Printable Version
Pronunciation: hæsh Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To chop meat or other victuals into small pieces for cooking. 2. To make a mess of things. 3. To talk over thoroughly, as 'to hash out the details of a project'.

Notes: Today's verb alone refers to irregularly, finely chopped meat, but may be used to refer to other foods so prepared, as 'hash(ed) potatoes'. The noun hash by itself will be taken to mean "chopped meat". The original spam is a canned hash. Perhaps because they are all related, the hatch marks on the sleeves of soldiers indicating rank of years of service are commonly referred to as 'hash marks'.

In Play: Before dinner you may have to hash out who is going to hash the meat and potatoes. This could be a critical discussion since the wrong person could make hash of the hash. To settle someone's hash is to make a mess of him.

Word History: Today's is another word woven back and forth between us Germanic peoples and the French. It comes from Old French hacher "to chop, mince", itself borrowed from Middle German hacken "to hack". After French had smoothed it out a bit, the English reborrowed it as hatch "cutting or inlaying lines", as the hatch marks on a football field or the sleeves of a military uniform. Later it was borrowed again as today's word. Although we now use a meat cleaver to chop hash, the original tool was a hatchet, another word borrowed from the French. The original root also went on to become haggis, referring to that wonderful Scottish dish made from hashed sheep by-products (heart, lungs, liver, and suet) cooked in the stomach of often the selfsame sheep. See you in Kiltland!

Dr. Goodword,

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