Thursday, August 14, 2008

hip hip hurrah!

was just browsing an old copy of brewer's dictionary of phrase and fable and came across the following entry:

"hip! hip! hurrah! - the old fanciful explanation of the origin of this cry is that the hip is a notarikon, composed of the initials 'hierosolyma est perdita', and that when german knights headed a jew-hunt in the middle ages, they ran shouting "hip! hip!" as much as to say "jerusalem is destroyed."
hurrah was similarly derived from slavonic 'hu-raj' (to paradise), so that hip! hip! hurrah! would mean "jerusalem is lost to the infidel, and we are on the road to paradise.""

and there i was thinking that saying 'hip hip hurrah' was such a terribly british thing to do. shall have to omit the hips from now on methinks, although hurrah still seems to make sense

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