mad as a hatter

Idioms & Phrases

mad as a hatter

Also, mad as a March hare. Crazy, demented, as in She is throwing out all his clothes; she's mad as a hatter. This expression, dating from the early 1800s, alludes to exposure to the chemicals formerly used in making felt hats, which caused tremors and other nervous symptoms. The variant, dating from the 14th century, alludes to the crazy behavior of hares during rutting season, mistakenly thought to be only in March.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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