pass the hat, to

pass the hat (around) (to someone)

Fig. to collect donations of money from people. (Could also be literal.) Jerry passed the hat around to all the other workers. He passed around the hat to everyone. I'll pass the hat around.
See also: hat, pass

pass the hat

Ask for financial contributions, as in Let's pass the hat so we can get her a nice going-away gift. This expression alludes to the actual practice of passing a hat around a gathering, but it is also used more figuratively, as in The board decided to pass the hat again among the corporate sponsors. [Late 1800s]
See also: hat, pass

pass the hat

or

pass the hat around

If people pass the hat or pass the hat around, they collect money for someone or something. The United States is also passing the hat among rich countries to help to pay for our military effort. We should all pass the hat around for poor old Bernie and his charming wife. Note: The image here is of people using a hat to collect money in.
See also: hat, pass

pass the hat

To take up a collection of money.
See also: hat, pass

pass the hat, to

To take up a collection; to ask for contributions. Presumably this term has a very literal origin: hats were and occasionally still are passed around a gathering where those present are asked to put in some money; the practice probably originated with street minstrels. In Britain it was, from the mid-nineteenth century, often put as send round the hat or go round with the hat. James Russell Lowell wrote: “Passing round the hat in Europe and America” (Among My Books, 1870).
See also: pass