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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...

28 Aug 2018

One of this week’s most popular tweets on HH was the word kedophysis, which neatly sums up something we’re all probably feeling given, y’know, *gestures at everything*:

Yes, kedophysis is a formal term for the inclination to worry. A term from psychiatry, etymologically kedophysis brings together two...

11 Aug 2018

Here’s the quick story behind this word, just because it sounds so cool: zelotypia is another word for jealousy. 

Introduced into English via Latin in sixteenth century, zelotypia has its roots in Ancient Greek and represents pretty much a direct transliteration of the Greek word for jealousy,...

10 Aug 2018

We’re all about a bit of obscure etymology here at HH, naturally. But today we spread our wings to a little fact about entomology

I know, I know, TL/DR, right? So instead of zooming in on all of tat, here’s a quick précis of how the brilliant word sphexishness arrived in the language, and, er, what...

28 Jul 2018

There’s been a run of heatwaves and thunderstorms around here at HH HQ recently, which brought to mind the word petrichor. And that led us to ask this over on Twitter today: 

Reassuringly, almost three-quarters of you lovely word nerds already knew that one. but as for its origins...? A slough of cur...

26 Jul 2018

Undoubtedly one of the most interesting etymological stories out there popped up on the HH Instagram today: the fact that mediocre literally means “halfway up a mountain”.

How and why? Well, at the root of the word mediocre is the Latin ocris, meaning “a jagged or sharp-edged mountain”. Through...

22 Jul 2018

A brilliantly useful little word popped up on HH this afternoon:

And it has an intriguing story behind it. 

Thersitical derives from Thersites, the name of a minor character mentioned largely in passing in Homer’s Iliad—and known by the fairly grim epithet of “the ugliest man who came to Troy”.

Accordi...

21 Jul 2018

Rhetorical terms always prove popular here on HH, and this week we served up a particularly good one:

But as is often the case with terms like these, enantiosis isn’t quite as straightforward as it might appear. 

As we defined it on Twitter, in its basic sense it refers to “a figure of speech in which...

13 Jul 2018

A word from the HH archives popped back up this week, and we thought you’d like to know a little more about goety.

Pronounced “go-ity” (think poetry without the R), goety has its roots in Ancient Greek—and it’s through those roots that we can probably be a little more specific about precisely what th...

12 Jul 2018

A perennial favourite of HH, fellow online logophiles, and endless lists of weird words, lalochezia popped up on the Twitter feed yesterday and soon proved one of the week’s most popular words. 

Yes, there really is a word for the use of foul language to relieve stress or vexation. And here’s where i...

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