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28 Jul 2018

Stand aside, cats on ships—there’s a new favourite HH fact in town. Well, almost. Actually, no; the favourite is still the cats on ships. But this one is still pretty bloody good:

Yes, back when men were men, women were suffragettes, and the worst word you could hear on the London stage was “bloody”,...

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...

One of the strangest etymologies we’ve featured for a while popped up on HH this week: ganache, that rich chocolatey mixture used to top cakes, takes its name from a French word for an empty-headed fool—which in turn takes its name from an even older French word for the bottom jaw of a horse. S...

28 Aug 2017

That’s a lot of bottle... (Wix) 

The word bottle-conjuror, meaning “a fraudster or disreputable charlatan”, popped up on HH a few weeks ago. And the story behind it—involving a fake advertisement, a theatre, and a disappointed audience—really needs telling.

On the evening of Monday 16 January 1749, Lo...

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