top of page
  • Paul Anthony Jones


(n.) a small brown songbird, with dun-coloured plumage

Words like dunnock, hillock and bullock all have a common etymological ancestor in the shape of an Old English suffix, –oc, that was used to form diminutive words.

So a dunnock is a small dun-coloured bird. A hillock is a small hill. And although the word tends to be used more generally today, a bullock was originally a young bull.

Other familiar words bearing this suffix include tussock (which derives from tusk, an old word for a tuft of hair or grass) and even buttock (which is literally a little butt, in the sense of the dulled end of something).

At the less familiar end of the scale, you’ll find the likes of rillock, meaning a small rill or woodland stream. A lassock is a little lass, and a bittock is a little bit. A wretchock is a little wretch—or more specifically, the small creature in a brood or litter. And when not being used to refer to an enclosed field for livestock, a paddock is a frog—or quite literally, a little ‘pad’ or toad.

Hi! We’re currently updating the HH blog, including all the tags (below). But with over 700 posts to reformat, well—apologies, this might take a while... 

For now, you can browse the back catalogue using all the tags from the blogposts we’ve already completed; this list will grow as more blogs are brought up to date.


Thanks for your patience in the meantime—and any problems or questions, just let us know at

bottom of page