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hard hat (n.)

also hardhat, hard-hat, late 14c., "helmet," from hard (adj.) + hat (n.). From 1935 as "derby hat;" meaning "safety helmet" is from 1953; used figuratively for "construction worker" from 1970.

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Definitions of hard hat from WordNet

hard hat (n.)
a worker skilled in building offices or dwellings etc.;
Synonyms: construction worker
hard hat (n.)
a lightweight protective helmet (plastic or metal) worn by construction workers;
Synonyms: tin hat / safety hat
From wordnet.princeton.edu