the third word herd

Furiously violent or out of control. An ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in    battle and held to be invulnerable.


hotter than the hubs of hell:
This is a euphemism for “hotter than the hobs of Hell,” which is the earlier version. The word “hub” is a variant of “hob,” which means, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “In a fire-place, the part of the casing having a surface level with the top of the grate.” It is where you put things to keep them warm without burning up.


hell on wheels:
This phrase describes a person noted for hell raising. Also, Wikipedia says that Hell on Wheels is an American/Canadian Western TV series about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the US, and was broadcast from November 2011 to July 2016. The series chronicles the Union Pacific Railroad and its laborers, mercenaries, prostitutes, surveyors, and others who lived, worked, and died in the mobile encampment, called “Hell on Wheels,” that followed the railhead west across the Great Plains.


“Brouhaha” means fuss, argument, or ruckus, usually one that produces more noise than substance. The word came, around 1890, from the French brouhaha, said to have been, in medieval theater, “the cry of the devil disguised as clergy.” It may possibly have originally come from the Hebrew barukh habba,  meaning “blessed be the one who comes,” which is used in prayers and as a greeting at public occasions.


lower the boom:
To “lower the boom” means to clobber someone. The Dictionary of American Slang lists three meanings: to deliver a knockout punch (prize fight use); to chastise or punish or demand obedience; to prevent another from succeeding. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms says that this slang expression refers to the boom of a sailboat — a long spar that extends from the mast to hold the foot of the sail. In a changing wind, the boom can swing wildly, leaving one at risk of being struck. (early 1900s) It’s also mentioned in When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There’s the Devil to Pay: Seafaring Words in Everyday Speech by Olivia A. Isil (1996), which would be worth buying just for the title.


“To lambaste” means to criticize harshly, censure, reprimand, thrash, beat severely. “Lambaste” first appears around the 1630s, apparently arising from “baste,” (1533) and might be related to Scandinavian words meaning “to whip or flog.” The “lam” in “lambaste” is an old English word also meaning “to beat,” from an Old Norse root meaning “to make lame.” The “scold” sense didn’t develop until the late 1800s, when, presumably, the world became gentler and kinder.


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