Printable Version
Pronunciation: hahk Hear it!

Part of Speech: Nouns, verb

Meaning: 1. (Noun) The tarsal joint of an animal that points backward. 2. (Noun, British) Rhein wine and, by extension, to white wines in general. 3. (Verb) To pawn.

Notes: Today we are having the biggest sale in alphaDictionary's history: THREE words for the price of one (and a very fair price, indeed). The three entries in Meaning above represent three different words only coincidentally spelled and pronounced the same.

In Play: Pork hocks are many diners' favorite delicacy: "My favorites at this restaurant are ham hock with fruit compote, and seared salmon with a chilled raspberry vinaigrette." The second word refers to any Rhein wine in the UK: "I usually wash both down with a glass of chilled hock." The verb is just a colloquial term for "pawn": "The prices here are very moderate so that you don't have to hock the family silver to eat your favorite dishes."

Word History: Today's giveaway includes two nouns and a verb. The sense of a tarsal joint originates in Old English hohsinu "heel sinew", made of hoh "heel" + sinu "sinew". Hoh derives from denazalized Proto-Germanic hanhaz, source also of German Hachse "hock". Proto-Germanic hanhaz was the Germanic version of PIE kenk- "heel". The British reference to Rhein wine came from a clipping of hockamore, a folk etymology of Hochheimer, from the city name of Hochheim am Main, where much Rhein wine is still produced. The substitute for pawn comes from 19th century American slang. In hock originally meant "in prison" or "in debt", a word borrowed from Dutch hok "pen, sty, kennel, doghouse ". (Let's now give an e-bow to Deborah Moggio, who submitted today's three words by raising the question, "Can all the meanings of hock be derived from one source?")

Dr. Goodword,

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