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Should you at any point need a word for an utterly ineffectual person in a position of power (ahem...), then we have just the word for you. They’re a King Log.  

That expression first popped up on Twitter way back in the summer of 2018. But as ineffectual leadership yet again appears to be the b...

Here’s another good one from the HH archives. While a cockatrice is a hideous mythical hybrid, figuratively the expression cockatrice’s egg is used to refer to the point at which a terrible threat or danger first becomes apparent. 

As you’ll doubtless already know if you know your myths and legends (...

15 Apr 2019

We don’t always stick to English here at HH; if the word is interesting enough, the language it’s from doesn’t matter. Case and point, last week’s most popular tweet was the word peninkulma: a Finnish unit of distance based on the furthest distance at which a dog’s bark can be heard. 

That being said...

23 Aug 2018

Today’s Word of the Day over on Haggard Hawks needs—well, a little bit more explaining. 

So a Spartan boy is, proverbially, someone who keeps a secret and suffers as a result. But how? Or rather, why?

Sparta was one of the smallest but most powerful of Ancient Greek city-states, and much of that...

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,...

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...

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...

24 Jul 2018

In a list of words you wouldn’t believe were real unless we provided the evidence, this one would come pretty close to the top. It popped up on HH today: to fillip is to fling a hedgehog into the air using a tilted plank of wood. 

The key to this entry is that little number 5 ahead of that entry from...

24 Jul 2018

Another word for a tortoiseshell cat popped up on HH recently:

So here’s a bit more about it. 

By “a bit,” unfortunately I mean, “not very much.” Because as grand as that word is, its history is somewhat muddy. As a name for a tortoiseshell, it appears to have fallen into use by the nineteenth century...

A great little expression turned up on the HH Twitter feed today:

So here’s a little bit more about it. 

Thanks to their instantly recognisable call (as well as their, errr, somewhat questionable parenting techniques), cuckoos have made themselves conspicuous enough to become subject to all kinds of f...

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