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Definition of "biretta" [bi•ret•ta]

  • Ecclesiastical A stiff square cap with three or four ridges across the crown. Birettas are worn especially by Roman Catholic clergy and are black for priests, purple for bishops, and red for cardinals. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "biretta" in a sentence
  • "Etymologically, the word biretta is Italian in origin and would more correctly be written beretta (cf. however the French barette and the Spanish bireta)."
  • "The biretta is the sign of an ecclesiastical pontifical degree."
  • "An atelier repetition of this fine original is No. 166 in the Vienna Gallery; the only material variation traceable in this last-named example being that in lieu of St. Ambrose, wearing a kind of biretta, we have St. Jerome bareheaded."