1. a shaped covering for the head, usually with a crown and brim, especially for wear outdoors.
  2. Roman Catholic Church.
    1. the distinctive head covering of a cardinal.
    2. the office or dignity of a cardinal.Compare red hat.

verb (used with object), hat·ted, hat·ting.

  1. to provide with a hat; put a hat on.

  1. hat in hand, humbly; respectfully: He approached the boss, hat in hand.
  2. pass the hat, to ask for contributions of money, as for charity; take up a collection: The lodge members passed the hat to send underprivileged children to summer camp.
  3. take off one’s hat to, to express high regard for; praise: We took off our hats to their courage and daring.
  4. talk through one’s hat, to speak without knowing the facts; make unsupported or incorrect statements: He is talking through his hat when he says he’ll make the team.
  5. throw/toss one’s hat in/into the ring, to become a participant in a contest, especially to declare one’s candidacy for political office: His friends are urging him to throw his hat in the ring.
  6. under one’s hat, confidential; private; secret: I’ll tell you the real story, but keep it under your hat.
  7. wear two/several hats, to function in more than one capacity; fill two or more positions: He wears two hats, serving as the company’s comptroller as well as its chief executive officer.


    1. any of various head coverings, esp one with a brim and a shaped crown
    2. (in combination)hatrack
  1. informal a role or capacity
  2. at the drop of a hat without hesitation or delay
  3. I’ll eat my hat informal I will be greatly surprised if (something that proves me wrong) happensI’ll eat my hat if this book comes out late
  4. hat in hand humbly or servilely
  5. keep something under one’s hat to keep something secret
  6. my hat (interjection) British informal
    1. my word! my goodness!
    2. nonsense!
  7. old hat something stale or old-fashioned
  8. out of a hat
    1. as if by magic
    2. at random
  9. pass the hat round or send the hat round to collect money, as for a cause
  10. take off one’s hat to to admire or congratulate
  11. talk through one’s hat
    1. to talk foolishly
    2. to deceive or bluff
  12. throw one’s hat at it Irish to give up all hope of getting or achieving somethingyou can throw your hat at it now
  13. throw one’s hat in the ring or toss one’s hat in the ring to announce one’s intentions to be a candidate or contestant

verb hats, hatting or hatted

  1. (tr) to supply (a person, etc) with a hat or put a hat on (someone)

Old English hæt “hat, head covering,” from Proto-Germanic *hattuz “hood, cowl” (cf. Frisian hat, Old Norse hattr), from PIE root *kadh- “cover, protect” (cf. Lithuanian kudas “tuft or crest of a bird,” Latin cassis “helmet”). Now, “head covering with a more or less horizontal brim.” To throw one’s hat in the ring was originally (1847) to take up a challenge in prize-fighting. To eat one’s hat is said to have been originally To eat Old Rowley’s [Charles II’s] hat.

In addition to the idioms beginning with hat

  • hate someone’s guts
  • hat in hand
  • hat in the ring
  • hats off to
  • hat trick

also see:

  • at the drop of a hat
  • brass hat
  • eat one’s hat
  • hang on to your hat
  • hang up (one’s hat)
  • hard hat
  • hats off to
  • keep under one’s hat
  • knock into a cocked hat
  • pass the hat
  • pull out of a hat
  • take one’s hat off to
  • talk through one’s hat
  • throw one’s hat in the ring
  • wear another hat

Also see undercap.

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