

A BARRET was a kind of cap formerly worn by soldiers.

A MONTERO, from the Spanish, is a huntsman's cap with side-flaps.

A CALPAC (or CALPACK or KALPAC or KALPAK) is a triangular Turkish or Tatar felt cap.

A TOQUE or TOQUET can refer to a woman's nearly brimless hat, or can refer to a kind of cap worn in the 16th century.

A TUQUE on the other hand is quite different: a knitted, cylindrical woollen cap with tapered ends that is worn with one end tucked into the other.

A CHAPKA (or CZAPKA or SCHAPSKA) is a Polish military cap, adapted from the traditional peasant cap, worn by lancers.

Finally, a PIRNIE is a kind of striped nightcap worn by Scotsmen (PIRNIT being a Scots word for striped). We southerners tend to go to bed CAPLESS these days, though this does not necessarily imply greater hardihood: it must be remembered that Scottish nights can be a bit nippy and indeed the lowest temperature ever recorded in the British Isles was -27.2C at Braemar on January 10th, 1982, which almost justifies BEDSOCKS as well.


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