What Do You Call A Knit Hat?

Monmouth cap. Meredith Barter/CC BY 2.0.

Atlas Obscura has a fun article up about the history of knit caps, and all their various names. I fall under the group which goes with watch cap.

The hats, which were “much favored by seamen,” also wormed their way into the navy in the 17th century. First in England and, later, the United States, they became a seafaring staple. Sailors who were “watchstanding,” or keeping lookout, often wore variations of Monmouth caps, earning the hats the still-popular name of “watch cap.”

Go have a read, then you can select your designation for knit caps.


  1. says

    So, in English, a woolly cap or stocking cap? I’ve always called them watch caps, but I was born and raised in southern California, in a culture heavily influenced by all things ocean.

  2. rq says

    Toque, obviously. Geez, why is this even under discussion? ;)

    Okay, okay, a toque usually has a pompom on top, I’ll give you that.
    Here, it’s just a winter or wool hat. No need to be confusing!

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 2

    Woolly cap feels right for me.

    Calling a cap a hat is a bit awkward for me. In Finnish hattu is something like a bowler hat, fedora, top hat or cowboy hat, usually with a brim. A cap is lakki (usually a cap with a bill or one that’s made of fur), myssy (soft, no bill or brim, something usually worn by babies or women in the old days) or pipo.

  4. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    Calling a cap a hat is a bit awkward for me.

    Me too. We have a houseful of hats, and I could not bring myself to refer to a cap of any kind as a hat.

  5. rq says

    Toque. Toque, I still say!!
    Also I understand ‘cap’ to be short for ‘baseball cap’, and only that.
    Weird, this language.

  6. fusilier says

    What rq Said!

    Oh, and they don’t need pom-poms. My Beloved and Darling Wife has knitted me any number, based on Parks Canada specimens dating from the 1750s.*

    fusilier, soldat, compagnie franche de Muy, de la Marine, du Detroit, poste de le Miamis, detachment de la Riviere Blanc.

    James 2:24

    * You know, the French and Indian War, where a million Brits took ten years to defeat sixty thousand Frenchmen.

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