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A nice little word popped up on HH yesterday, and so here’s a little bit more about picayunish:

If you know your Americanisms, then there’ll be little surprise to find that at the root of picayunish is picayune, a word that’s been used since the early nineteenth century in American English to describ...

Here’s a fact—and a picture—worth remembering. 

First recorded in English in 1806, if you’re wondering (as many of you did over on Twitter) where that word comes from, the answer is a lot more straightforward than you might presume. No, it’s not some obscure, long-forgotten dialect nickname. No, it’s...

Why doesn’t Arkansas rhyme with Kansas? It’s one of those questions you might never think to ask, but are probably curious to know the answer to—and the answer (or at least part of it) popped up on HH this week. 

The fact is that Kansas actually did rhyme with Arkansas o...

A fact we just couldn’t leave unexplained this week also turned out to be the week’s most popular: the town at the geographical centre of North America is called Center.

That on its own is interesting enough, but then to find out that it’s name is a complete coincidence? How the dickens did that hap...

30 Mar 2018

If you’re following HH on Instagram, you’ll have found out this week that there’s a town in northeast France simply called Y:

Y stands around 30 miles east of Amiens in the Somme department of Hauts-de-France in northern France. Its name, incidentally, is pronounced as a short “ee”, not as the F...

16 Feb 2018

Gideon and Foulfellow: DExEU’s latest recruits (Wikipedia/Public domain) 

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gave a speech about Brexit this week. And entirely unrelated to that, we posted the word ackamarackus over on Twitter:

Ackamarackus—or ackamaracka, alongside countless other spelling variants—i...

30 Nov 2017

It was apparently World Hello Day last week, a date marked over on the HH Twitter feed with the fact that Alexander Graham Bell’s preferred method for answering the telephone was the word ahoy. Alas it was not to be, and Thomas Edison’s suggestion, hello, eventually became the standard. 

Of the...

4 Jun 2017

The word deacon popped up on the HH feed on Thursday, not in its usual ecclesiastical sense but as a verb meaning “to pack or display fruit so that the best produce is on the top”.

The deacons of the Christian church date back to the Old English period, and have their origins—via Latin—in a...

11 Jan 2017

Towards the end of 2016, we asked you all to vote for our very first Word of the Year. After a year of tragic losses, Brexit shenanigans, political mendacity and trumpery, we narrowed things down to a shortlist of just five words.

Epicedium, whipmegmorum, cacafuego and toad-eater all fell at the fin...

6 Jul 2016

(Image credit: Wikipedia 

It seems we’re always late to the party here at HH. Yes, it was July 4 last Monday but, hey—what can you do? 

So. A very belated Happy Independence Day to anyone reading this over in the States, and in honour (or rather honor) of your celebrations, this week on the HH...

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