Posted by Lewis on March 01, 2004
In Reply to: What did they mean by this? posted by JAM on March 01, 2004
: Hi. I just found this site and really like it! I have a question: I was talking to a friend that I made promise not to repeat something I said. When I asked her if she did, she said no and that she was not about to tip her hat. Instead of asking what that means, I just said OK. Now it's bugging me. What does that mean in this context?
To 'tip' is to give inside information - to tip the hat sounds like an old use - if you hid something eg. "keep this under your hat" - then tipping the hat would show it. I think it probably came from 'keep this [only] in mind' - i.e. do not record it anywhere. it may even come from thieves' cant - perhaps a hat gesture was a give away?
underworld slang is always interesting - devised as it was to confuse the law-abiding or enforcement officers.