"tinfoil hat brigade"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Feb 1 14:09:39 UTC 2006

FWIW, my first encounter with the phrase and concept "tinfoil hat" was within the past few years, possibly only since 2000.  FWIW, I've never seen anyone wearing a tinfoil hat.


"Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Douglas G. Wilson"
Subject: Re: "tinfoil hat brigade"

>TIN HAT BRIGADE--313 Google hits
>TINFOIL HAT BRIGADE--11,100 Google hits\
> ...
>The "tinfoil hat brigade" just came up. Anyone have anything on this? OED
>has no hits for "hat brigade."
>I don't think these are synonymous. "Tin hat" suggests mock or play
>soldiers, but "tinfoil hat" I think usually is meant to allude to paranoia
>(a reference to the foil's capacity to ward off endangering rays of some
>sort). The contexts should either support or refute this view.

I agree. "Tinfoil hat", also "aluminum foil hat" would probably refer to
either a mental disorder or an eccentric belief. The hat would supposedly
be designed to prevent either the remote control or the reading of the
wearer's mind, or perhaps brain damage from cosmic rays, UFO weapons,
cell-phone emanations, or the like.

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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