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15 Aug 2018

This might be one of the strangest facts we’ve had for a while: a bike was originally a beehive. No, really. 

So here’s the facts. As another word for a bees’ or wasps’ nest, bike emerged in the northern dialects of Middle English, and gets its first written shoutout in the text to the Cursor Mundi,...

The great thing about researching the words for HH is that every so often some obscure word (which no one has seemingly seen or used for a century or two) rears its head in some obscure dictionary (which no one has seemingly read or opened for a century or two) which neatly fills a gap in your vocab...

We might be named after a bird, but horses keep popping up on Haggard Hawks a lot more than we might expect—often in the most bizarre of places, too. I mean, you can’t even ice a cake without a horse turning up, just like you can’t even feague a horse without an eel turning up. 

And then there’s this...

A popular bit of etymology cropped up on HH this week: the fact that the “were–” of werewolf literally means “man”.

This is something that we’ve touched on before on HH, in a blog about the original etymological meanings of man (“human”), woman (“wife-man”), boy (“servant, aide”), and girl (“child”)...

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...

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 ...

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...

This week’sHH Word of the Week is a word that—entirely by coincidence, of course—first popped up on the Twitter feed back in June, two days before the UK General Election: a statemonger is a meddling, scheming politician. 

Why pick this word to best sum up this week’s news? If you have to ask that qu...

31 Oct 2017

The one who smelt it dealt it: A pair of sparrows, flatulence not pictured (Pixabay

By far the most popular word on HH this week was the fairly uncompromising sparrowfarts, another word for the very early morning:

Some dictionaries claim that the word sparrowfarts—or, as it’s found elsewhere, the le...

11 Sep 2017

Three old nicknames for hedgehogs—herisson, furzepig, and land-urchin—cropped up on HH on Thursday, and ended up among the week’s most popular facts: 

So here’s a little bit more about them.

Herisson was borrowed into English from French in the sixteenth century; hérisson, as some of you will undoubte...

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10 Jun 2019

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