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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...

13 Aug 2018

As etymological stories go, this is a good one. (Just so long as it’s true.) The word bamboozle allegedly comes from a French word, literally meaning “to make a baboon out of someone.”

The word bamboozle first appeared in the language sometime around 1700. To say that it has been bamboozling etymolog...

25 Jul 2018

Artistic terms always seem to fare well on Haggard Hawks, and an obscure term used both in artistic composition and, oddly, in geometry proved that point just yesterday. Rabatment, as we explained on Twitter, is an artistic technique in which an object in a composition is emphasized not by being pla...

19 May 2018

The fact that the French word for “duck”, canard, can be used in English to mean “a deliberate falsehood or rumour” proved popular on HH this week. And as we mentioned over on Twitter, at the root of that fact is an old French idiomatic expression, bailler un canard à moitié—“to sell...

13 Mar 2018

 (Wix)

Most popular on HH this week was a bit of wordy trivia that—well, sparked quite a bit of debate. On Monday, we tweeted the fact that in French writer Charles Perrault’s Cendrillon (1697), Cinderella’s slippers were actually made of vair (“squirrel fur”), not verre (“gl...

One of the strangest etymologies we’ve featured for a while popped up on HH this week: ganache, that rich chocolatey mixture used to top cakes, takes its name from a French word for an empty-headed fool—which in turn takes its name from an even older French word for the bottom jaw of a horse. S...

25 Jan 2018

A curious etymological fact popped up on HH last week: a lake was originally a stream. 

Pithy little stop-you-in-your-tracks-how-can-that-be-right facts like these always go well on HH—so well, in fact that (Shameless Plug #452) you can read the stories behind 100 of them in The Accidental Dictionary...

A fair few major stories have broken over the last seven days, but for this week’s HH Word of the Week we’re going with good news for once: on Tuesday, it was announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were engaged to be married. Their wedding—the first British royal wedding since Prince William...

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...

24 Oct 2017

Most popular on HH this week was the fact that a charette is a period of intense work carried out in order to hit a deadline.

No experience of that here at all, of course. Nope. None whatsoever. HH is always totally well organised and days—nay, weeks ahead of schedule. 

Moving on... As some of y...

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