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17 Mar 2016

Last year on the HH blog, we looked at why the lower-case letter i—and its alphabetical cousin j, for that matter—has a dot above it. Turns out it had something to do with stopping intelligent people being mistaken for their knees. But this week in our noticeably infrequent series of Questions...

6 Jun 2015

Today marks the seventy-first anniversary of the Normandy Landings—perhaps better known as D-Day. Etymologically, there’s a longstanding myth that the D of D-Day stands for something along the lines of “disembarkation”, “decision”, or “deployment”, or even “Deutschland” or “Doomsday”, but in fact:...

24 Apr 2015

Earlier on today, this fact cropped up on the HH Twitter feed:

It’s always nice to discover words for things you didn’t realise have names (we’re looking at you vartiwellpiqûre and manicule), and tittle undoubtedly falls into that category. But this great little fact raises a great little ques...

31 Mar 2015

So zed is British and zee is American, yes? Well, that might be the case today, but once upon a time things were quite different...

Historically, both zed and zee were used pretty much interchangeably in both British and American English, alongside a whole host of other more outlandish name...

7 Mar 2015

This: is an ampersand. As a symbol, it’s derived from a handwritten combination of the letters E and T, as in etthe Latin word for “and”. You might have already known that. But whether you did or you didn’t, the fact is that the swirly thing you usually call an “and sign” actually has a name. An...

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