Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Chiefly British A felt hat with a low, rounded crown, similar to a derby.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A felt hat with a rounded crown, similar to a bowler.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A round, low-crowned felt hat; a wideawake.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A stiff, round, low-crowned felt hat: often called a billycock hat. Also spelled billicock.

Etymologies

Perhaps from earlier bullycocked, cocked in the fashion of a swashbuckler : bully1, gallant figure + cock1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Apparently an alteration of earlier bully-cocked. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A billycock is a beautiful object (it may be eagerly urged), but it is not in the same style of architecture as Ely Cathedral; it is a dome, a small rococo dome in the Renaissance manner, and does not go with the pointed arches that assault heaven like spears.

    Alarms and Discursions

  • The shopwoman produced a head-dress, which Tottie afterwards described as a billycock 'at with a feather in it.

    Post Haste

  • Some ribald passer-by put a battered felt hat upon Vishnu's sacred curls, and there the poor image sat, an alien in an indifferent land, a sack across its shoulders, a "billycock" upon its head, and honoured at most with a passing stare.

    Gulliver of Mars

  • The women affect parti-coloured petticoats of home-made baize or woollen stuff, dyed blue, scarlet, brown, or orange; a scalloped cape of the same material bound with some contrasting hue; and a white or coloured head-kerchief, sometimes topped by the _carapuça_, but rarely by the vulgar 'billycock' of the Canaries.

    To the Gold Coast for Gold A Personal Narrative in Two Volumes.—Volume I

  • I had a week at most at my disposal, so for three or four nights I set off stealthily after dark, dressed in an ancient pea jacket and patched unmentionables, with a muffler and billycock hat and cracked boots, Galand in one pocket and flask in t'other, skulking round Conduit Street to see what his movements were.

    Watershed

  • I said I had a ship, and a greasy disease in a billycock hat and brass watch-chain asked:

    THE NUMBERS

  • I beg that you will look upon it not as a battered billycock but as an intellectual problem.

    Sole Music

  • Despising this latter sort of thing is not despising Mr. Wells, but only some cheap atheist in a billycock hat whom he had the bad luck to meet when he was a boy.

    G.K.'s Weekly - On Mr. Wells and Mr. Belloc

  • Then on the heels of this procession came a dogcart driven by a man in a billycock hat and containing a lady in dark green.

    The Wheels of Chance: a bicycling idyll

  • There, upon the top step, was standing Lord Peterborough, with a billycock hat and a very old shooting coat, and nankeen trousers, which were considerably too short for him.

    He Knew He Was Right

Comments

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  • . . . the grandmother who, for some unknown reason, was dressed as a man, wearing a billycock and a corked moustache, ridiculous and plump in tight trousers and a red waistcoat . . .
    —Djuna Barnes, Nightwood

    November 19, 2008

  • "... fawn dustcoat on his arm, tawny red brogues, fieldglasses in bandolier and a grey billycock hat."
    Jayce, Ulysses, 15

    January 29, 2007