/beuh ret"euh/, n.
a stiff square cap with three or four upright projecting pieces extending from the center of the top to the edge, worn by ecclesiastics.
[1590-1600; < It berretta, fem. var. of berretto < OPr berret < ML birrettum cap, equiv. to LL birr(us) BIRRUS + -ettum -ET; appar. by the development: hooded cloak > hood > cap; cf. ML (ca. 800) byrrus short hood (cuculla brevis)]

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▪ ecclesiastical headwear
      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.

      The biretta developed from the medieval cap known as a birettum, or pileus. By the 16th century it had evolved through several forms and had essentially attained its present form.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Biretta — • A square cap with three ridges or peaks on its upper surface, worn by clerics of all grades from cardinals downwards Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Biretta     Biretta      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Biretta — Bi*ret ta, n. Same as {Berretta}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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 …   Etymology dictionary

  • biretta — ► NOUN ▪ a square cap with three flat projections on top, worn by Roman Catholic clergymen. ORIGIN Italian berretta or Spanish birreta, from Latin birrus hooded cape …   English terms dictionary

  • biretta — [bə ret′ə] n. [It berretta < LL birrettum, dim. of L birrus, a hood, cloak, prob. < Celt base, as in Cymric byrr, MIr berr, short] a hard, square, ceremonial hat with three or four vertical projections and sometimes with a pompom or tassel… …   English World dictionary

  • Biretta — The biretta is a square cap with three or four ridges or peaks, sometimes surmounted by a tuft, traditionally worn by Roman Catholic clergy and some Anglican clergy. It is also the term used for a similar cap worn by those holding doctoral… …   Wikipedia

  • biretta — UK [bəˈretə] / US noun [countable] Word forms biretta : singular biretta plural birettas a stiff square hat worn by a Roman Catholic priest …   English dictionary

  • biretta — Berretta Ber*ret ta, n. [It., fr. LL. birrettum, berretum, a cap, dim. of L. birrus, birrum, a cloak to keep off rain, cf. Gr. ? tawny, red: cf. Sp. birreta, Pg. barrete, and E. {Barret}.] A square cap worn by ecclesiastics of the Roman Catholic… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • biretta — noun A square cap, originally with four ridges across the top, surmounted by a tuft, worn by Roman Catholic clergy (and by some in the Anglican Church). A three sided biretta is worn by Roman Catholic clergy for liturgical celebrations …   Wiktionary

  • biretta'd — adjective wearing a biretta Facing the ladies a birettad priest appeared to be perusing a little, fat, black, greasy book of prayers which he held aslant so as to catch the light …   Wiktionary

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