Printable Version
Pronunciation: hahj-pahj Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: 1. A stew of various sorts of meats and vegetables all mixed together. 2. A mishmash, jumble, a confused agglomeration of heterogenous things, farrago, gallimaufry.

Notes: Some people still spell this word with a hyphen in the middle: hodge-podge. Either way is OK until speakers and writers reach a decision. In some part of the UK it is still pronounced and spelled hotchpotch. It is a lexical orphan like most compound nouns.

In Play: Hodgepodge may still refer to food: "Marilyn is great at throwing together whatever she has in the kitchen and coming up with a delicious hodgepodge." However, it is by far more often used in reference to a mishmash of things: "My grandmother's house contained a hodgepodge of furniture styles that she had collected throughout her life."

Word History: In Middle English today's Good Word was sometimes spelled hochepoche, a variation of the original hotchpot, made up of hotch "to shake" + pot. The question of how pot became potch may be resolved by analogy with other rhyming compounds. In Late Middle English speakers began to wiggle their vocal cords in pronouncing CH ([ch]), converting it to DG ([j]). Where hotch came from is a complete mystery. Pot was borrowed from French, which inherited it from Latin potus "cup". Latin got this word from PIE po-to- "to drink", source also of Sanskrit pati "drinks", Latin potare "to drink, tipple", Russian piti "to drink", Greek potos "drinking bout", Czech, Russian, and Serbian pivo "beer", Armenian empem "I drink", and Albanian pi "I drink". (Now let's thank Albert Skiles, long-time stalwart contributor of suggestions, for today's poetic Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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