Since we know that the expression is American and from a period only three decades after Lincoln’s presidency, it’s even possible the story about his hat is indeed the origin. Why should people put anything under their hats and, even if they were to, why would that be associated with secrecy?

I checked this out on your website but can find no reference to this expression. He had the habit of keeping important papers in it, to the extent that he referred to it as his office. var ch_selected=Math.floor((Math.random()*ch_queries.length));

Definitions by the largest Idiom Dictionary. An early example is found in P. G. Wodehouse's Inimitable Jeeves, 1923: Select your currency from the list and click Donate. All rights reserved. Keep a secret. This is the first example I’ve found in exactly that form: In the mid-1800s the term was used in Britain as an admonishment to keep something in your head, to leave something in your imagination and not bring it to fruition. ch_type = "mpu"; ‘keep it under your hat is the golden rule for top chefs when it comes to sharing culinary secrets’ More example sentences ‘Churchill replied: ‘I'll tell you a secret, but keep it under your hat.’’ ch_sid = "Chitika Premium"; There are two big problems with the story. Such trickery is recorded, as in the collection of stories, published as The Adventurer, 1793. World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. © english-for-students.com. The extended phrase 'keep it under your hat', which didn't arise until the 20th century, simply meant 'keep it in your head', that is, 'think it, but don't say it'.

Gleanings in Bee Culture, 15 Oct. 1892, 761/1. Keep something under one’s hat, meaning to keep something secret, is relatively modern, centuries later than medieval archers or ceremonial hats. }

Why should people put anything under their hats and, even if they were to, why would that be associated with secrecy?

ch_vertical ="premium"; It also seems to be American. Keep it under your hat : Phrases Meaning: Keep it secret. The man whose estate lies under his hat need never tremble before the frowns of fortune. He suggested that it is from this that we get the expression keep it under your hat. To start with, how the meaning of the idiom developed is hardly obvious. Other words sites Previous Page. On first hearing this seems a rather strange phrase. var ch_selected=Math.floor((Math.random()*ch_queries.length)); var ch_queries = new Array( ); This is the first example I’ve found in exactly that form: If you do not wish to have your name as informant mentioned in connection with the matter, nor any thing done about it at all, say so; at any rate, tell us where you know of a producer who is engaged in the mixing business, and we will keep it “under our hat” if you say so. Aunt Biddy said she couldn't possibly tell me the family secrets because she'd pledged on her mother's grave to keep them under her hat. Keep it under your hat is an admonishment to keep something secret. Nuttie ... was taking in all these revelations with an open-eyed, silent horror. What does keep under my hat expression mean? Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–.

For example. I’ve unearthed two other stories that try to explain the idiom. The Old Factory, A Lancashire Story, by W B Westall, 1881. ch_height = 250; The other relates to the ceremonial swordbearer of the Lord Mayor of London, a post that can be dated to 1420, who keeps the key to the Lord Mayor’s seal of office in a special pocket in his hat. ch_non_contextual = 4; ch_width = 550;

The essence of the metaphor, of course, is that information or ideas that are “under the hat” are in the brain and so are secure from any interception. It also seems to be American. ch_client = "Thangavel1"; var ch_queries = new Array( );

ch_color_site_link = "0D37FF"; ch_color_text = "0D3700"; The speculation is that putting an item under one's hat would be a way of hiding it. Origin: There are at least two theories about this idiom's origin. English archers would seem to have accumulated more than their share of such stories, such as their supposed popular taunt pluck yew that was combined with a particular obscene gesture to show the enemy that they still possessed the fingers with which to pull their bowstrings. //-->

What does keep under hat expression mean? ch_query = ch_queries[ch_selected];

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