“Hear hear” or “here here”

Dating as far back as the seventeenth century, the familiar phrase “hear ye, hear ye” appeared in various types of literature and rang out in British Parliament meetings. This particular sequence of words originally called attention to an orator and encouraged boisterous gatherers to listen to the featured speaker. Other ways of expressing this locution included “hear him, hear him”, or even “hear her, hear her.” Hundreds of years of utterance abbreviated the idiom to the recognizable “hear, hear” still used in contemporary language. Although frequently misspelled or misspoken as “here, here”, the provenance of the saying and its evolution through time confirm the words “hear, hear” as the proper way to employ this phrase.

Similar to the actual parlance of “hear, hear” metamorphosing over time, the connotation in modern vernacular likewise experienced a shift. Instead of summoning an audience to observe the beginning of a lecture, these words now commonly signify support or agreement. A person concurring with a statement may declare, “hear, hear”, thus voicing concordance and approval. Another popular application occurs during celebrations, whereby a person giving a toast may call “hear, hear” as a cheer to an honoree, and guests will respond back with an exuberant, “hear, hear”. Once reserved for a larger assemblage, this phrase now extends to use in small groups and even in casual one-on-one conversations. Yet, in spite of all the changes to this distinct expression from its initial purpose, one aspect endures: the correct verbiage remains “hear, hear” not “here, here”.

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