Posted by ESC on August 25, 2002
In Reply to: 2 obscure US sayings posted by Edward Stansell on August 25, 2002
: There are two US sayings, probably southern, which I'm at a loss as to their origin. Something overly tight is said to be " tighter than Dick's hatband". The other saying for something that is no longer in fashion or no longer believed, etc., is said to have "gone the way of fat Sam" Your guess is as good as mine on these.
Here's one theory.
From "Heavens to Betsy" by Charles Earle Funk : "as queer (or tight) as Dick's hatband -- Absurdly queer, or as the case may be, inordinately tight. The 'Dick' alluded to in this metaphor was Richard Cromwell, 'Lord protector' of England for a few months, September 1658 to May 1659. He had been nominated by his father, the powerful Oliver Cromwell, to succeed him in this high office, and was actually so proclaimed. But whereas the father had served, at least from the death of Charles I in 1649, as quasi-king of England, king in fact if not in name, Richard would gladly have accepted both title and crown, had not the army been hostile to such action and, indeed, to Richard, who was shortly dismissed from office. The crown was the 'hatband' in the saying, which was deemed a 'queer' adornment for the head of one so briefly in highest office, and too 'tight' for him to have worn in safety. (Let me add, however, this account is not accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary, though no better substitute is offered.)"