at the drop a hat


a small quantity of liquid that falls or is produced in a more or less spherical mass; a liquid globule.
the quantity of liquid contained in such a globule.
a very small quantity of liquid: I'll have a little more tea, just a drop.
a minute quantity of anything: not even a drop of mercy.
Usually, drops.
liquid medicine given in a dose or form of globules from a medicine dropper.
a solution for dilating the pupils of the eyes, administered to the eyes in globules by a medicine dropper.
a limited amount of an alcoholic beverage: He occasionally takes a drop after dinner.
an act or instance of dropping; fall; descent.
the distance or depth to which anything drops: a ten-foot drop to the ground.
a steep slope: a short drop to the lake.
a decline in amount, degree, quality, value, etc.: a drop in prices.
a small, usually spherical, piece of candy; lozenge: a lemon drop.
a central depository where items are left or transmitted: a mail drop.
a predesignated place where secret letters or packages can be left to be picked up by another person without attracting attention, as in espionage or drug dealing.
something resembling or likened to a liquid globule, as certain ornaments, a spherical earring, etc.
a pendant.
a descent by parachute.
an instance of dropping supplies by parachute or an amount of supplies so dropped.
something that drops or is used for dropping.
a group of persons dropped by parachute, as the personnel dropped by parachute during one military action.
a gallows.
a slit or opening into which something can be dropped, as in a mailbox.
(in a casino) the income from the sale of chips.
a small flag, usually of enameled metal, that gives a visual signal in an annunciator.
Furniture. an applied ornament resembling a pendant.
Architecture, gutta ( def 2 ).
Nautical. the vertical dimension amidships of any sail that is bent to a standing yard. Compare hoist ( def 6a ).
Also called drop panel. (in reinforced-concrete-slab construction) a thickened portion of the ceiling around a column head.
Horology. the free motion of an escape wheel between successive checks by the pallet.
the newborn young of an animal.
verb (used without object), dropped or dropt, dropping.
to fall in globules or small portions, as water or other liquid: Rain drops from the clouds.
to fall vertically; have an abrupt descent.
to sink or fall to the ground, floor, or bottom as if inanimate.
to fall lower in condition, degree, value, etc.; diminish or lessen; sink: The prices dropped sharply.
to come to an end; cease; lapse: There the matter dropped.
to fall or move to a position that is lower, farther back, inferior, etc.: to drop back in line; to drop to the rear.
to withdraw; quit (often followed by out or from ): to drop out of a race; to drop from a game.
to pass or enter without effort into some condition, activity, or the like: to drop into sleep; to drop into a habit.
to make an unexpected or unannounced stop at a place; pay an informal visit or call (usually followed by in, by, or over ): Since we're in the neighborhood, why don't we drop in at my brother's?
to cease to appear or be seen; vanish: to drop from sight or notice.
to fall wounded, dead, etc.: A thousand men dropped in the battle.
to squat or crouch, as a dog at the sight of game.
to move gently, as with the tide or a light wind (usually followed by down ).
Slang. to ingest an illicit drug orally; swallow.
verb (used with object), dropped or dropt, dropping.
to let fall in drops or small portions: to drop lemon juice into tea.
to let or cause to fall.
to cause or allow to sink to a lower position.
to cause to decrease in value, amount, quality, etc.; reduce.
to utter or express casually or incidentally: to drop a hint.
to write and send: Drop me a note.
to bring to the ground by a blow or shot.
to set down or unload, as from a ship, car, etc. (often followed by off ): Drop me at the corner.
to omit (a letter or syllable) in pronunciation or writing: He dropped his h's.
to lower (the voice) in pitch or loudness.
to cease to keep up or have to do with: I dropped the subject. will you drop your old friends if you win the lottery?
to cease to employ, admit as a member, or include, as on a list; dismiss: to drop an accountant from the payroll; to drop three members of the club who have not paid their dues.
to withdraw or cease to pursue: The police dropped the charges against the suspect.
to throw, shoot, hit, kick, or roll (a ball, puck, etc.) through or into a basket, hole, or other goal: He dropped the ball through the basket for two points.
to lose (a game or contest): They dropped two games in a row and were eliminated from the tournament.
to drop-kick (a ball).
to score with a drop kick.
(of animals) to give birth to: The cat dropped a litter of six kittens.
to parachute (persons, supplies, etc.): The Marines dropped 300 combat troops into the jungle battlefield.
to lengthen by lowering or letting out: to drop the hem of a skirt.
to lower (the wheels) into position for landing an airplane.
Slang. to take (especially an illicit drug) by swallowing; ingest: to drop LSD.
Nautical. to pass out of sight of; outdistance.
Cookery. to poach (an egg).
Verb phrases
drop behind, to fall short of the required pace or progress: Her long illness caused her to drop behind the rest of the class.
drop off,
to fall asleep.
to decrease; decline: Sales have dropped off drastically.
drop out,
to withdraw from being a member or participant: to drop out of a club; to drop out of society and become a wanderer.
to stop attending school or college.
at the drop of a hat, at the slightest provocation or without delay: He's ready to fight at the drop of a hat.
drop dead, (used as an expression of contempt, disgust, impatience, etc.): If that's the way you feel about it, drop dead!
drop in the bucket. bucket ( def 13 ).
get / have the drop on,
to aim and be ready to shoot a gun at an antagonist before the other person's gun can be drawn.
to get or have at a disadvantage.

