pass the hat

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From the practice of placing money in a hat circulated to collect funds from a small group.


pass the hat (third-person singular simple present passes the hat, present participle passing the hat, simple past and past participle passed the hat)

  1. (idiomatic) To ask for money, especially from a group of people; to solicit donations or contributions.
    • 1885, Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn, ch. 20:
      Then somebody sings out, "Take up a collection for him, take up a collection!" Well, a half a dozen made a jump to do it, but somebody sings out, "Let HIM pass the hat around!"
    • 2008 Dec. 5, Martha Ann Overland, "In Asia, American-Style Fund Raising Takes Off," Chronicle of Higher Education (retrieved 11 Dec. 2008):
      The institutions are opening development offices, hiring professional fund raisers, investing in slick billion-dollar campaigns, and trotting out their presidents to pass the hat.


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