A greatcoat, also known as a watchcoat, is a large overcoat typically made of wool designed for warmth and protection against the elements. Its collar and cuffs could be turned out to protect the face and hands from cold and rain, and the short cape around the shoulders provides extra warmth and repels rainwater (if made of a waterproof material). It was popular in the 15th Century as a military uniform and casual wear for the wealthy, issued for inclement weather by most Armed Forces right up until the last quarter of the 20th Century. Today they can still be seen as Dress Uniform in winter, an example being the Guards Division of the British Army who wear a design of greatcoat dating back to the Crimean War. During the 17th and 18th century and the Industrial Revolution, greatcoats became available for all social classes.
The coat generally hangs down below the knees and the cape is kept short, normally just above or below the elbows. It also sported deep pockets for keeping letters and food dry.
greatcoat in Russian: Шинель