To throw one's hat in the ring - Idiom of the Week

To throw one's hat in the ring - Idiom of the Week

Looks like you’re throwing your hat in the ring for the challenge of learning American English idioms! Welcome!


As defined in Linda and Roger Flavell’s book Dictionary of Idioms and Their Origins, “to throw one’s hat in the ring” is an idiom that means “to issue a challenge; to proclaim one’s candidacy” (page 150).


“My hat’s in the ring. The fight is on and I’m stripped to the buff.” – Theodore Roosevelt, February 21, 1912, Cleveland, Ohio


In the beginning of the 19th century, anyone that wanted to challenge a boxer to a gloveless or bare-knuckled fight would physically throw their hat into the boxing ring. This would capture the attention of the onlookers.

The phrase then evolved to a more general climate, applying to contests or competitions of various kinds, most specifically political candidacy (page 150).