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At the drop of a hat

Posted by James Briggs on December 14, 2003

In Reply to: At the drop of a hat posted by Lotg on December 13, 2003

: Where did this term originate? What it the starters signal for a duel or something?

This saying is said to come from the American West, where the signal for a fight was often just the drop of a hat. It may have an Irish origin, based on something like "he's ready to fight at the drop of a hat" which in turn may be followed by "roll up your sleeves" or "take off your coat" ie items of clothing are involved in the start of fights.