Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Could it be all Hogwash?

In the world of h's there are so many choices of words known and unknown, of muscial groups and literary forces but instead I chose a word that may be on its way out.

It's a word I remember my dad using occasionally.  Of course he was also fond of the phrase "whoa dobbin."  A phrase I suspect exited a generation or two ago.

So the word I chose is, drum roll please...


When was the last time you heard anyone use that word?  I suspect we all know what it means but lets dig a little and see if the assumptions are correct or, if not, where this little gem came from.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary it means:
foolish or meaningless talk; nonsense, balderdash (another good word rarely heard), swill, slop

So where did hogwash come from?
I turn to my bookshelves and yes, wait for it, paper books!
In the gem of a dictionary a friend located in the back of a British antique shop dated 1795 - there is no reference.
A wartime dictionary also - no reference

So now I'm intrigued, where did this seemingly outdated word come from if it isn't even making the pages of yesteryear?

I move to online references:
Wikipedia, as dicey as some of the information may be - returns nothing.  I search further.

Ahha! - English Ancestory claims that hogwash became a word around the 15th century and combined the word hog along with wash or the waste from a kitchen.  Meaning anything that was bad or worthless.

So, is this true?

Turns out that Online Etymology concurs with this history and expands the meaning to have once meant bad liquor which another site implied, as well as inferior writing again confirmed in a further search.

So what became a simple post, an easy one off in my blogging the alphabet, became instead a mission as hogwash became not just an outdated word but an intriguing one that seemed to have no history.  Now the mystery is cleared up and the next time I write a page that I must later delete I will know not to feel too bad as it was all probably hogwash anyway.  After all, every writer has to have a little leeway to spin just a bit of hogwash.  And...

Okay, done with the hogwash and on with my day.



Anonymous said...

Ha, I use this word a lot, lol :)

Great choice for the letter 'H'!

Bonnie said...

So try this one...hocuspicminerva! Bonnie from Edmonton!

Ryshia Kennie said...

Finley Jayne - fantastic, I love to hear words used that aren't commonly used anymore. It adds spice to the language and to conversations.
Bonnie - okay, how did I know it would be another Canadian that would come up with a lulu of a word. My challenge for the day - discover hocuspicminerva