Definition of black hat in English:

black hat


  • 1A bad person, especially a villain or criminal in a movie, novel, or play.

    ‘we are the good guys—the black hats lost’
    • ‘We already have so many regular deputies that we don't really need a posse to actually get rid of the black hats.’
    • ‘If we rely only on the ballot box to hold up our side of the negotiation, then the black hats will go around us and use tools like the courts to up the price of democracy.’
    • ‘I argued that he's not evil, he's just the bad guy in the black hat, who you see coming a million miles away.’
    • ‘This isn't an airport novel, with white hats and black hats, moral certitude and a nice conclusive ending.’
    • ‘A cursory glance at the history of the conflict reveals it is not just the guys in the black hats who have found it useful.’
    • ‘"I want to see the white hats win and the black hats dangling from the end of a rope."’
    1. 1.1Computing informal A person who hacks into a computer network with malicious or criminal intent.
      • ‘black hats have a history of disassembling source code and looking for lapses’
      • ‘According to security clearing house CERT, an exploit based on the vulnerability is yet to be used by black hats.’
      • ‘The fact is, of course, that the computing world's black hat brigade don't give a monkey's what platform you're using.’
      • ‘If they do this with full knowledge and authorization of the affected company, they are white hats; if they criminally exploit the vulnerabilities, they are black hats.’
      criminal, lawbreaker, outlaw, offender, felon, convict, jailbird, malefactor, wrongdoer, black hat, supervillain


1950s from the color of the hat traditionally worn by the bad characters in westerns. Compare with white hat.