:"Mad as a hatter" redirects here. For the Batman episode, see ."

A hatter is a maker or seller of hats. Milliners are a category of hatters who design women's hats.

Mad as a hatter

The origin of the proverbial expression mad as a hatter is uncertain. It may derive from: ["Why Do We Say ...?", Nigel Rees, 1987, ISBN 0-7137-1944-3]

* An incidence of nominalization of the verb hatter, which means "To harass; to weary; to wear out with fatigue." according to Samuel Johnson's "A Dictionary of the English Language" published in 1755. In the text he cites a passage from the work of John Dryden as an example of usage: "He's "hatter'd" out with pennance." [Johnson, Samuel. "A Dictionary of the English Language": An Anthology. David Crystal, ed. (London: Penguin, 2005), 289 ISBN 0-141-44157-7]
* Robert Crab, a 17th century eccentric who gave all his goods to the poor and lived on leaves and grass.
* Mercury poisoning suffered by hatters in the 18th century and 19th century, when mercury was used in the manufacture of felt. Absorption of mercury through the skin can cause Korsakoff's syndrome.
* An adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon word "atter" meaning poison, closely related to the word "adder" for the poisonous Crossed Viper. Lexicographers William and Mary Morris in "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" (1977) favour this derivation because "mad as a hatter" was known before hat making was a recognized trade.
*Lewis Carroll used the phrase for the character of The Hatter in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". This character is also known as "The Mad Hatter". Although eccentric, the Mad Hatter does not exhibit symptoms of mercury poisoning. [cite journal |journal= Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) |date=1983 |volume=287 |issue=6409 |pages=1961 |title= Did the Mad Hatter have mercury poisoning? |author= Waldron HA |pmid=6418283 |url=http://pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1550196&pageindex=1]

Other uses

* Stockport County Football Club (Stockport, Greater Manchester, England) are commonly known as "The Hatters" due to the hatting industry in the town, this nickname also being shared by Luton Town Football Club. A meeting of the two sides often is billed as "The Hatters Derby".
* Students who attend Hatboro-Horsham School District are known as Hatters. This refers to Hatboro's history of hat production.
* Danbury, Connecticut's Danbury High School's mascot is the Hatter because Danbury was the hat center of the world from the 19th century to about the early 20th century. Danbury's professional hockey team is known as the Mad Hatters.
*Batman's rogues gallery includes Jervis Tetch, a delusional man obsessed with hats. He named and stylized himself after "the Mad Hatter" from Carroll's stories due to his own insanity, a pronounced fixation on the Alice in Wonderland stories, and a lifelong fascination with hats of all shapes and forms. His crimes usually include mind control devices placed within some form of headwear.

ee also

* "Hatter's Castle"
* Mad Hatter
* Mad Hatter (comics)
* Mad Hatter (Bank Robber)


External links

* [http://www.snopes.com/language/phrases/hatter.htm "Mad as a Hatter" at Urban Legends]
* [http://www.quinion.com/words/qa/qa-mad2.htm Questions & Answers: Mad as a Hatter]
* [http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/mad-as-a-hatter.html "As mad as a hatter" at Phrasefinder]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hatter — Hat ter ( t[ e]r), v. t. [Prov. E., to entangle; cf. LG. verhaddern, verheddern, verhiddern.] To tire or worry; with out. [Obs.] Dryden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hatter — Hat ter, n. One who makes or sells hats. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hatter — late 14c., from HAT (Cf. hat) + ER (Cf. er) (1) …   Etymology dictionary

  • hatter — [hat′ər] n. a person who makes, sells, or cleans hats, esp. men s hats …   English World dictionary

  • Hatter — This name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century haet meaning a hat and was originally given either as an occupational name to a maker or seller of hats, or as a topographical name to one resident by a hat shaped hill. One, Roger Hat was… …   Surnames reference

  • hatter — UK [ˈhætə(r)] / US [ˈhætər] noun [countable] Word forms hatter : singular hatter plural hatters someone who makes and sells hats • See: mad …   English dictionary

  • hatter — I. /ˈhætə / (say hatuh) noun 1. a maker or seller of hats. –phrase 2. mad as a hatter, very eccentric; crazy. {Phrase Origin: from the time when hat makers worked with mercury, mercury poisoning causing brain disorders} II. /ˈhætə / (say hatuh)… …   Australian-English dictionary

  • hatter — See: MAD AS A HATTER …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • hatter — See: MAD AS A HATTER …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • hatter — hatter1 /hat euhr/, n. a maker or seller of hats. [1350 1400; ME; see HAT, ER1] hatter2 /hat euhr/, n. Australian Informal. 1. a person who has become eccentric from living alone in a remote area. 2. a person who lives alone in the bush, as a… …   Universalium

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