General English


  • noun a piece of strong protective headgear, sometimes equipped with a metal grille in front of the face, worn by batsmen as a protection against fast short-pitched bowling, and sometimes also by fielders in close catching positions. Helmets first appeared in the late 1970s, a development not unconnected with the dominance at that time of the West Indies’ lethal four-man pace attack. They quickly became established – especially among younger players – as an item of equipment almost as essential as batting gloves or pads. Predictably enough, their arrival was greeted by a good deal of harrumphing from the older generation, but it should be remembered that when pads were first introduced in the mid-19th century they got a similarly contemptuous reception from older players who had ‘managed perfectly well without them’ (
    See pad
    ). A more serious argument against the helmet was the idea that a batsman’s unconscious instincts of self-preservation might be fractionally impaired by the sense of security that comes of wearing one, and it is certainly true that helmeted batsmen have been hit more often than their helmetless elders ever were. Players themselves, however, would argue that the helmet greatly increases a batsman’s confidence, and it is now a standard part of any cricketer’s kit.


  • noun a protective head covering

Origin & History of “helmet”

A helmet is literally a ‘little protective hat’. The word was borrowed from Old French helmet, a diminutive form of helme ‘helmet’. this in turn was acquired by Old French from Germanic *khelmaz (source of English helm (OE)), which goes back ultimately to Indo-European *kel- ‘hide, cover’ (source of a wide range of English words, including apocalypse, cell, cellar, conceal, hall, hell, and occult).