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hatband


This from the Word Detective:
"...but I'd hazard a guess that it was somewhere in the South, for "tight as
Dick's hatband" is primarily a Southern expression here in the U.S. I say
"here in the U.S." because, according to Robert Hendrickson's "Whistling
Dixie, A Dictionary of Southern Expressions" (Pocket Books, $12.95), the
phrase actually originated in Great Britain. The "Dick" in question was
probably Oliver Cromwell's son Richard (1626-1712), who succeeded his father
as ruler of England. Richard's brief reign, a matter of only seven months
ending in his abdication, made him the object of popular contempt and the
butt of many jokes. The unfortunate Dick's "hatband" was his crown, and the
"tightness" was the discomfort and apprehension he was presumed to have
felt. Variants on the joke at the time included another phrase sometimes
still heard, "queer as Dick's hatband," referring to the preposterous course
of Richard's reign.

"Tight as Dick's hatband" made the leap across the Atlantic and took up
residence in the American South, where, the Cromwell saga being largely
unknown, it was taken as a folk expression denoting extreme tightness or,
sometimes, stinginess."

Kitty
neIN, Z5

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