AE 375 – Expression: To Throw Your Hat Into The Ring

Learn Australian English in this expression episode of The Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression TO THROW YOUR HAT INTO THE RING like a native!

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AE 375 – Expression:

To Throw Your Hat In The Ring

But seriously, Nev, like, how (are) you holding for cash? I’m a bit bloody broke.

Listen, mate. What are you talking about?


There’s no cash here. Here, there’s no cash. Alright? Cash, no. Robbo?

No cash.

Oh! G’day, guys! What’s going on?

That was a scene from the movie Chopper.

“So, cash? No cash. Here, no cash. Robbo? No cash.”

It’s a classic one, guys. That is probably the most famous scene from that film. Every Australian is going to know what you’re talking about if you say, “No cash! Here, no cash.” So, it’s a classic. I really recommend that you go and check out the movie Chopper, which is about a famous Australian convicted criminal and gang member known as Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read.

The movie was filmed in the year 2000, and it stars one of Australia’s most famous actors Eric Bana. So, you might know this guy from more recent Hollywood films, but he’s one of my favourite Australian actors. He’s is absolutely brilliant, and he nails, he absolutely nails the mannerisms and the way that Chopper speaks in this movie. So, check it out. Chopper. (It’s a) great movie about the Australian underworld in the 1980s and the 1990s in Melbourne.

Alright, guys. So, welcome to the Aussie English podcast, the number one Australian English podcast that is specifically designed to teach you Aussie English. Whether you want to understand Australian English, whether you want to speak like an Aussie English speaker, this podcast is the podcast for you. And it’s brought to you by The Aussie English classroom. This is the product that I sell guys that is the way in which I make a crust, I earn a living, and I can better help you improve your Aussie English when you sign up and give it a go. So, you get exercises learning phrasal verbs, learning Australian slang, listening comprehension, pronunciation, grammar, all that jazz, and you can try it for one dollar for your first month. It’s incredibly affordable after that. It’s about the cost of a coffee per week. So, get in there and give it a go, guys. The link will be in the transcript.

Aussie Joke:

Anyway, let’s get into today’s joke. So, today’s Australian joke, guys, is what is the difference between an Aussie wedding and an Aussie funeral? Okay? What’s the difference between an Aussie wedding and an Aussie funeral? The difference is that there’s one less drunk at the funeral. Do you get it? There’s one less drunk at the funeral, because he’s dead, or she’s dead. So, there’s one less person who is intoxicated with alcohol, who’s drunk, at the funeral, because unfortunately they’re in the casket, they’re in the coffin, they’re dead.

So, that is another example of Australian humour where we’re poking fun at ourselves, we’re taking the piss out of ourselves, we’re taking the Mickey out of ourselves, because we don’t take ourselves that seriously.

Anyway. I hope you like that joke. It’s a bit of a dad joke, but it’s funny nonetheless.

Today’s Expression:

So, today’s expression, todays expression is, “to throw your hat into the ring”, “to throw your hat into the ring.” This one was suggested by Jangsher. So, thank you Jangsher who suggested this in the Aussie English Virtual Classroom Facebook Group. You guys can jump in there. Every Monday we suggest new expressions and then everyone votes on those expressions. And the winner is the one that I do for the weekend.


So, let’s go through and define the words in the expression “to throw your hat into the ring”, “to throw your hat into the ring.

So, “to throw”, the verb “to throw”. I’m sure you guys will know the verb “to throw”. This is to launch something, this is to propel something, with force through the air by a movement with the arm and hand. So, you pick up a ball and you throw the ball. If you’re walking your dog on the beach, you might pick up a stick and throw the stick. If you’re an aborigine living out in the wild, hunting animals, you know, a few thousand years ago, you might throw a boomerang to try and catch a kangaroo or maybe some birds. Ok? So, that is the verb “to throw.”

Synonyms for this verb include: to chuck, to turf, and to piff. “To piff” is one that I used all the time as a kid in primary school. Piff the ball over here! Piff it over here, mate!

“A hat.” “A hat” is a piece of clothing that you wear on your head.

So, other synonyms for a hat include: a cap. You could have a wide brimmed hat, if it’s a really sunny day. If you’re feeling incredibly dapper, you’re wearing a suit, and you’re from the 1800s, you might be wearing a bolo hat. If you’re in the Outback of Australia, out in the bush, out in the sticks, you might be wearing an Akubra hat, an Akubra hat. Think Crocodile Dundee. He’s not an Akubra-style hat that he wears. And if you’re an American going to a baseball game, you might wear a baseball cap. That’s the one with the brim just at the front. I think you will have seen me in some videos wearing a baseball cap.

The word “into”. So, this is a particle, guys. This is a particle that means for something to move within something else. “Into”. So, you might put something into something else, you might move something into something else, shift something into something else, or throw something into something else. I threw the ball into the air. I threw a boomerang into the air. I picked my hat up and threw it into the air.

And the last word in the expression, guys, “to throw your hat into the ring”, is “a ring”, and “a ring” in this sense is a boxing ring where boxers fight, you know? So, like Muhammad Ali or Floyd Mayweather. They fight in a ring, in a boxing ring, which funnily enough isn’t actually the shape of a ring, which is a circle, it’s the shape of a square. So, a boxing ring is the shape of a square.

