© 2016–19 Haggard Hawks

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23 Sep 2018

The percontation point, ⸮, is an obscure item of punctuation proposed in the late 1500s by the English printer Henry Denham. His plan, as we posted on Twitter, was to use a reversed question mark, ⸮, to indicate that a question was rhetorical and so didn’t require an answer.

The word p...

20 Jul 2017

Last week, the BBC announced that they had cast actress Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth incarnation of Doctor Who, and some people thought that casting a woman as a centuries-old time-traveling alien from the planet Gallifrey who travels the universe in a phone box stretched the realism of the sto...

17 Nov 2016

So last week it was teddies, this week it’s bears...

One subject we tend to hold back from mentioning on HH is confusing and confusable words. That’s largely because doing so tends to open up not so much a can of worms, but a more a shipping container of worms.

Can you, for instance, use literally to...

16 Sep 2016

“The act of assessing as worthless”: German inflation goes berserk post WW2

(Public domain)

Over on YouTube this week, we looked at ten of the longest words in the English language, including the likes of dermatoglyphicsantidisestablishmentarianism and pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism.

These aren’t e...

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...

30 Apr 2015

Earlier this month, UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband made headlines (as well as a new Labour Party slogan) by exclaiming that “Hell, yes!” he was tough enough to be the next Prime Minister. Then, earlier this week, David Cameron likewise made headlines when he admitted to feeling “bloody live...

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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