If you can’t fight, wear a big hat. Does anyone know the origin of this expression?

My father used to say this and I have inherited it. Love it and usually apply it to jobsworths. But where did it originate?

7 Answers

  • ?
    1 month ago

    The New Testament..Matthew 1 not an accurate quote but something like this.. Job begat Jobe, jobe begat Sahrah,and Ishmael, Ishmael begat Simon..etc. everyone seems to begatting, so, if you can`t fight..get a big hat

  • Matt
    6 days ago

    I once heard an interview with Michael Caine, the English actor. He explained that when he was a lad in London in the 30s and 40s, some of the local toughs would sew razor blades into the bills of their hats to use as a weapon to slap others during fights. Out of that, claims Caine, came the phrase, if you can’t fight, wear a big hat.

    1 month ago

    I heard a friend say it in the sixties. He was a bit the worse for drink and was approached by a policeman in the town centre who asked him to move on. He said “If you can’t fight wear a funny hat” I don’t know what happened after that as I ran away!!

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    The only definite source I can find attributes it to George Santayana, the Spanish philosopher. That sounds a little tenuous to me. Probably the origin is not known, but the consensus seems to be that it’s a Spanish proverb. Do you have Spanish background?

  • nv jack
    1 month ago

    Never heard that one,and I have heard a lot of them.Good luck on finding out where it came from, and what does it mean,maybe your dad just said it because.

    Sorry I couldn’t answer your question,but I had too say something about it. Again,good luck.

  • Marion G
    6 days ago

    It could be possibly be a Rounghead saying scorning Cavaliers !

  • Chris
    5 days ago

    My dad also used to say this and I never really knew what he meant 🙂

    His other classics were “suffering catfish” and ” well I ll go to the foot of the stairs”

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