"In Your Hat"

In Hollywood’s Production Code instituted in the '30s, certain words or phrases were forbidden in movies. One of these was “in your hat.” What exactly did that expression mean? I suspect it was something akin to “up yours,” but can’t find a cite.

I don’t rightly know, but it sure reminds me of this joke, which suggests it may have been a standard insult:

Sean O’Malley comes home from a job interview and is looking a bit perplexed. He explains how the interview went well but he needs to have a physical and bring back a specimen to the nurse. “What’s a specimen?”, he asks his wife. “I don’t know, ask Mrs. O’Brien, she’s a nurse”. Sean says, “Oh no, she hates me, YOU go ask her.” Mrs. O’malley’s gone for quite a long time and when she appears in the doorway, her dress is torn and tattered, her face bruised, and her hair a total mess. O’Malley says, “In the name of St. Patrick what happened to ya?”. Mrs. O’Malley says “Well, I says to Mrs. O’Brien, Mrs. O’Brien, what’s a specimen? And she says, piss in a jar, and I says well shit in your hat and the fight was on!!!”

Google on “go shit in your hat” for more enlightenment. Apparently it is an old saying meaning about what you figured. I imagine it was shortened to “in your hat” for polite company, with the full meaning implicit and understood.

The expression only turns up in print in the 1920’s US. I know, I know, it certainly started before that. But not much evidence that the original was “shit in your hat.” At that time, the expression was the same as telling someone “baloney” or “applesauce” or “hooey.” This was the definition printed by Variety in 1927. An expression of incredulity or derision.

Thanks to Jon Lighter and The Historical Dictionary of American Slang for the above.

In “Run, Sammy, Run,” Bud Shulberg has Sammy Glick use an old (even in the 1930’s) insult “Go crap in your hat, jam it on your head and call it curls.”