Sunday, October 17, 2010




1 : to go quickly : hasten
2 : to cause (oneself) to go quickly

According to M-W's etymologist, HIE is one of those words often used "in contexts in which the author is wanting to approximate an old-timey way of communicating." It's funny when a word slips in somewhere and calls attention to its archaism. The device is like offering a little peek into another time, a reminder of the evolution of language.

I remember a moment from my childhood, when my friend Jennifer and I were HIEING to get into our coats to go play outside on some windy spring day. My grandmother, frantically trying to over-prepare, was concerned with the wind.

She asked me, "Do you need a babushka?"
"No!" I yelled, rushing to get outdoors, annoyed at the prospective hindrance of headwear. Babushka—more commonly known as handkerchief—was a term often thrown around in my grandmother's heavily russian-and-yiddish-influenced vernacular. I had grown up hearing the word, but somehow hearing it in the presence of the ultra-modern Jennifer (her parents had a wrap-around couch and a television in their kitchen and a freezer full of microwavable snacks) made it sound primitive.

When we got outside, Jennifer asked, "What's a babushka?"
I told her it was like a bandana. And now that I think of it, even the word bandana sounds antiquated to me—a dated symbol of the late eighties.

Seriously. Who says bandana?

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