Saturday, May 26, 2012

hew and cry: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Saturday, May 26, 2012.

hew and cry/hue and cry
If you were to accidentally whack your leg with a hatchet you might be said to hew it, and you would certainly be justified in crying.

But in the expression “hue and cry” “hue” means “shout” and is derived from an Old French verb huer, designating the shouts that soldiers or hunters make when they are on the assault. It’s a bit redundant, like “screaming and shouting”; but the spelling in this expression is definitely the same as that of the word meaning “color”: hue.

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