Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Dec 21 2012   10:27PM GMT

Have you heard tell of “hear tell”?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Have you heard tell of “heard tell”? “Tell” is an archaic word meaning “news.”

The Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Language offers this example: “Well, my ould man, did’ee see or hear tell of sich a thing as a portmantle?”

My dad used “heard tell” when I was young and it was not uncommon, back in the day, usually in the negative, to say “I’ve never heard tell of it.” You rarely hear it these days but I still like the sound of it.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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