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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...

The etymology of cobra turned up on HH today, and it’s an interesting one.

So here’s a little bit more about it. 

Despite having a Portuguese name, cobra snakes aren’t native Portugal, of course. Instead, that name probably entered the language via Portugal’s colonies in central Asia—most no...

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...

15 Sep 2017

The fact that to be touched by Ithuriel’s spear is to react exaggeratedly to only a slight touch appeared on the HH feed a few weeks ago—and it’s about time we explained a little bit more about it.

Ithuriel, as some of you will undoubtedly know, is the name of an angel or similar quasi-religious figu...

28 Jul 2017

 Fire escape: Shadrach and Nebuchadnezzar (Image credit: Wix) 

The fact that a Shadrach is someone who appears unaffected by intense heat cropped up on HH this week—

And as some clever, clever people pointed out on Twitter, there’s a curious story attached to this one. 

The term Shadrach alludes t...

The word nimbosity popped up on HH this week—an eighteenth century term for the storminess of a sky:

Nimbosity derives from the adjective nimbose, meaning “cloudy” or “stormy”, which in turn comes from the Latin word for a cloud, nimbus. And yes, that’s the same nimbus as in cumulonimbus (which...

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...

8 Mar 2017

Quite a lot of political words have been cropping up on Haggard Hawks recently. It’s almost as if there’s something noteworthy going on in worldwide politics. Speaking of which: 

Shall we have a show of hands? Anyway, that tweet cropped up on the HH feed a couple of weeks ago, and as some of you clev...

1 Dec 2016

This week over on the HH YouTube channel we looked at the literal meanings of words, with an eye to picking out a set of 10 whose literal meanings seemed at odds with, or far removed from, their actual meanings:

So a corridor is literally “a place for running”. Something that’s mediocre is lite...

2 Jul 2016

Ah, how the time flies. It seems like only yesterday Haggard Hawks embarked on a series of fifty Top 10 YouTube videos, back when David Cameron was Prime Minister and the UK wasn’t being laughed at by everyone, but here we are! How. The time. Flies.

Unbelievably, we’re already at the halfway point in...

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