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Blog

16 Aug 2018

Every so often, something crops up on HH that if we didn’t provide the receipts for, no one would believe it to be true. And today, that something is buttock-mail.

Ah, the Scots. Don’t you just love them? Seriously, they have all the best words. 

So. Buttock-mail. Buttock. Mail. How on earth did...

14 Jul 2018

William Hogarth’s ‘David Garrick as Richard III’ (1745): Tormented by ghosts and driven to the point of madness, Hogarth was a famous English artist (Public domain)

Here’s another expression you can thank Shakespeare for. Another Richmond in the field is an unwanted or unwelcome participant, or someo...

Here’s a weird one, with a surprisingly straightforward explanation behind it. A Robin Hood’s mile is a mile that seems longer than it actually is. 

That’s an expression that dates from the sixteenth century in English (though given the agedness of tales of Robin Hood, it may well have been in use ev...

Spare a thought for Throp’s wife, who popped up on HH this afternoon. 

As we explained over on Twitter, a Throp’s wife is a proverbially busy person, or, alternatively, someone who seems busy but never actually achieves anything. The earliest record of that expression dates from 1762, while a later e...

22 Apr 2018

Today is St George’s Day, which we’ve marked over on HH with the fact that the dragon supposedly slain by St George is said by some to have been called “Old Snap”.

Actually, that’s only half the story here. We don’t know what the dragon killed by St George was called because, y’know, dragons don’t e...

27 Mar 2018

Just don’t call it the the Houses of Guttersnipes (Wix) 

A list of words officially deemed “unparliamentary language” by the British House of Commons proved popular on HH this week:

...so here’s a bit more about them.

The British Parliament operates under a tight and, in some instances, fairly ar...

17 Jan 2018

If you follow HH on Instagram, you might have spotted this fact earlier this week: the “–wall” of Cornwall and the “wal–” of walnut are the same: both derive ultimately from an Old English word, wealh, that essentially meant “stranger”, “foreigner”, or more specifically, “Celt”. 

In the case of ...

Happy Christmas! I’ve bought you a broom. (Pixabay

Every so often, a word crops up on HH that has such a ridiculously precise meaning that it looks made up, and has such a ridiculously unlikely spelling that—well, it looks made up. And today, that word is quaaltagh: the first person you meet o...

23 Dec 2017

This week, after months of tense negotiations, the Brexit campaign finally had a reason to succeed: after leaving the EU, Britons everywhere will have their “iconic” blue passports back. Everything else is still going to Hell in a handcart, of course, but hey—blue passports. Oh, and the fact that we...

19 Dec 2017

A load of bull: perhaps from Bloxwich (Wix) 

Earlier this week HH tweeted that a Bloxwich bull is an instance in which someone’s plans or grand hopes and expectations are thwarted at the last moment. There wasn’t room to tell the full story behind his expression over on Twitter, so here’s a bit more...

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