Tip one’s hat and tip one’s cap

| Grammarist

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| Idiom

Tip one’s hat and tip one’s cap are two versions of an idiom that has been in use for hundreds of years. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idioms tip one’s hat or tip one’s cap, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences.

To tip one’s hat and tip one’s cap means to give praise or show respect for something or someone. The idioms tip one’s hat and tip one’s cap came from the practice of tipping the brim of one’s hat down as a show of respect. In time, the practice became a metaphor for showing respect and came into use in the latter 19th century. Related phrases are tips one’s hat, tipped one’s hat, tipping one’s hat, tips one’s cap, tipped one’s cap, tipping one’s cap.


I tip my hat to the Idaho lawmakers who are doing everything they can to keep social justice ideology/critical race theory out of our education system. (Post Register)

I tip my hat to those working hard to build standards and ratings who are growing alliances and organizations dedicated to working toward much-needed common standards for ESG, such as the Global Sustainability Standards Board, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and firms such as KPMG, McKinsey, and Deloitte. (Barron’s)

“Coffeyville has a great team and I tip my cap to them.” (Ponca City News)

“I really tip my cap to both of you for developing a budget with such a minimal tax increase in some uncertain times,” Warner told the two during the meeting. (Great Neck News)

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