H is for…

Letter H

Happy September!

Today I’m going to share three fabulous words that begin with the letter H. But first, I want to remind everyone that the speakeasy is re-launching next week! So if you enjoy reading and/or writing flash fiction, you should pay us a visit and sign up for the mailing list. I promise you won’t regret it.

Okay, on to our first H word. This word stands out for me because, as a child, I always heard people refer to the Harbingers of Spring when talking about the birds coming back. But, for the longest time, I thought Harbinger was actually a type of bird!

Harbinger (noun)

Etymology:  First appears in the late 1400s as herbengar, to refer to someone sent ahead to arrange lodgings. Comes from the Middle English herberger, meaning provider of shelter or innkeeper, which comes from the Old French herbergeor/herbergier, meaning to provide lodging (with the root herber, meaning lodging or shelter). This, in turn, comes from the Old High German heriberga, meaning army shelter, which is a combination of the words heri, meaning army, and berga, meaning shelter.

Definition:  A person or thing that announces or signals the approach of someone or something else; a forerunner of something.

Example:  Damian stopped in his tracks when Cerberus appeared before him. Everyone knew the three-headed dog was the harbinger of Damian’s father.


This next word is fun to say out loud, plus it really sounds like what it’s describing.

Histrionic (adjective)

Etymology:  First appears in the 1640s. Comes from the Latin histrionicus, meaning pertaining to an actor, which comes from the Etruscan word histrio, meaning actor.

Definition:  Theatrical or dramatically exaggerated behaviour; of or concerning actors or acting.

Example:  “Damian, don’t be so histrionic. Even human parents have rules about when their kids are allowed to borrow their vehicles.”



And for this week’s bonus word, I realized that I couldn’t let H go by without covering Canada’s national sport.

Hockey (noun)

Etymology:  First appears in an isolated reference in Ireland in the 1520s, but is not recorded again until the 1830s. Origins are uncertain, but it may come from the Middle French word hoquet, which refers to a shepherd’s staff. Hoquet come from the Old French hoc, meaning hook.

Definition:  A game typically played on ice between two teams, each with six players, in which players try to shoot a puck into the opposing team’s net using sticks with a flat, hooked end; any variation of this game, such as field hockey or street hockey.

Example:  The Devil got behind the wheel of his Smart Car. “Come on Damian. If we hurry, we can still catch the first hockey game of the season.”


Once again, etymological information and definitions come from the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online and the Online Etymology Dictionary.


Image credit: Google Images

10 thoughts on “H is for…

  1. Harbinger and histrionic are great words, especially harbinger. Hockey, I suppose, is a great word if you’re a fan, but I’m not. But I do like hockey puck – what a strange word that is. When you get to P maybe you’ll explain that one. You are the Sue Grafton of blog posts. I’m enjoying them.

    1. Don’t tell anyone, or I might lose my Canadian citizenship, but I’m not much of a hockey fan either. I’ve added puck to my list, so I’ll cover it when we get to P.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying my vocabulary posts. It’s like Sue Grafton, but with less death. 😉

  2. Ha, this one is a win for me on so many levels- my kid’s name is Damien, hockey’s my favorite sport and histrionics is one of my favorite words, topped by Harbinger by Human Abstract is one of my top 5 favorite songs 🙂

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