Hear, Hear!

By Maeve Maddox

Dave Moloney has asked for a post on the

pernicious misuse of the term “hear hear’ as…”Here here”.

I’ve tried to find examples of the misspelling “here, here” on the web, but without much success. I did find a CD with the title Here, Here, and Here.

If you’ve ever watched a session of the House of Commons on television, you’ll have heard shouts of “Hear, hear!” These are shouts of approval. The shouters are expressing agreement with whatever a speaker has said. For example, the Daily Mail (Online) describes the response to a remark by David Cameron that the previous administration had “broken the nation’s covenant with [the British] armed forces”:

The moment he spoke this line the hall erupted in defiant shouts of ‘hear hear’ and, from one man near me, ‘bloody right’.

The phrase is a contraction of “Hear him, Hear him,” meaning “listen to what the man’s saying.” According to some commentators, it is sometimes used ironically.

1 Response to “Hear, Hear!”

  • Kathleen Babbs

    When I was at school, many moons ago, we used to have mock parliamentary debates and we were taught that “here, here” was a confirmation of agreement with the speaker—that the person calling out was letting it be known that he/she (over here)approved.

    Very interesting.

    Kath Babbs

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