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

Although the meanings of the words in them do not make any sense when examined one by one, the word groups that are shaped according to the cultural roots of the language and that make sense as a whole are called idioms. keep sth under one's hat meaning, in what situations is it used?

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

From One Language to Another: Idioms in Translation

Translating idioms from one language to another can be a tricky task, as the cultural context behind an idiom can be difficult to capture. For example, the French phrase "avoir le cafard" translates to "to have the cockroach," which means to feel down or depressed. Similarly, the Chinese idiom "????" (j?ng d? zh? w?) translates to "frog at the bottom of a well," which refers to someone with a narrow view of the world.


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