Evolved from the bicorne, the cocked hat is pinned up at two sides to form a hump-back bridge shape, it is worn with the front end protruding over the nose and the back of the neck. A cockade in the national colours may be at the right side (French tradition) or may have a plume on the top (British military c.1800); the cocked hat is often trimmed with gold or silver bullion lace and tassels. Naval officers wore this hat without further decorations, but those worn by military and civilian officials may be lavishly decorated with coloured ostrich or swan feathers.
Navies around the world were once almost universal in using cocked hats, ceased wearing them at the beginning of World War II; after the war, however, some military, diplomatic and colonial officials resumed wearing the cocked hat at very formal occasions.
To be knocked into a cocked hat is to be soundly and swiftly defeated.