1. A defensive covering for the head. See Casque, Headpiece, Morion, Sallet, and Illust. Of Beaver.

2. The representation of a helmet over shields or coats of arms, denoting gradations of rank by modifications of form.

3. A helmet-shaped hat, made of cork, felt, metal, or other suitable material, worn as part of the uniform of soldiers, firemen, etc, also worn in hot countries as a protection from the heat of the sun.

4. That which resembles a helmet in form, position, etc.

<chemistry> As: The upper part of a retort.

<botany> A naked shield or protuberance on the top or fore part of the head of a bird. Helmet beetle, an African wood shrike of the genus Prionodon, having a large crest.

Origin: OF. Helmet, a dim of helme, F. Heaume; of Teutonic origin; cf. G. Helm, akin to AS. & OS. Helm, D. Helm, helmet, Icel. Hjalmr, Sw. Hjelm, Dan. Hielm, Goth. Hilms; and prob. From the root of AS. Helan to hide, to hele; cf. Also Lith. Szalmas, Russ. Shleme, Skr. Carman protection. Cf. Hele, Hell, Helm a helmet.

(01 Mar 1998)

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