Monday, August 24, 2015

Word of the Week - Hat

Yes, hat. Not that there's any surprise in the fact that hat itself has been in the English language since the dawn of the English language. But I was interested in some of the idioms containing it. =)

Specifically, today I said something about our right as women to change our opinions at "the drop of a hat." I pretty much knew where the saying came from--dropping a hat as a signal for a race or a fight--but I didn't know when it came about. As it turns out, the first written reference the site I was on could find was from 1837, but it was already being used metaphorically in that context, so one can be certain it had been around for a while already.

"To eat one's hat"--what one will do if the unlikely happens--dates from 1770. "To throw one's hat in the ring" is from 1847, and "hat trick"--3 goals in one game--was originally of cricket in 1879 but was extended to other sports, especially hockey, by 1909. This usage actually comes from literal tricks (sleight of hand/magic tricks) involving hats in the late 1800s, but pulling off the feat supposedly used to entitle the player to a hat from his club too.


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