Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pedants' Corner

There are hat-tips everywhere these days, with this person hat-tipping that person, and that person hat-tipping another person, and that other person hat-tipping several of their friends, who all tip their hats back. As a matter of fact, hat-tipping has to be one of the single most over-used items of internet vocabulary.

But the question is, what hat is being used and how is the tipping done?

As to the hat, is it a dashing boater, or a casual cap, or a regal tiara, or a generous Fedora? Is it a formal hat, like a Yarmulke, or a hat signifying military rank, such as a helmet; or a casual hat, such as a cap - is the hat-tip, in reality, a cap-tip? Is it long, like a top hat, or a chef's hat, or a witches or a dwarves hat; is it neat, like a bowler; or worn and tattered, like a much-loved beanie? Is it a Panama, a Stetson, an Akubra, a beret, a Porkpie, a Jester-hat, a Cloche, a bonnet, or a golf hat, a felt hat, or a straw hat?

And as to the tipping: is it a casual, quick doff; or a peremptory lift in acknowledgement of a person you neither like nor dislike; or is it merely a brief touch to the brim of your hat? Is it a gentlemanly bow, terminating in the sweeping of the hat from your head, scraping the ground in the process; or is it a single finger, cocking the brim of your hat to a slightly different angle, a fashionable sniff in the general direction of a person you do not care for? Is the hat tip a tilt, a flip, a dip, a lift, a flick, a sweep, or a knock? Is it, perhaps, the swooping of a Fez from your head in a ceremonial flourish, or the cheery elevation of a Trilby from your crown in acknowledgement of your friends and equals? Is the tip of the hat used to open a conversation, or close one?

Finally, and also importantly: in what circumstances is the hat being tipped? Is it at a tea-party, or in the jungle, is it being tipped while fighting ninjas in the streets of New York, or while at work in the office?

Different circumstances call for different tips of the hat to different people at different times.

After all, you wouldn't want to be fighting ninjas in the streets of New York while at the same time swooping a Fez from your head in ceremonial flourish, in cheery acknowledgement of your friends and equals. That would be astoundingly insensitive ...


Caz said...

Most important of all: is it okay to merely hat tip to the degree that one initially stumbled across something, which may be an overly generous gesture, or is one obliged to follow the path of hat tipping to the first degree of separation?

TimT said...

In some cases, this could take a while ...

tigtog said...

Most thought-provoking, Tim. I personally offer mostly an admiring dip o' the lid to folks who point out something interesting, and a proper doff o' the cap to folks who've written something extraodinarily well.

In my case, the lid/cap/hat is a cloche with a large diamante brooch holding a rakishly angled pheasant feather.

That's how I imagine it, anyway.

Splatterbottom said...

I thought Hat-Tippng is what johnny Raper did with his famous bowler.

TimT said...

Speaking of hat-tipping, maybe I should take the former off, and ask people to do some of the latter ... (which may or may not have been what you were talking about)

Email: timhtrain - at -

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