eat one's hat, to(redirected from to eat one's hat)
eat one's hat
Fig. a phrase telling the kind of thing that one would do if a very unlikely event really happens. If we get there on time, I'll eat my hat. I'll eat my hat if you get a raise. He said he'd eat his hat if she got elected.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
eat one's hat
Declare one's certainty that something will not happen or is untrue. This hyperbolic expression almost always follows an if-clause, as in If he's on time, I'll eat my hat, that is, "I'll consume my headgear if I'm wrong." Charles Dickens used it in Pickwick Papers (1837): "If I knew as little of life as that, I'd eat my hat and swallow the buckle whole." [First half of 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
eat one's hat, to
To declare one’s readiness to consume one’s headgear if a statement should prove false, an event should not occur, and so on. The likelihood of actually doing so is presumably very remote, which is the very analogy being drawn (to a statement’s being false, an event not occurring, and so on). The expression appeared in Dickens’s Pickwick Papers (1836), in the words of one clerical gentleman, “Well if I knew as little of life as that, I’d eat my hat and swallow the buckle whole.”
See also: eat
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer