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English around the world: as mad as a hatter

In diesem Beitrag aus unserer Rubrik „English around the world“ widmen wir uns verrückten Hutmachern – ja, ganz genau wie der bekannteste dieser Art aus Alice im Wunderland. Die Redewendung ist jedoch schon etwas älter. Lesen Sie mehr …

By Carol Richards

“He is as mad as a hatter”


To be “as mad as a hatter” has nothing to do with the Mad hatter from ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ The idiom comes from the 18th and 19th centuries when toxic mercury nitrate was used to turn fur into felt, which was then used to make hats. Because hatters (the people who make hats) were constantly exposed to mercury while making hats, they developed the symptoms of mercury poisoning, which included nervousness, memory problems, mood changes, and hallucinations.