So you know how, when you want to express enthusiasm or agreement with something someone else has said and you yell out “hear, hear!”?
Hmm. Or do you yell out “here, here!”?
I suppose if you yell it out, it doesn’t matter if you’re yelling “hear, hear” or “here, here” because “hear” and “here” are homophones, or words that are spelled differently, have different meanings, but sound the same.
And, just for the record, “homophones” and “homophobes” are spelled differently and have different meanings. But while they have a similar sound, they don’t sound the same, as do “hear” and “here.” So please don’t yell at me for being insensitive and using the term “homophones” in this post. I’m not Mike Pence, you know.
But I digress. This “hear, hear” versus “here, here” matter is not something I wondered about very often because I was confident in my knowledge that “hear, hear!” was correct. Besides, how likely am I to ever use that specific expression in my writing?
But I have seen other people write “here, hear!” or “hear, here!” or even “here, here!” and I began to question my knowledge regarding this exclamation. Which combination of these two similar sounding but different meaning words is correct? Could I be wrong?
So I Googled it and I am pleased to say that I can savor this moment. The correct answer is “hear, hear!” Damn I’m good.
According to the website, Grammarist, “Hear, hear is the conventional spelling of the colloquial exclamation used to express approval for a speaker or sentiment. It’s essentially short for ‘hear him, hear him’ or ‘hear this, hear this,’ where these phrases are a sort of cheer.”
“Here, here,” however, “is widely regarded as a misspelling, although it is a common one.” It can be used appropriately, though, when calling your dog to come to where you are, as in “Fido, here, here!.” It doesn’t work with cats.
Where did this exclamation originate? Well, according to a Wikipedia article, the source is the Hebrew Bible, Samuel II 20:16: “Then cried a wise woman out of the city: ‘Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab: Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.’”
An alternative theory, also noted in Wikipedia, suggests that the phrase “hear him, hear him!” was used in the British Parliament from late in the 17th century. It was later reduced to “hear!” or “hear, hear!” by the late 18th century.
And you know what? This is probably more than you ever wanted to know about this topic.
Can I get a “Hear, Hear!”?