Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to biretta: beretta


also be·ret·ta  (bə-rĕt′ə)
n. Ecclesiastical
A stiff square cap with three or four ridges across the crown. Birettas are worn especially by Roman Catholic clergy and are black for priests, purple for bishops, and red for cardinals.

[Italian berretta, from Old Provençal berret, cap, from Late Latin birrus, hooded cloak, probably of Celtic origin; perhaps akin to Irish berr and Welsh byrr, short.]


(bɪˈrɛtə) or


(Roman Catholic Church) RC Church a stiff clerical cap having either three or four upright pieces projecting outwards from the centre to the edge: coloured black for priests, purple for bishops, red for cardinals, and white for certain members of religious orders
[C16: from Italian berretta, from Old Provençal berret, from Late Latin birrus hooded cape]


(bəˈrɛt ə)

n., pl. -tas.
a stiff square cap with three or four upright projecting pieces, worn by ecclesiastics.
[1590–1600; < Italian berretta, feminine variant of berretto < Old Provençal berret < Medieval Latin birrettum cap]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.biretta - a stiff cap with ridges across the crownbiretta - a stiff cap with ridges across the crown; worn by Roman Catholic clergy
cap - a tight-fitting headdress


[bɪˈretə] Nbirrete m


nBirett nt
References in classic literature ?
It was that of a dark, thin man in a long black robe rather like a cassock; but the black cap on his head was of too strange a shape to be a biretta.
The priest came out with his purple velvet biretta on his head, adjusted his hair, and knelt down with an effort.
Father Sergius straightened his mantle, put on his biretta, and went circumspectly through the crowd.
But as soon as he started to pray he saw himself vividly as he had been at the Monastery, in a majestic post in biretta and mantle, and he shook his head.
However, having seen the Leave EU and Britain Stronger in Europe campaigns start a two-year argument costing millions, I think discussion can be over-egged, especially when we all know we will vote to stay in (I'll eat my biretta if we vote to leave).
Caption: Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel carries his scroll after receiving his red biretta from Pope Francis during the Feb.
Yet throughout his political career, he was suspected of being a secret Catholic; his parliamentary opponents accused him of being a closet "papist" and referred to him as "Edmund Bonny clapper" (a derogatory term for the Irish, and probably Burke's oratory), and political cartoons (see figures 1 and 2) portrayed him wearing a Jesuit's biretta or sitting at his desk with a huge crucifix (atop a barrel of whiskey), candle and incense burning, dressed in a monk's habit and sandals, with pictures of friars preaching in open air (Irish) services and saints' portraits.
After the bishop's death, government officials grabbed his purple biretta which is a visible sign of his Episcopal dignity, but returned it after insistent requests from Fan's parishioners.
Francis gave the red-and-white-garbed cardinals their square hat, known as a biretta, and their ring of office in the presence of hundreds of other cardinals and bishops during the solemn ceremony inside Christendom's largest church.
He carried onto the stage, wherever it was, the commanding presence of an aristocratic self-image which he projected with all the aid of his poised physical bearing, superbly crafted lines deliberately underplayed, and a range of props: top-hat, biretta, even a cape in the Victorian thespian tradition .
He was created archbishop in1985 and when he received thered biretta - the hat whichsignifies his position as a cardinal - in 2003, he waved a Saltire during a walkabout in St Peter's Square.
You're our captain and leader and you never lie or fantasise," Frank replied, before noticing that John was dressed from biretta to toe as a Catholic cardinal.