before 1000; (noun) Middle English drop(e) drop of liquid, Old English dropa; (v.) Middle English droppen, Old English droppian; akin to drip, droop

droplike, adjective
undropped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source Link To at the drop a hat
World English Dictionary
drop (drɒp)
1.  a small quantity of liquid that forms or falls in a spherical or pear-shaped mass; globule
2.  a very small quantity of liquid
3.  a very small quantity of anything
4.  something resembling a drop in shape or size, such as a decorative pendant or small sweet
5.  the act or an instance of falling; descent
6.  a decrease in amount or value; slump: a drop in prices
7.  the vertical distance that anything may fall
8.  a steep or sheer incline or slope
9.  short for fruit drop
10.  the act of unloading troops, equipment, or supplies by parachute
11.  (in cable television) a short spur from a trunk cable that feeds signals to an individual house
12.  theatre See drop curtain
13.  trap door another word for gallows
14.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) a slot or aperture through which an object can be dropped to fall into a receptacle
15.  nautical Compare hoist the midships height of a sail bent to a fixed yard
16.  slang (Austral) cricket a fall of the wicket: he came in at first drop
17.  See drop shot
18.  a drop in the bucket, a drop in the ocean an amount very small in relation to what is needed or desired
19.  at the drop of a hat without hesitation or delay
20.  have had a drop too much to be drunk
21.  (US), (NZ) have the drop on someone to have the advantage over someone
vb (sometimes foll by into) , drops, dropping, dropped
22.  (of liquids) to fall or allow to fall in globules
23.  to fall or allow to fall vertically
24.  (tr) to allow to fall by letting go of
25.  to sink or fall or cause to sink or fall to the ground, as from a blow, wound, shot, weariness, etc
26.  (intr; foll by back, behind, etc) to fall, move, or go in a specified manner, direction, etc
27.  informal (intr; foll by in, by, etc) to pay a casual visit (to)
28.  to decrease or cause to decrease in amount or value: the cost of living never drops
29.  to sink or cause to sink to a lower position, as on a scale
30.  to make or become less in strength, volume, etc
31.  (intr) to sink or decline in health or condition
32.  to pass easily into a state or condition: to drop into a habit
33.  (intr) to move along gently as with a current of water or air
34.  (tr) to allow to pass casually in conversation: to drop a hint
35.  (tr) to leave out (a word or letter)
36.  (tr) to set down or unload (passengers or goods)
37.  (tr) to send or post: drop me a line
38.  (tr) to discontinue; terminate: let's drop the matter
39.  (tr) to cease to associate or have to do with
40.  slang chiefly (US) (tr) to cease to employ: he was dropped from his job
41.  informal (tr; sometimes foll by in, off, etc) to leave or deposit, esp at a specified place
42.  (of animals) to give birth to (offspring)
43.  slang chiefly (US), (Canadian) to lose (money), esp when gambling
44.  (tr) to lengthen (a hem, etc)
45.  (tr) to unload (troops, equipment, or supplies) by parachute
46.  (tr) nautical to leave behind; sail out of sight of
47.  (tr) sport to omit (a player) from a team
48.  (tr) to lose (a score, game, or contest): the champion dropped his first service game
49.  (tr) sport to hit or throw (a ball) into a goal: he dropped a 30 foot putt
50.  (tr) to hit (a ball) with a drop shot
51.  nautical drop astern to fall back to the stern (of another vessel)
52.  slang (tr) motor racing to spin (the car) and (usually) crash out of the race
53.  slang (tr) to swallow (a drug, esp a barbiturate or LSD)
54.  slang drop dead! an exclamation of contempt
n, —vb
55.  rugby short for drop kick or drop-kick
[Old English dropian; related to Old High German triofan to drip]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. dropa, from P.Gmc. drupon, from PIE *dhreub-. Meaning "lozenge, hard candy" is 1723. The verb (O.E.) originally meant "fall in drops;" transitive sense "allow to fall" is mid-14c. Related: Dropped; dropping. Drop in the bucket (late 14c.) is from Isa. ix.15 [K.J.V.]. Exclamation drop dead is from
1934; as an adj. meaning "stunning, excellent" it is first recorded 1970. At the drop of a hat "suddenly" is from 1854; drop-in "casual visit" is 1819; drop-kick is 1857.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

drop (drŏp)

  1. The smallest quantity of liquid heavy enough to fall in a spherical mass.

  2. A volume of liquid equal to 1/76 of a teaspoon and regarded as a unit of dosage for medication.

  3. A small globular piece of candy, usually readily dissolved in the mouth.

v. dropped, drop·ping, drops
To fall, be dispensed, or poured in drops.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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