at the drop of a hat


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Related to at the drop of a hat: back to the drawing board, beat around the bush

at the drop of a hat

1. With little provocation. Don't let my mother watch any of those sappy movies—she cries at the drop of a hat.
2. Freely; immediately. I don't have any vacation time yet at my new job, so I can't just travel at the drop of a hat. I can always depend on my dad. Any time I need help, he's there at the drop of a hat.
See also: drop, hat, of

at the drop of a hat

Fig. immediately; instantly; on the slightest signal or urging. (Alludes to the dropping of a hat as a signal.) John was always ready to go fishing at the drop of a hat. If you need help, just call on me. I can come at the drop of a hat.
See also: drop, hat, of

at the drop of a hat

Immediately, without delay, as in We were ready to pack our bags and go on vacation at the drop of a hat. This phrase probably alludes to signaling the start of a race or other contest by dropping a hat. [Late 1800s]
See also: drop, hat, of

at the drop of a hat

COMMON If you do something at the drop of a hat, you do it willingly and without hesitation. More people should sort out their own minor problems and stop calling the police at the drop of a hat. There is a myth that we are an uncaring generation, shoving our old folk into institutions at the drop of a hat. Note: This expression is often used to suggest that someone does not think carefully enough about their actions. Note: In the early 19th century, boxing matches were often started by someone dropping a hat.
See also: drop, hat, of

at the drop of a hat

without delay or good reason. informal
1991 Independent These days Soviet visas are issued at the drop of a hat.
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at the ˌdrop of a ˈhat

(informal) immediately and without hesitating: He’s the sort of person who can sing any song at all at the drop of a hat.
See also: drop, hat, of

at the drop of a hat

1. Immediately; without delay: would sign the contract at the drop of a hat.
2. With only the slightest provocation: ready to argue at the drop of a hat.
See also: drop, hat, of

at the drop of a hat

At the slightest pretext or provocation.
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at the drop of a hat

At once, without delay. It is thought to come from the practice of dropping or waving a hat as a starting signal for a race, fight, or other event. The phrase also has come to mean “without further encouragement.” The British composers Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, known for their humorous songs and revues, told their friends they could be persuaded to sing their songs “at the drop of a hat,” which in the mid-1950s became the title of their first record album, followed by At the Drop of Another Hat. The term has been a cliché since the mid-1900s.
See also: drop, hat, of