Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Post by christinecornwall » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:54 pm

I went to the Renaissance Festival yesterday and heard many enthusiasts yelling out this term. I looked it up on merriem with the following:
Main Entry: huz·zah
Variant(s): or huz·za \(ˌ)hə-ˈzä\
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1573
: an expression or shout of acclaim —often used interjectionally to express joy or approbation

Does anyone have any other info on this word?

Re: Huzzah?

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:16 pm

.. christine just a bit more ..
>> late 16th century: perhaps used originally as a sailor's cry when hauling
Compact Oxford English Dictionary

>> Perhaps variant of Middle English hisse, heave!
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

>> The origin of the word in its various forms is not clear, but it may have been influenced by war cries from various languages: the OED suggests Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Russian and Prussian words that may have played a part. Jack Weatherford asserts that it comes from the Mongolian Hurree, used by Mongol armies and spread throughout the world during the Mongol Empire of the 1200s, but he does not appear to present any supporting evidence. Weatherford says that in Mongolian Hurree is a sacred praise much like amen or hallelujah.

The OED notes that in the 17th and 18th centuries it was identified as a sailor's cheer or salute, and suggests that it was possibly related to words like heeze and hissa which are cognates of hoist.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, three "huzzahs" were given by British infantry before a charge, as a way of building morale and intimidating the enemy. The book Redcoat: The British Soldier in the Age of Horse and Musket by Richard Holmes indicates that this was given as two short "huzzahs" followed by a third sustained one as the charge was carried out.
.. no doubt that Ken will find a reference to the word chiseled under a cave painting of Oog the Neanderthal killing his first mammoth .. to which we will all shout HUZZAH !!! ..

WoZzah WoZzah WoZzah
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Huzzah?

Post by christinecornwall » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:30 pm

Thank you for the additional info Woz! I can appreciate the expression a bit more, although scraping this away from the annoying experience of having a 50 year old nerd, with a large plume in his cowboy hat (poking me every 14 seconds AND obstructing my view of the joust) shouting HAZZAH (and even more irritatingly putting stress on the first syllable) every 5 seconds!!!!!! After that experience, I just had to attempt to make peace with this word.

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