[Spellyans] top hat > bowler hat

Hedley Climo eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Sep 26 19:21:48 BST 2012

Changing the topic slightly, what about the bowler hat (aka coke hat, derby, and billycock)? According to Wikipedia, it has nothing to do with cricket, but was (allegedly) invented back in 1849 by the brothers Bowler.

NJAW's UCR dictionary offers the merely descriptive 'hot cales cren', while other European languages venture more picturesque names: 'chapeau melon' (French), 'Melone' (German), 'bombetta' (Italian), 'bolhoet' (Dutch), and 'Chapéu-coco' (Portuguese).

My personal favourite is my grandparent's term from Caithness, namely a 'durler' (? spelling), a word which also means a (child's) potty! Thanks to a suggestion from Medhelwyther (based on usage by Map Essa + 'y hynsa), we might consider the delightful Cornish-Caithness calque 'hot podyk'. However, on this same theme, NJAW's offering for 'chamber pot' would suggest the less-than-wearable 'hot pycher pysa or <gulp!> 'hot urnal'!

Who could resist the charms of a 'piss-pot hat' or indeed a 'urinal hat'? Even worse, perhaps, if we were to invoke that famously eponymous Thomas, inventor of lavatorial porcelain, we might even stoop to donning a 'cappa Crapper'!


My vote's gotta be for 'hot podyk', and for the bolder spirits, the 'cappa Crapper'!

Eddie Climo
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