at the drop of a hat
- at the slightest signal
- immediately, without delay
- without any hesitation
- without any planning and for no obvious reason
- We now have a situation where laws are bent at the drop of a hat.
- Dustin was always ready to go fishing at the drop of a hat.
- If you need help, just call on Mike. He can come at the drop of a hat.
- I can’t go rushing off to Edinburgh at the drop of a hat.
- She’d purchase her expensive jewelry at the drop of a hat and worry about how she would pay for it later.
- We’re expected to just do it at the drop of a hat – no notice or anything. It’s disgraceful.
- People will file lawsuits at the drop of a hat these days.
- I’d quit my job at the drop of a hat if I didn’t have a family to support.
- That girl is so emotional; she’ll start crying at the drop of a hat.
This phrase probably alludes to signalling the start of a race, fight or other contest by dropping a hat. [Late 1800s]
The earliest reference could be found from a hearing on a bankruptcy law from an 1837 Register of Debates in Congress, see this snap shot below: