hat in hand


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Related to hat in hand: tip my hat

(with) hat in hand

Fig. with humility. (Fig. on the image of someone standing, respectfully, in front of a powerful person, asking for a favor.) She stormed off but came back with hat in hand when she ran out of money. We had to go hat in hand to the committee to get a grant for our proposal.
See also: hand, hat

hat in hand

also cap in hand
with an attitude of respect for someone powerful The Secretary of Defense must go to Congress, hat in hand, to get approval to close military bases.
Usage notes: said about someone who is hoping to get something they want
Etymology: based on the custom of men removing their hats to show respect, and on the idea that people beg (ask for money) by holding out a hat
See also: hand, hat

hat in hand

Also, cap in hand. In a humble manner. For example, They went to her, hat in hand, asking for a change of assignment. This expression alludes to removing one's headgear as a sign of respect and has survived the era of doffing one's hat. [c. 1700]
See also: hand, hat

hat in hand

In a humble manner; humbly.
See also: hand, hat