Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

May 20 2009   1:27PM GMT

“Here, here” or “hear, hear?”

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

typing Which is correct?

There were cries of ___________ from board members when the CFO announced that the green computing incentives would also lead to more revenue.
a. “hear, hear”
b. “here, here”

Answer: a.

Explanation: The difficulty with this one, funnily enough, is that people hear it (rather than seeing it in print) and make an assumption about the spelling. Same thing happens with whirlwind (seen as worldwind) and lots of other words. But I digress.

“Hear, hear” is a shortened version of “hear ye, hear ye,” which goes back to British Parliament in the 1600s, if not earlier. The expression was — and is — used to draw attention to what someone is saying. It implies agreement with the speaker or, in modern times, the writer.

More info:
Wikipedia has an entry for hear, hear.

The Straight Dope answers this question:

Dear Straight Dope:

When you agree with someone, do you say “Here Here!” or “Hear Hear” ? And what does it mean? What is the origin of “Here Here” or “Hear Hear”?

The correct term is, “hear, hear!” It is an abbreviation for “hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!”

This NY Times article cites a SpellWeb.com statistic:
On the Web, “here here” outpolls the correct “hear hear” 153,000 to 42,000.

Update:
As of today (March 30, 2010) “here here” is still winning (but maybe “hear hear” is gaining?):

here here: 2,720,000
hear hear: 1,420,000

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