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1. modifier Requiring the use of rigid protective headgear, usually a location or area. This is a hard-hat zone, so you won't be let in unless you're wearing the appropriate protective clothes.
2. modifier Of or characterized by extremely conservative views, beliefs, or opinions. This area of the country has some pretty entrenched hard-hat politics.
3. noun A construction worker, in reference to the protective headpiece made from rigid metal or plastic that is often worn in construction work. Though the work was tough, I loved working as a hard hat when I was younger.
4. noun Any working-class individual with extremely conservative views or beliefs. Though opinion polls show the governor's approval ratings slipping in the rest of the state, she still enjoys considerable support from hard hats in more rural areas.
A working-class ultraconservative. For example, They were counting on a large number of votes from the hard hats. This term alludes to the rigid protective headgear worn by construction workers, who were noted for their conservatism during the tumultuous 1960s. [c. 1960]