Hat in the ring

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 13, 2005

In Reply to: What does it meen???? posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 13, 2005

: : : 1. lunatic fringe
: : : 2. throw your hat in the ring

: : : what does it meen????

: : The lunatic fringe is that section of society which thinks and acts in extreme or irrational ways.

: : To throw one's hat in the ring means to join a contest.

: : DFG

: In the 18th century professional prize-fighters would tour the country at local fairs. They would give a demonstration bout and would then challenge any of the locals to a contest. Anyone who reckoned he was hard enough would make his challenge by throwing his hat (a man wasn't properly dressed without a hat then - everybody wore one) into the ring. Once he had done that he couldn't back down without being shamed.

Quite right. Nowadays journalists in the U.S. say "throw his hat in the ring" almost exclusively to mean "declare one's candidacy for political office." It's tempting to say that nowadays, in the U.S. at least, the lunatic fringe has moved from the fringe of society to the center. But that would be a contentious interpretation of the situation and highly colored. SS