One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The letter H.
- ‘The dropping of aitches is widespread and is generally considered substandard.’
- ‘She tried the name, again giving the hard consonant of the ‘K’ and the aitch a sibilant sound.’
- ‘To describe the noise, I've tried every combination of vowels and aitches.’
- ‘All the dictionaries in my house agree that aitch is correct.’
- ‘We're in the sort of plush Glasgow hotel where waiters scuttle along behind you sweeping up your dropped aitches.’
- ‘The only words in the book spelt with an aitch are his name Haigh, and the town Huddersfield, which of course are pronounced Aigh and Uddersfleld.’
- ‘Aitch is the most interesting name of a letter.’
- ‘A diffident young man swung a boot and rather apologetically struck an egg-shaped ball through a large wooden aitch - and by doing so, changed the nature of England sport.’
- ‘But he also drops some of his aitches, so he'll say ‘orse for horse, and that's something that doesn't usually happen in Scotland.’
- ‘Occasionally, the aitch was not retained.’
drop one's aitches
Fail to pronounce the letter h at the beginning of words, a characteristic feature of certain dialects.
- ‘Commoner Bevin still occasionally drops his aitches; during the war he whipped on his workers with ‘Give ‘itler ‘ell!’’
- ‘He's another one who drops his aitches.’
- ‘Are we the only ones who drop our aitches and do we really say ‘were’ instead of ` was’.’
- ‘When the soldier speaks he drops his aitches and several other letters.’
- ‘The character tended to drop his aitches, yielding I never ‘ad it, so I'd ‘ad it as far as judgin’ was concerned.’
- ‘Unlike so many of the older Portuguese he did not drop his aitches; but for all that he used quaint, evocative words, like potah potah for puddle, and seemed to belong to a hermetical world neither Guyanese nor foreign.’
- ‘If a policeman writes in why does he have to drop his aitches and sound gruff and arrogant?’
- ‘Why do people moan about people dropping their aitches?’
- ‘She apparently also has the nicknames ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Fabulous,’ which means that poor Matt has to say those words like shibboleths, or like Eliza Doolittle trying not to drop her aitches.’
- ‘‘It's all very well for Blair to slur his consonants and drop his aitches, but that's all put on.’’
Mid 16th century: from Old French ache.
Top tips for CV writingRead more
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.