“I’ll eat my hat” is a phrase people use when they are almost certain that something will happen.
When someone is confident in a specific outcome, they may use sayings like this to show how sure they are.
Example: The Chicago Bulls are a great team, so there’s no way they will lose to the Pistons today. Why, I’ll eat my hat if that happens!
The Origin Of “I’ll Eat My Hat”
I’ll Eat My Hat! Should You Really Do That, Though?
Speaking in a literal sense, would you really want to eat the hat you’re wearing? I wouldn’t think so, considering they are made from materials such as cotton, linen, and leather; none of which sound particularly appetizing. Moreover, consuming a hat could potentially be dangerous, and it probably wouldn’t taste very good either.
For instance, many hats are made from leather, a material that goes through a tanning process where it’s treated with various chemicals that help strengthen it. These chemicals do their job of increasing the leather’s durability, but they are definitely not something you would want inside of your body. Moreover, since leather is so tough, imagine the amount of chewing that would need to be done in order to eat a leather hat. That will tire out your jaw real quick. In short, don’t eat your hat, it’s dangerous to do so. Just leave the thing on your head.
Indeed, nobody really wants to eat their hat. That’s why this expression is only said when a person is feeling extremely confident about something.
This phrase makes an early appearance in several newspapers from the 19th century, one of them being the Iowa South West from the city of Bedford, 1876:
“‘If you are not Joe Kirby,’ he said, ‘I will eat my hat-I mean, of course-‘
Come, this is trifling. I say that you mistook me for some one else. What makes you think me Joe Kirby?’
‘Because you are.’ “
So this expression is at least over 140 years old.
Examples of “I’ll Eat My Hat”
Here are two examples of this phrase used in sentences:
- Susan is going to the dentist tomorrow. I know that she takes good care of her teeth, so I’ll eat my hat if she has a cavity!
- I challenged the fastest runner at school to a race. My friends hope I’m victorious, but they also said that they will eat their hats if I somehow manage to win the race tomorrow.
Note: Sometimes the origin of a phrase is unknown. The best we can do in such cases is to post any plausible theories on the idiom’s page. If no such theory exists, then you can still find a quote containing the earliest appearance of the phrase in print. These quotes can give you an idea on how old it is.
Anyways, if you liked what you read here, there are hundreds more popular expressions on here. We have an alphabetical list right at the top.