Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mad as a hatter

One explanation. which is the most common one, dates from the early 1800s and alludes to exposure to the chemicals formerly used in making felt hats, which caused tremors and other nervous symptoms. (source)  
There is another explanation and it's the one I think makes more sense given the picture above. The variant, dating from the 16th century, alludes to the crazy behavior of hares during rutting season, mistakenly thought to be only in March. (source)

Of course, when Mad as a Hatter or Mad Hatter is uttered today most everyone thinks of The Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. And the character does exemplify what the modern use of the phrase is today - someone who is crazy whether in anger or in behavior. 

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