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Thursday, 10 June 2010

AT THE DROP OF A HAT

Origin of the expresion "at the drop of a hat".

Everything started with politics. Two hundred years ago it was common for political wrangles to get out of the debating chambres onto the duelling fields. In 1804, the vice president Aaron Burr, killed the former secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel in New Jersey.
Duelling was illegal but quite common, and obeyed a strict code of conduct. Two men faced off at a distance and exchanged shots when a third person droped a handkerchief or a hat. And since then we use the phrase "at the drop of a hat" to imply an eager and rapid response to something.
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