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Strauss's avatar

When did the definition of "beanie" change?

Asked by Strauss (20376points) October 16th, 2012

My daughter told me she needed a “beanie” for her hip -hop dance class. I thought I’d have to go all over town looking for a skullcap-type hat; you know, like a baseball cap without the visor. When she showed me a picture of the type of hat she needed, it was what I’ve always called a stocking cap. Is this a regional difference, or am I just showing my age?

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16 Answers

Judi's avatar

Must be regional. I’ve always called a stocking cap a beanie. I’m in my 50’s.

bookish1's avatar

Whoa… I’ve never heard that before either!
And I call a stocking-cap a doo rag, but that’s probably a regionalism as well ;)

glacial's avatar

That’s new to me, too… but here, we call it a tuque. :)

I’d agree that it’s probably a regional difference.

Buttonstc's avatar

Either regional or cultural.

A Beanie was worn in college by freshmen for easy identification, usually in the school’s colors. I’m not sure whether that’s still done nowadays.

JLeslie's avatar

It does seem to be regional. This page is very interesting on the subject.

I had never heard the term stocking cap nor tuque, and beanie to me is a yarmulke and I have heard skull cap used also.

Buttonstc's avatar

That’s really interesting. In one of the paragraphs in that write up, it described what i’ve commonly associated with the term beanie.

It’s not made of knitted material but rather alternating triangles of several colors of felt or twill or any type of stiffer fabric. I forget which cartoon character wore one with a little propeller on top.

The one pictured in that drawing is what I would consider a watch cap or stocking cap. Interesting.

In the picture of The Edge, he’s wearing one more closely molded to the head or a skullcap. Muslims wear something similar, but I don’t remember what it’s called.

marinelife's avatar

@ccrow and @Buttonstc That is wht I habve always called a beanie too!

Aethelwine's avatar

My best friend from Las Vegas knitted a beanie for my daughter. She used alpaca and angora silk. My husband called it a stocking cap when he saw it. We are in Illinois. Looks like it might be regional? I didn’t look at @JLeslie‘s link yet.

Buttonstc's avatar


Thanks. That’s exactly what I was talking about. And minus the propeller, they were worn by college freshmen.

But, I’m assuming they no longer do that nowadays.

But all of the knitted ones (some floppier and looser than others) pictured in that article, I’ve never termed as beanies but rather the other terms i mentioned. I’m pretty sure the Navy doesn’t call them beanies :)

Hey, sailor, where’s your beanie? It’s cold out here.
Nah, not really.

Do rappers call them beanies?that seems a little odd somehow.

ucme's avatar

It has another meaning up here in the north of england, a beanie is a battered sausage packed with baked beans bought at fish & chip shops.

glacial's avatar

@Buttonstc I know, right? It’s the sort of word no one would adopt for their own hat, because of the association with the propeller. I think that’s exactly why it sounds so wrong to me for the softer kind.

Strauss's avatar

@jonsblond I’m originally from Illinois, too. That’s probably why I have never heard that usage, although I raised two now 25-year-olds, mostly here in Colorado.

The stocking caps that are part of the US Navy uniform are called “watch caps”.

Buttonstc's avatar


You’re absolutely right on the Navy and that was my point exactly.

Likewise, I have difficulty imagining rappers calling them beanies either so perhaps it’s the teacher of the hip hop class who is out of touch with the times rather than you or any of us if she/he is telling your daughter to get a beanie. I’ve never heard it called that in that context at all.

Do-rag, skully, skullcap, whatever but beanie I have a hard time picturing in hip hop.

Hey, Jay-Z, where’s your beanie?

Nah, don’t think so :)

Strauss's avatar

Do-rag is usually a bandanna or some other type cloth wrapped around the head to protect the hair “do”. I first heard that among blacks in the mid _sixties.

Buttonstc's avatar

But many times the do-rag is quite close fitting and appears to be made of nylon stocking material.

Some are with a seam and appear to be custom made. Others look more like a cut off piece of stocking leg knotted tightly at the top but still quite close fitting.

They’re worn at night to prevent all kinds of fuzzies and little dust bunnies, and various pieces of lint from ending up in the hair from bedding and necessitating a thorough comb out in the morning. And then they keep it on through the day

Also hoodies worn in the daytime and made from sweatshirt material contain varying degrees of lint depending upon their age.

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