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8 Jul 2018

The fact that Canada’s Northwest Territories came surprisingly close to being renamed “Bob” also proved popular this week, for the fairly obvious reason that this is an absolutely first class bit of information. 

So, here’s the story. 

In 1999, Canada’s 1.3 million square miles of North...

30 Mar 2018

If you’re following HH on Instagram, you’ll have found out this week that there’s a town in northeast France simply called Y:

Y stands around 30 miles east of Amiens in the Somme department of Hauts-de-France in northern France. Its name, incidentally, is pronounced as a short “ee”, not as the F...

25 Jan 2018

A curious etymological fact popped up on HH last week: a lake was originally a stream. 

Pithy little stop-you-in-your-tracks-how-can-that-be-right facts like these always go well on HH—so well, in fact that (Shameless Plug #452) you can read the stories behind 100 of them in The Accidental Dictionary...

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...

5 Apr 2017

Following on from the periscians and the Sciapodes that have cropped up on HH recently, the other day we tweeted the word Thule:

And it’s another of those unassuming words that has a superb story—and, in particular, a story about Ancient Greek geography—behind it. 

To the Ancient Greeks, Thule (which...

17 Sep 2016

You might have spotted this word over on our Twitter feed the other day: 

And we thought you might like to know a bit more. 

Those of you who know your classical literature will know that, in Greek mythology, the Acheron was one of the principal rivers of the Underworld. In some versions of the myth,...

6 Jul 2016

(Image credit: Wikipedia 

It seems we’re always late to the party here at HH. Yes, it was July 4 last Monday but, hey—what can you do? 

So. A very belated Happy Independence Day to anyone reading this over in the States, and in honour (or rather honor) of your celebrations, this week on the HH...

11 May 2016

(Image credit: Wikipedia 

A few weeks ago over on the HH YouTube channel, we looked at the origins of 10 city names, covering everywhere from Chicago (“a place to grow wild onions”) to Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu (“banana-woman”).

One city that didn’t make the final cut was the largest city in t...

7 Oct 2015

The word cocktail is a bit of an etymological puzzle: originally only used as a nickname for an animal that rears up when irritated, by the late 1700s it had become another word for a horse with a “cocked” or shortened tail. How it then made the leap to alcoholic mixed drinks in the 1800s is, howeve...

25 Sep 2015

Here’s an intriguing little fact that popped up on the HH Twitter the other day:

This is actually (shameless plug #1) one of the choicer entries cherry-picked from the HH fact book, Word Drops. And although (shameless plug #2) you can find out more about it (shameless plug #3) in the design award-nom...

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10 Jun 2019

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