To throw your hat into the room is to ascertain whether someone’s angry with you, perhaps stemming from the idea of tossing your hat in ahead of to see if someone shoots at it. Ronald Reagan used the expression this way when apologizing to Margaret Thatcher for invading Grenada in 1983 without notifying the British in advance. This is part of a complete episode.

4 Responses

  1. RobertB says:

    The above link has the ‘hat’  part in the transcript, but not in the audio. This audio has it- Thatcher comes back without missing a beat.  But who knows whether she always knew it or had picked it up.

  2. deaconB says:

    The hat trick in hockey is scoring three goals, and people toss their hats in the rink.  I’ve seen short clips of bull-fighting, where people salute the matador,or perhaps it’s the bull, for courage and/or elegant moves.  The Phrase Finder says “throw your hat into the ring” refers to a boxing ring, not a bull-ring.

    Election years normally have a lot of folks throwing hats into the ring, and graduates toss their mortarboards into the air.  Random House says “flip one’s lid” dates from the 1930s.  Men started going topless in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  I suppose they got tired of paying for replacement hats.

  3. Ron Draney says:

    “All politicians should have three hats: one to throw into the ring, one to talk through, and one to pull rabbits out of if elected.”
    — Carl Sandburg

  4. deaconB says:

    And their constituents need one to shit in.