At the Drop of a Hat (Origin)
What Is the Origin of the Saying "At the Drop of a Hat"?The term "at the drop of a hat" means willing or able to do something immediately.
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- English Proverbs and Idioms Test
- More Proverbs, Sayings, and Idioms
Examples of Use:
- We're all packed. We can leave at the drop of a hat.
- I cannot produce that report at the drop of a hat. I have to gather data.
- Don't cross them. They would sue you at the drop of a hat.
- I'd take that offer at the drop of a hat.
Competing Theory"At the drop of a hat" originates from fairground boxing in the 1800s. A challenger to the fairground champion would throw his hat into the boxing ring to signal that he wants to enter into the fight. (Without a hat, the challenger was easily spotted in the crowd as he made his way into the ring.)
A quick look at Google's Ngram Viewer, which scans millions of books published over the last two centuries, tells us that the term was first used in a published article in the 1830s but did not start become common language until the 1930s.