pass the hat


Ask for financial contributions, as in Let's pass the hat so we can get her a nice going-away gift. This expression alludes to the actual practice of passing a hat around a gathering, but it is also used more figuratively, as in The board decided to pass the hat again among the corporate sponsors. [Late 1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.