Hogshead to Holy City

Hogshead a large cask = 1/2-pipe or butt, is a curious instance of the misuse of h. The word is from the Danish Oxe-hud (ox-hide), the larger skins in contradistinction to the smaller goat skins. An oxe- hud contained 240 Danish quarts.

Hoi Polloi (The). The poll-men in our Universities, that is, those who take their degrees without "honours." The proletariat. (Greek, meaning "the many," "the general.")

Hoist Hoist with his own petard. Beaten with his own weapons, caught in his own trap. The petard was a thick iron engine, filled with gun-powder, and fastened to gates, barricades, and so on, to blow them up. The danger was lest the engineer who fired the petard should be blown up in the explosion.

"Let it work;
For `tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard; and it shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon."
Shakespeare: Hamlet, iii. 4.
Hoity- toity
   (1) Hoity-toity spirits means high spirits, extremely elated and flighty. Selden, in his Table Talk, says: "In Queen Elizabeth's time gravity and state were kept up ... but in King Charles's time there was nothing but Frenchmore [French manners] ... tolly-polly, and hoit-comme-toit, ' where hoit comme toit means flightiness.
   (2) As an exclamation of reproof it means, Your imagination or spirits are running out of all bounds; hoit-a-toit! hity-tity! "Hoity-toity! What have I to do with dreams?" (Congreve.)
   We have the verb "to hoit" = to assume; to be elated in spirits, and perhaps hoity-toity is only one of those words with which our language abounds; as, harum-scarum, titty-totty, namby-pamby, hugger-mugger, fiddle-faddle, and scores of others.

Hoky or Hockey Cake. Harvest cake. The cake given out to the harvesters when the hock cart reached home. (See Hock Cart.)

Holborn is not a corruption of Old Bourne, as Stowe asserts, but of Holeburne, the burne or stream in the hole or hollow. It is spelt Holeburne in Domesday Book, i. 127a; and in documents connected with the nunnery of St. Mary, Clerkenwell (during the reign of Richard II.), it is eight times spelt in the same way. (The Times; J. G. Waller.)
   He rode backwards up Holborn Hill. He went to be hanged. The way to Tyburn from Newgate was up Holborn Hill, and criminals in ancient times sat with their backs to the horse, when drawn to the place of execution.

Hold of a ship is between the lowest deck and the keel. In merchant vessels it holds the main part of the cargo. In men of war it holds the provisions, water for drinking, etc., stores, and berths. The after hold is aft the main-mast; the main hold is before the same; and the fore hold is about the fore hatches.

Hold (Anglo-Saxon, heald-an, to hold.)
   He is not fit to hold the candle to him. He is very inferior. The allusion is to link-boys who held candles in theatres and other places of night amusement.

"Others say that Mr. Handel
To Bonocini can't hold a candle." Swift.
   To cry hold. Stop. The allusion is to the old military tournaments; when the umpires wished to stop the contest they cried out "Hold!"

"Lay on Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, `Hold, enough!' " Shakespeare: Macbeth, v. 8.
Hold Forth (To). To speak in public; to harangue; to declaim. An author holds forth certain opinions or ideas in his book, i.e. exhibits them or holds them out to view. A speaker does the same in an oratorical display.

Hold Hard Keep a firm hold, seat, or footing, as there is danger else of being overthrown. A caution given when a sudden change of vis inertiæ is about to occur.

Hold In (To). To restrain. The allusion is to horses reined up tightly when running too fast.

Hold Off! Keep at a distance. In French, "Tenez-vous á distance! "

Hold On Cling fast; to persist. The idea is clinging firmly to something to prevent falling or being overset.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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