Wordy Wednesday

hock \hok\ 3. v. (used with object) 1. pawn 2. the state of being deposited or held as security; pawn 3. the condition of owing; debt.

The other night for dinner table our grandparents joined us, making a jolly assembly of nine people. For those of you who have watched the charming manners of a night at Downton Abbey, it was nothing like that, with the exception of quality food and real dishes. Instead, multiple conversations were held, salt and pepper dispensers casually passed back and forth, and the dogs begged under the table for an expected sample of the feast. Over the course of the evening, the focus began shift on one conversation and soon we were all engaged in the popular subject of male-female interactions.

The question was posed, in the unfortunate event that a lady were to find herself at the end of a serious relationship with a man, would it be appropriate or respectable to keep any items of sentiment, particularly those of value, such as a diamond necklace, etc., return them to said male party, or would it be acceptable to sell them? Apparently there was actually a legal case in California dealing with a similar situation regarding engagements that have been called off. In response to the three scenarios, we came to two conclusions. First it would be inappropriate for her to keep the items as, whether the break-up was mutual or not, it would continue to stand as a reminder of the relationship, which could be unhealthy for future relationships. As a result, the second solution was proposed that returning the items would be the best course of action, ruling out selling them. This is where hock came in. As we jested about threatening to pawn the items, our grandparents threw out the term, “hock.” Being unfamiliar with the term and thinking I missed some context about a bird, I inquired about the meaning.

Well, now I know. It actually has a grand total of three meanings, but in this instance it referenced the third. Just make sure not to mix this homophone up with the likes of hoc, or hawk.


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