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13 Jul 2018

File this one away for future reference. If someone looks drossy, then they look so unpleasant that you presume they must have a terrible attitude as well. 

That—like the lion’s share of words-you-didn’t-know-you-needed—is a Scots dialect word, with the definition we posted on Twitter being taken fro...

12 Jul 2018

A perennial favourite of HH, fellow online logophiles, and endless lists of weird words, lalochezia popped up on the Twitter feed yesterday and soon proved one of the week’s most popular words. 

Yes, there really is a word for the use of foul language to relieve stress or vexation. And here’s where i...

14 May 2018

Most popular on HH this week was the fact that partridges take their name from a Greek word for farting. There’s not any really way of dressing that fact up, let’s be fair. 

Partridge is the result of one of those etymological word chains with which the English language is replete. Partridge is an En...

19 Apr 2018

Slang is always popular on HH, but an odd fact about one of the ancient kings of Babylon really struck a chord this week: in Victorian slang the name of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar could be used to mean both “vegetarian” and “penis”.

A great many baffled emails and questions followed this twe...

27 Mar 2018

Just don’t call it the the Houses of Guttersnipes (Wix) 

A list of words officially deemed “unparliamentary language” by the British House of Commons proved popular on HH this week:

...so here’s a bit more about them.

The British Parliament operates under a tight and, in some instances, fairly ar...

4 Jun 2017

The word deacon popped up on the HH feed on Thursday, not in its usual ecclesiastical sense but as a verb meaning “to pack or display fruit so that the best produce is on the top”.

The deacons of the Christian church date back to the Old English period, and have their origins—via Latin—in a...

28 May 2017

One of this week’s most popular tweets was the word banty-cock, defined simply as “a little priggish man”. And as always, you can provide your own example of that.

The word banty or banty-cock is actually an old English dialect corruption of bantam, the name of a small type of domestic...

19 May 2017

The competition can stand aside. There’s a new favourite word in town.

Yes, a clinchpoop—as this sixteenth century guide to gentlemanly breeding advises—is a man who has “in him any humble behaviour,” and “knoweth no fashions.” In other words (and not in the words of sixteenth century “roisterers”),...

12 Apr 2017

It was April Fool’s Day last weekend, which we marked over on the HH Twitter feed with almost twenty-four hours of nonstop fool-related words. And among them was the verb Boeotize (ignore the first O; it’s pronounced “bee-oh-tize”), defined as:

Aside from hogging all the vowels, this word is a lot mo...

29 Mar 2017

The word sammyfoozle cropped up on the HH Twitter feed the other day:

...and with April Fool’s Day on its way, what better time to explain more about it?

Although it’s listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, the OED actually only has one written record of sammyfoozling:

This speech was, I hardly need...

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