© 2016–19 Haggard Hawks

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26 Aug 2017

We tweeted the curious expression don’t be like the saddler of Bawtry over on HH the other day—an eighteenth century phrase warning never to refuse the offer of a drink:

And, well, it’s all too strange to leave unexplained.

Bawtry is a small market town near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, England. Acc...

21 Dec 2016

The final entry in our series of extracts from the new HH book, The Accidental Dictionary, is the confusing story behind the original fiasco... 

Imagine you’re at the theatre. The show gets off to an inauspicious start when the curtain fails to open properly, and then, as the first performer takes to...

7 Dec 2016

The latest entry in our series of extracts from The Accidental Dictionary is the story behind the tiddlywink—which began life not as a game, but as a place. And even when it finally did become a game, it wasn’t originally the one you think it was...  

One of the earliest recorded references...

7 Oct 2015

The word cocktail is a bit of an etymological puzzle: originally only used as a nickname for an animal that rears up when irritated, by the late 1700s it had become another word for a horse with a “cocked” or shortened tail. How it then made the leap to alcoholic mixed drinks in the 1800s is, howeve...

27 Jul 2015

Last week HH tweeted the screenshot above—taken from a brilliantly-titled dictionary of Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present—published in 1890. And, well, it probably all needs a bit more explaining.

Admiral is one of those deceptively straightforward words behind which lies the kind of hist...

29 May 2015

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time, Bacchus, the louche Greek god of wine and debauchery, was pursuing a fair young maiden named Amethyste, who had caught his beer-goggled eye. Amethyste, however, was sober as a judge and had no intention of giving in to Bacchus’s bleary advances, so she fell...

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10 Jun 2019

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