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14 Jul 2018

William Hogarth’s ‘David Garrick as Richard III’ (1745): Tormented by ghosts and driven to the point of madness, Hogarth was a famous English artist (Public domain)

Here’s another expression you can thank Shakespeare for. Another Richmond in the field is an unwanted or unwelcome participant, or someo...

A fair few major stories have broken over the last seven days, but for this week’s HH Word of the Week we’re going with good news for once: on Tuesday, it was announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were engaged to be married. Their wedding—the first British royal wedding since Prince William...

13 Feb 2017

 “I think I’ve left the iron on...” (Public domain/Wikimedia Commons) 

A few days ago, this frankly terrifying fact cropped up on the HH Twitter feed:

This is an example of a chronogram, an intricate bit of wordplay defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a phrase, sentence, or inscription,...

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...

19 Jun 2016

A while ago on the HH blog, we looked at the history of time immemorial—an expression now used to mean “time beyond memory” or “time out of mind”, but which began life as a legal term in mediaeval England referring to anything that happened before the coronation of Richard I, on 6 July 1189.

And...

10 Mar 2016

Late on Monday night (or early on Tuesday morning, depending on where you’re reading this…) a brilliant word quietly crept onto the HH Twitter feed:

…and we thought you might like to know a bit more about it.

histriomastix is indeed a theatre critic (or a “severe critic of playwrights” as ...

3 Mar 2016

If you’ve been following the new HH YouTube channel so far this year, you might remember that a few weeks ago we posted a list of 10 Words Derived From Dickens Characters, just in time for Dickens’ 204th birthday on February 7. And following on from that, this week as part of our 500 Words seri...

10 Feb 2016

Full colour image of Uranus. Stop laughing. (Image credit: NASA/Wikipedia

Before we begin, let’s get a few things out of the way. The noxious atmosphere around Uranus could kill a man. Uranus has a circumference of 100,000 miles. Scientists are looking at a black hole near Uranus. What are those tw...

5 Sep 2015

(Image credit: Wikipedia

Earlier this week, this popped up on Haggard Hawks:

And, as so often happens with this kind of thing, there’s a brilliant—if a fairly sketchy—story behind it. Unlike a lot of slang expressions, the Glasgow magistrate has found its way into the OED, who have traced it ba...

11 Jun 2015

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The other day, we tweeted this:

Frankly, it sounds made up:

But, in fact, this bizarre quirk of legal terminology is entirely true.

The word immemorial literally means “unrememberable”, or “beyond memory”. Although it’s occasionally found on its own (Alfred Lord Tennyson’s...

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