put one's name in the hat

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the informal practice of putting ballots into a hat, and then drawing a single ballot from the hat at random to decide the winner. When one put one's own name on a ballot in the hat, one would therefore be eligible to win.

Verb[edit]

put (some)one's name in the hat

  1. (idiomatic) To run in an election or to nominate oneself for consideration in some other selection process; to nominate someone other than oneself for such consideration.
    • 1996, Lillian Smith, How Am I to Be Heard?: Letters of Lillian Smith, Margaret Rose Gladney (ed.), ISBN 9780807845806, p. 118:
      [H]e would not embarrass his friends by running. So they rose up and put his name in the hat—which is exactly what I expected them to do.
    • 2006 May 14, Brian Wise, "A Free Ride at Yale? Where Do I Sign Up?," New York Times (retrieved 16 June 2011):
      "Most students now think to themselves: ‘How can I not apply to Yale?’" he said. "You just have to put your name in the hat."
    • 2009 Oct. 17, "Astros interview ex-manager Garner for vacancy," USA Today (retrieved 16 June 2011):
      "That's why I decided to put my name in the hat and see if there's a fit here."

Usage notes[edit]

  • Usually used to refer to a situation in which one nominates oneself, but sometimes used to refer to nominations of one person by others (as in the 1996 quotation above).

Synonyms[edit]