Expression Definition:

Let’s define the expression “to throw your hat into the ring.” So, “to throw your hat into the ring” means to make or take up a challenge. So, to demonstrate one’s willingness to join an enterprise. Ok? So, a challenge. To take part in something, to get involved in something. That’s the meaning of “to throw your hat into the ring.” So, if I throw my hat into the ring, I want to be involved. I want to take part. Or I might throw my hat into the ring because I want to take up this challenge. I’m demonstrating my willingness to take part.

Expression Origin:

The origin of this expression is somewhat interesting. It originates from the early 1800s. So, 1800s. And, “ring” here refers to the circular space that appears within a crowd of onlookers, so a crowd of people looking on at this ring within the crowd, which may have occurred because two people are boxing, or two people are fighting. So, if they didn’t have “a ring”, per se, a boxing ring, and two people wanted to fight they wanted to box, if they’re doing this, often a crowd is obviously going to form around these two people. You might see this at high schools when two kids fight. A ring of onlookers, a ring of, you know, a crowd of people, will form around these two people. So, that’s probably where, funnily enough, that’s probably where the word “ring” comes from to me boxing ring, because before we had proper boxing rings it would have just been in a crowd.

Anyway. The origin of the expression “to throw your hat into this ring”, into the ring that forms in a crowd, it originated when you would have people who wanted to fight, and in order to sort of put themselves forward instead of trying to shout over the hubbub of the crowd, instead of trying to scream out, you know, “I’m interested. I want to fight. Let me box.”, they would take their hat off, and then throw it into the ring in the crowd. So, they would throw their hat into the ring to say that they wanted to fight. And more recently obviously, it’s become a way of expressing that you want to take up a challenge or get involved. Ok?

So, before we get into the examples, I wanted to mention a similar expression, “to throw in the towel” or “to throw the towel in”. This originates from boxing as well, and literally, it is for your coach to throw your towel, as the boxer, to throw your towel into the ring to say that you give up. You’ve been defeated. He’s said, “Look, you’re not winning. You’re getting smashed. There’s no chance that you’re going to win. You’re just going to get injured. You’re going to get knocked out.” So, he throws in the towel to show that it’s over. We give up. Our corner of the boxing match throws in the towel and we submit.

Figuratively though, “to throw in the towel” is to give up, to surrender, to submit, to concede defeat. So, I might use that, figuratively, if I’m at work, and I decide I’m giving up for the day. I want to go home. I throw in the towel and I go home.

So, don’t get it confused with that, guys. Ok?


Alright, some examples. Some examples of how to use the expression “to throw your hat into the ring.


So, number one. Example number one. Imagine you’re having a meeting at work where there’re tons of people, there’s a heap of people, who are being asked to volunteer to complete a certain task at work. However, completing this task is going to require that you and whoever else puts their hand up, whoever else volunteers to complete this task, you guys are going to have to stay late on a Friday night and continue with the hard Yakka at work instead of going out with your mates. Anyway. You decide you’re keen to do this. You decide you’ll put your hand up, you’ll take part, you’ll get involved, you’ll take up the challenge, so you throw your hat into the ring. Ok? You throw your hat into the ring and you say I’ll do it.


Example number two. Imagine you’re a plumber. And a cool kind of derogatory but funny slang term for plumber in Australia is “a dunny diver”, “a dunny diver”. So, someone who dives into dunnies, and “dunny” is a slang term for toilet. So, you’re a plumber, you’re a dunny diver, and you and your plumber mates are at work. You show up for the day. You show up to work. Your boss comes up to you guys and says, “Look, guys, we’ve got a really dodgy job today. It’s going to be a bad one. (It’s a) really smelly, messy job, but someone’s going to have to do it.” So, something’s gone awry in someone’s toilet, someone’s loo, someone’s dunny. Something’s gone bad, something’s gone wrong. And no one’s keen to put their hand up first, but you decide you’re not a wuss. You’ll throw your hat in the ring and take up this challenge. So, “I’ll do it, mate. It’s all good. I’ll throw my hat in the ring. I’ll take up this challenge.”


Example number three. So, you hanging out with your mates at a barbie. Ok? This time you’re a girl, you’re a woman, you’re a sheila, and all your mates are sheilas. Ok? so, “sheila” is a slang term for woman. So, you’re hanging out with your sheila mates at a barbie, a barbecue, having some snags, having a chat, maybe you’re drinking some champagne, you know, kicking back with your girl mates, your girlfriends. And you decide that you want to start a business selling lippy. And “lippy” is a slang term for lipstick. The stuff that you put on your lips, if you’re a woman, before you go out. So, you want to sell lippy, maybe other cosmetics and make-up products as well, and you ask your girlfriends if anyone is willing to chuck their hat in the ring, to throw their hat in the ring, and get involved. “Any of you sheilas want to get involved with this business plan selling lippy that I have?” One of the chicks says, “Yep! It’s totally up my alley. I absolutely love make-up. I love lippy. I love business. So, I’ll throw my hat in the ring and I’ll take part in this venture. I’ll take up this challenge of starting this business with you.

