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Latest Ian Mortimer Stories

2008-10-07 03:00:08

By Mortimer, Ian Ian Mortimer, who has been an archivist and a poet before becoming a medieval historian and biographer, describes why a blend of empathy and evidence is the key to getting the most out of history. I was about ten years of age, standing alone in the ruined hall of Grosmont Castle in South Wales. The wand rustled the leaves of the nearby trees as I looked up at the empty space where Maud, mother of the great Duke of Lancaster (who was born in this castle), had sat in the...


Word of the Day
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
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