Are there any differences in the meaning of or when we use the idioms 'at the drop of a hat' and 'in no time'? The definitions in the Collins Dictionary are:

  • at the drop of a hat: If you say that you are ready to do something at the drop of a hat, you mean that you are willing to do it immediately, without hesitating.
  • in no time: very quickly; almost instantaneously
  • 3
    I could drive to London at the drop of a hat (just grabbing my car keys and putting my shoes on), but it would still take me four hours. Feb 18 at 20:12
  • 5
    At the drop of a hat implies spontaneity, not speed. Feb 18 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


Some difference. Both are exaggerations.

In no time means the action takes a very short time to perform. Even weeding for 2 hours could be "I'll have it done in no time."

At the drop of a hat means starting the action anytime, with even the smallest drop of reason or warning, like when the wind blows or a man tips his. Or drops it.

"So let me get right to the point, I don't pop my cork for every man I see." Sure she does - a dancehall girl is paid to "pop her cork" at the drop of a hat (mixed metaphor there).

  • 1
    When the wind blows? At the tip of his hat?
    – Lambie
    Feb 18 at 21:43

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