As Mad as a Hatter
Meaning: Totally crazy.
Possible origin: Rabbit pelts were treated to make the soft, mat felt from which hats were made. The treatment involved using a heated solution of mercury nitrate. Unfortunately, 19th century hat makers didn’t realise that this solution was poisoning them. It affected their nervous system and, because of the tremors they experienced, the poor hatters were soon thought to be mad. The most famous mad hatter is the fictional one in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
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