So, those are the examples, guys. I hope you get by now the expression, “to throw your hat in the ring”, which means to make or take up a challenge, to demonstrate one’s willingness to join an enterprise or start a venture, or to take part in something, or to get involved in something. So, it’s all pretty much the same thing. Ok? To throw your hat in the ring.

So, as usual, let’s go through and listen and repeat exercise, guys. Find somewhere quiet, find somewhere away from other people, if you don’t like practicing in front of other people, and practice your pronunciation as an Aussie just like me. So, listen and repeat after me guys and let’s smash this out. Let’s do this. Ok? Let’s do it.

Listen & Repeat:

I threw my hat into the ring.

You threw your hat into the ring.

He threw his hat into the ring.

She threw her hat into the ring.

We threw our hats into the ring.

They threw their hats into the ring.

It threw its hat into the ring.

Good job, guys. Good job.

So, that expression is pretty cool, guys. And I’m going to go over some stuff in today’s Aussie English Classroom with all the exercises and bonus content for this stuff, where we talk about the connected speech in “I threw my hat into the ring.” So, I would actually say that as, “I threw my hat into the ring”, instead of, “I threw my hat into the ring”. “I threw my hat into the ring.” So, there’s some cool stuff going on there, guys. If you want to learn how to break that down and how to pronounce all of that stuff like a native Aussie English speaker, make sure you join up to the Aussie English Classroom. It’s one dollar for your first month. Give it a go.

Aussie Fact:

Anyway, before finishing up, guys, let’s do the Aussie English Fact, although today, it’s going to be a series of facts, a whole bunch of facts, a heap of facts all about Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read. So, about Chopper, the guy that we were talking about at the start of this episode. So, that was who the film Chopper was made about.

So, this guy is quite an interesting character. He was born on the 12th of November in 1954, and fortunately or unfortunately, he died in 2013. So, he grew up in Melbourne, in the suburbs of Collingwood, Thomastown, Fitzroy, and Preston, and unfortunately, he had a really horrible childhood, which isn’t a surprise with a lot of violent criminals. He was severely bullied at school and he got into hundreds of fights. He was sexually molested as a child, and he was placed in foster care. His parents were pretty full on. One of them was a soldier from the Korean War, and I think his mother was incredibly religious, a Christian. And he was put into foster care, moved around quite a lot, and then later in his teens, he was put into several mental institutions, and he even claimed that he received electroshock therapy, which is where they put electric probes on your head and shock your brain. So, (a) pretty full on childhood.

As a young adult, he became an accomplished street fighter. So, he became really good at fighting with his hands in the street, maybe kicking people as well. And, he was the leader of the Surrey Road Gang. So, he became the leader of a gang of other youths. He began his career robbing drug dealers. So, people who sell drugs. And these drug dealers were based in massage parlours in the Prahan area of Melbourne, and I assume they were probably also brothels where prostitutes work.

Crazily, this is a crazy fact too, he only spent 13 months of his time outside of jail between the ages of 20 and 38. So, less than one month of every year between the ages of 20 and 38 he spent outside of jail. And he was convicted for things like armed robbery, firearm offenses, assault, arson, he even impersonated a police officer, and he kidnapped a few people as well.

He started prison wars with his gang the notorious Overcoat Gang. He had the tops of both of his ears cut off by fellow inmates. And this was done on purpose because he wanted to leave H Division, which was the division that he was kept in in Pentridge Prison. And he wanted to do this to avoid being ambushed by other inmates, because of this gang war. So, he actually had another inmate, a friend of his, or at least someone he knew, cut the top of both of his ears off in order to be temporarily removed from that part of the prison in order to save himself, I guess.

A few other crazy facts. He got interviewed on 60 Minutes, a news show in Australia, and he played Russian Roulette with himself. That is where you put one bullet in a revolver, you spin the chamber, and then you put it to your head and pull the trigger. So, he actually did that in an interview on TV. And what’s worse is that he did the same thing again and ask the reporter if she wanted to play. She said no, but she still pointed the gun at her and pulled the trigger. Fortunately, there was no bullet in the gun chamber and she survived.

Despite claiming to have killed 19 people in his criminal career, and attempting to murder a further 11 people, he was actually never convicted of murder. He never went to jail for the crime of murder. How crazy is that?

And he had his last interview two weeks before his death from liver cancer in 2013. Funnily enough, again, on 60 Minutes. So, he got interviewed two weeks before his death on there in which he confessed to committing four of these apparent 19 murders. So, he at least says he was a little more honest there and openly talks about four murders.

Anyway, he’s quite a character I really recommend that you check out the movie Chopper. Check out the actor Eric Bana. He’s got a great Aussie accent. He’s an amazing actor. And, I guess, also, I’ll include a few links in here for you to learn more about Chopper Read on Wikipedia, and I’ll also link the YouTube interview with 60 Minutes.

So, I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. I know it was a long one, but I hope it’s full of great content, great vocab for you to learn obviously about violent crime in this case, but interesting stuff nonetheless. And I will see you in the next episode. Catch you later, guys.

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