at the drop of a hat

at the drop of a hat

Meaning

  • at the slightest signal
  • immediately, without delay
  • without any hesitation
  • without any planning and for no obvious reason

Example Sentences

  1. We now have a situation where laws are bent at the drop of a hat.
  2. Dustin was always ready to go fishing at the drop of a hat.
  3. If you need help, just call on Mike. He can come at the drop of a hat.
  4. I can’t go rushing off to Edinburgh at the drop of a hat.
  5. She’d purchase her expensive jewelry at the drop of a hat and worry about how she would pay for it later.
  6. We’re expected to just do it at the drop of a hat – no notice or anything. It’s disgraceful.
  7. People will file lawsuits at the drop of a hat these days.
  8. I’d quit my job at the drop of a hat if I didn’t have a family to support.
  9. That girl is so emotional; she’ll start crying at the drop of a hat.

Origin

This phrase probably alludes to signalling the start of a race, fight or other contest by dropping a hat. [Late 1800s]

The earliest reference could be found from a hearing on a bankruptcy law from an 1837 Register of Debates in Congress, see this snap shot below:

at the drop of a hat

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A 1 Comment

1 Comment

AuthorChritina writes on 15th April 2016

Interesting idiom and well explained, was looking for it’s meaning and origin, finally landed on this page. When I find this page my search stops at the drop of a hat.
Thanks.

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