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19 May 2019

One of the most popular HH words for a while resurfaced on Twitter just the other day: the adjective interfulgent describes anything that shines through or between something else. 

It’s a useful, beautiful, but criminally underused word. Even the famously exhaustive Oxford English Dictionar...

There is, as we’re steadily discovering here at HH, a name for everything. And that includes those optical illusions in which two identical lines appear to be different sizes, because they’re overlying a separate diminishing set of parallel lines: 

As we explained over on Twitter, this kind of i...

Should you at any point need a word for an utterly ineffectual person in a position of power (ahem...), then we have just the word for you. They’re a King Log.  

That expression first popped up on Twitter way back in the summer of 2018. But as ineffectual leadership yet again appears to be the b...

Here’s another good one from the HH archives. While a cockatrice is a hideous mythical hybrid, figuratively the expression cockatrice’s egg is used to refer to the point at which a terrible threat or danger first becomes apparent. 

As you’ll doubtless already know if you know your myths and legends (...

Here’s an odd one from the HH archives: if you’re oedipodic, then you have swollen feet. 

If you’re curious to know whether there’s any connection there to the Greek tragic hero Oedipus, then you’re waaaay ahead of us. 

According to legend, Oedipus (he of the patricidal/matriphilic Oedipus complex) wa...

26 Apr 2019

The French phrase après moi, le déluge is used in English to express a lack of concern for what happens after you’ve gone. And given all the #ExtinctionRebellion climate change protests that have been going on in London these past few weeks, it’s perhaps no surprise that this expression did the roun...

24 Apr 2019

An old favourite of HH (and of those endless viral lists of things-you-didn’t-know-there-was-a-word-for) popped up on the Twitter feed tonight: nikhedonia, as defined by the monumental Campbell’s Psychiatric Dictionary, is the excitement or pleasure that comes from anticipating a success. 

So when yo...

15 Apr 2019

We don’t always stick to English here at HH; if the word is interesting enough, the language it’s from doesn’t matter. Case and point, last week’s most popular tweet was the word peninkulma: a Finnish unit of distance based on the furthest distance at which a dog’s bark can be heard. 

That being said...

15 Apr 2019

The Monte Carlo fallacy cropped up on HH this week, defined as “the misguided belief that because something has happened less frequently than might be expected, it is now more likely to occur”.

Over on Twitter, we gave the example of a flipped coin: imagine a coin is tossed 10 times in a row, and eve...

15 Apr 2019

The word pactolian cropped up on HH this week, defined as an adjective describing anywhere covered in golden sands. 

The word pactolian name-checks the Pactolus, an ancient river of Asia Minor that flows into the Aegean Sea in what is now modern-day Turkey. According to legend, the sands that line th...

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