So today I found myself agreeing with someone online and went to type “hear hear” but then remembered seeing someone else type “here here” a couple days earlier.
I was pretty sure the correct phrase was “hear hear” as opposed to the other variants I'd seen (“here here”, “hear here”, “here hear”) but I'd never actually looked it up. So I decided to check popular internet usage using Google:
- “hear hear” = 1,740,000 hits
- “here here” = 3,880,000 hits
- “hear here” = 307,000 hits
- “here hear” = 334,000 hits
Well dang. According to popular usage twice as many people say “here here” than say “hear hear”. But is that correct? Wikipedia says no:
Hear hear (Wikipedia):
…Hear, hear is an expression used as a short repeated form of hear ye and hear him. It represents a listener's agreement with the point being made by a speaker.
It was originally an imperative for directing attention to speakers, and has since been used, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, as “the regular form of cheering in the House of Commons”, with many purposes depending on the intonation of its user. It is often incorrectly spelled “here here”, especially on websites…
A quick double check of OneLook Dictionary Search confirms this. Six dictionaries list “hear hear” and only one lists “here here” (and that one happens to be the wiki article above.)
Popular usage drives the movement of meaning, though, so at some point in the future “here here” may end up being the correct phrase if we don't do something about it.
So if you want to avoid yet another English colloquialism that will have your great grandchildren scratching their heads and saying “WTF?” (or whatever kids will be saying in those days) then type “hear hear” at every opportunity.
Go on, say it, you know you want to.