We have commonly come across the saying, “I will eat my hat,” which is used by an individual when he/she is sure that something will not take place. But did you ever feel curious about the origin of this common saying? Maybe not! According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase was used as an example in a book named Homer Travestie by Thomas Bridges, in 1762.
The phrase was used later also by a great novelist, Charles Dickens. To understand the origin and usage of this phrase, we need to look back at the history of this time.
We have seen that the phrase “I will eat my hat” was the first time used in 1762, but it was being confused with “I will eat Old Rowley’s hat,” which was used to refer King Charles II. It was even seen after King Charles’s death in ‘The Biographical History of England’ in 1775.
But you must be wondering why there is only specific mention of the king’s hat instead of, say, his underwear or his footwear. Well, this is much speculated to be due to the king’s fondness for fabulously flamboyant hats, which would be exceptionally difficult for a person to eat.
The phrase got popular and widespread acceptance in 1837 when Charles Dickens wrote a novel called ‘The Pickwick Papers’ in which he used the line “If I knew as little of life as that, I would eat my hat and swallow the buckle whole.”
There are many instances in the real world when people gave meaning to this phrase by actually doing it. For example, in 2014, a person had to eat a hat, i.e., he ate an entire cotton beanie on a sandwich after he said that he would eat the hat if the value of bitcoin fell. Another example was seen when an Atlanta Falcons fan ate a hat after losing his claim of Atlanta Falcons winning over Panthers in 2015.
Have a look at more of its instances. In essence, a British politician Lord Paddy Ashdown had to eat a chocolate cake shaped like a hat in an interview when his claim on the fairness of exit polls of a British election came false in reality. And during the very same meeting, another MP who put forward a similar claim had to eat a cake that was shaped like a kilt, as he promised he would eat a kilt if he were proven wrong. We would like to share a fascinating instance in which Werner Herzog, a renowned director, had to eat his shoe garnished with garlic and herbs prepared by his chef. When he failed to assert his claim that Errol Morris would not be able to finish the film ‘Heaven’s Gate.’