What does the idiom "keep sth under one's hat" mean?

The expression keep sth under one's hat is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the keep sth under one's hat idiom.

Meaning of "keep sth under one's hat"


The idiom ‘keep something under one’s hat’ is used as an expression to describe when someone is keeping a secret and not sharing it with anyone else. The phrase suggests that the person carrying the secret is keeping it ‘under their hat’, never to be revealed. It is often used as an instruction to keep silent about a certain topic.


The phrase ‘keep something under one’s hat’ originated in the mid-19th century. Although the exact origin is unknown, it is thought to have come from the idea of someone keeping a hat over their face or head to cover the fact that they are talking about something secret. The phrase was popularized by the 1847 song ‘Keep That Under Your Hat’ by English singer-songwriter George Calvert. It has since become a popular phrase used in modern language.


The phrase ‘keep something under one’s hat’ can be used in a variety of situations. It is often used to remind people to not disclose information that is meant to be kept secret. It can also be used to suggest that someone should not speak too openly about a particular topic, in order to keep things private.

The phrase is also sometimes used as a warning to not discuss a certain topic or situation. In this way, it is often used as a form of deterrence, to keep people from revealing something that they should not.

Example Sentences

  • “Don’t tell anyone about this, just keep it under your hat.”
  • “I know the details of the merger but I’m going to have to keep it under my hat until the time is right.”
  • “We need to keep this conversation under our hats. No one else needs to know.”
  • “Let’s keep this plan under our hats until we know it’s going to work.”
  • “You can trust me

The meanings of the words in the "keep sth under one's hat" idiom

Idioms have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


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