Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Biretta, an Italian name for the old English barret-cap, the French barrette, the ancient academical cap: a tall skull-cap of silk or velvet, the sides stiffened with pasteboard, and the upper part pinched into three or four ridges by which it can be held. Its present form, in which these ridges are stiff and the top surmounted by a button, dates from the 17th century. (In the Roman Catholic Church that of priests is black, that of bishops purple, and that of cardinals red.) Occasionally it is worn by the Anglican High Church clergy.