from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A helmet, usually made from rigid plastic, used on construction sites to protect the head from falling objects.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a worker skilled in building offices or dwellings etc.
  • noun a lightweight protective helmet (plastic or metal) worn by construction workers


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    Sorry, no example sentences found.


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  • Why can't people just say helmet?

    February 28, 2009

  • "Helmet" has military connotations. "Hard hat" primarily means the headgear worn by construction workers as protection from things falling on them from above. Why did "hard hat" evolve in this context instead of "helmet", since they both mean essentially the same thing: "hard headgear worn as protection"? I suppose it's because workers used to always wear a kind of hat (e.g. to keep dust out of their hair), but in certain areas where there was a chance of things falling from above, they were required to exchange their soft-material hat for a hard hat. People didn't think of calling it a "helmet" because helmets were associated with military combat and sports (another kind of combat), areas very different from labor.

    February 28, 2009

  • Thank you, rolig!

    February 28, 2009

  • It's completely arbitrary, but personally, I think of helmets as having a strap, whereas hard hats just sit on the head.

    March 1, 2009

  • What rolig said. I associate hard hats with construction sites; they have a specific shape, and are generally either yellow or white. But they do come with a strap, generally speaking.

    March 1, 2009

  • I associate them with mines, but that's probably because I come from a mining town. So actually, when I think hard hat I think of the ridiculously heavy ones with the light on top. They don't have straps.

    March 1, 2009