Created on 18 November 2014
Idiom
As mad as a Hatter
Meaning
completely mad / insane
As mad as a hatter
Origin
You may have heard of The Mad Hatter, who is one of the main characters in the story “Alice In Wonderland”, which was written by Lewis Carroll in 1885. He wears a tall top hat, says very strange things and spends his time at an everlasting tea party. However, the simile “as mad as a hatter” was used long before this story. A “hatter” is a person who makes hats and, in the past, hatters often used mercury in the manufacture of hats. Unfortunately, mercury poisoning can make a person go mad and many people who made hats in the 1700s and 1800s went mad in this way.
Examples
“If the Prime Minister thinks that people will be happy to pay higher taxes, he must be as mad as a hatter

“If you try to start a conversation with a stranger on the London Tube, they look at you as if you were as mad as a hatter.”

“My old dog was as mad as a hatter – he was scared of cats, but he loved to chase motorbikes.”

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