© 2016–19 Haggard Hawks

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There is, as we’re steadily discovering here at HH, a name for everything. And that includes those optical illusions in which two identical lines appear to be different sizes, because they’re overlying a separate diminishing set of parallel lines: 

As we explained over on Twitter, this kind of i...

24 Jul 2018

File this one away for future reference: an Ananias is a habitual liar. 

This, as some of you will undoubtedly know, is a biblical allusion. But if you think this has anything to do with Ananias of Damascus—the disciple who restored Saul’s sight, according to the New Testament—then you’re mistak...

Here’s a word to add to that ever-lengthening list of Words You Didn’t Know Were Named After People: the burpee.

Yes, if you’ve ever had a PT session, attended an aerobics class or an outdoor bootcamp, or if you’re deranged enough to be a CrossFitter, then you can thank the magnificently named Dr Roy...

Here’s a weird one, with a surprisingly straightforward explanation behind it. A Robin Hood’s mile is a mile that seems longer than it actually is. 

That’s an expression that dates from the sixteenth century in English (though given the agedness of tales of Robin Hood, it may well have been in use ev...

28 Nov 2017

The fact that the blurb on the back of a book takes its name from an early twentieth century book review allegedly written by a “Miss Belinda Blurb” ended up the most popular fact on HH this week. And, as you probably saw over on Twitter, what makes that fact all the most curious is that Belinda Blu...

20 May 2017

A while ago on HH we blogged about the brilliant story behind the naming of the planet Uranus, which was at one point due to be called George

And this week, we headed back into outer space with the story behind the naming of the planet Pluto: as we tweeted on Friday, the name Pluto was th...

26 Jun 2016

(Image credit: Wikipedia

So a lot of very big things have happened this week. For one, the UK voted to leave the European Union for some reason. Secondly, the shelves on the HH bookcase were starting to sag a bit in the middle, so they were rotated. And thirdly, the four new chemical elements that...

15 Apr 2016

A long-forgotten (but no less useful) expression popped up on the HH Twitter feed the other day: 

...and this isn’t the only proverbially lazy Lawrence to find his way into the dictionary. 

Long before lazy people had “Lawrence on their backs” there was an earlier expressionLawrence bids wages,...

29 Mar 2016

If you’ve seen our post about words derived from numbers over on YouTube, you’ll know that March 14 2016 was Pi Day (or rather, the once-in-a-century Rounded-Up Pi Day), because when it’s written out numerically the date 3.14.16 forms the first few digits of pi

Over on the HH Twitter feed...

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10 Jun 2019

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