Blooming 'eck! [heck]

susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Hi there,

What's the 'eck in Blooming 'eck?

I can't remember the context. It was in a British movie. I think it was when someone noticed it was raining.

Thank you!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Heck is a minced form of hell, so this is a minced Bloody hell in a regional accent. Unlike blooming, heck has no primary meaning that I know of.
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Thank you, entangledbank! I thought it might be heck but Blooming heck doesn't work great to my ear. But then again, there's the apostrophe. Flows much better with it. Thank you!
     

    Ironicus

    Senior Member
    English & Swahili - East Africa
    I think bloomin' 'eck is so unlikely as to be impossible, because the first word is never used like this in American, and the second word is never used in British English.
    The words heck, gosh, and jeepers are bowdlerizations used by Americans so scared of heck-fire and the wrath of gosh, so anxious not to make jeepers unhappy, that they invented these forms to avoid any unpleasantness. The British didn't seem to care as much.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I think bloomin' 'eck is so unlikely as to be impossible, because the first word is never used like this in American, and the second word is never used in British English.
    I can't speak for the Americans, but I assure you that not only is bloomin' 'eck possible, but, in BE, it is far from uncommon...

    From the OED, (variant first recorded in 1865)
    [1865 ‘D. Moudywarp’ & ‘B. Moudywarp’ Wot Aw seed ut th' Preston Eggsibishun in Eng. Dial. Dict. 88 Well, aw'll go to ecky, he cried.
    1887 T. Darlington Folk-speech S. Cheshire
    , What the heck are yŏ up to?
    You will see both are English in origin, not American.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    There may have been some AmE popularization of heck in sentential positions, as in what the heck was that? and a heck of a <thing>, but it seems distinctly BrE in exclamations - do they even say anything like flippin' 'eck or blimmin' 'eck in AmE?

    On pronunciation, [hek] would be used in the likes of what the heck, but the interjections virtually require g-dropping and h-dropping: it would sound silly if you didn't put on the appropriate accent*. Bloomin' with the original [u:] is out of date; it always reminds me of Stanley Holloway singing 'Wiv a little bit of bloomin' luck' in My Fair Lady.

    * I won't swear to that. There may be people in Sloane Square who politely swear Flaming heck, as spelt.
     

    Ironicus

    Senior Member
    English & Swahili - East Africa
    I stand my ground. I have often heard "bloody 'ell" (blooming is a bowdlerization of bloody which is from By our Lady) but never "bloomin' 'eck". What's more, I think of this as quintessentially London speak.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I cannot speak for what they do in East Africa, but do know that Ironicus is mistaken!
    My mum says is all the time, but her bloomin' sound like: blimmin 'eck. I say it myself if I am trying hard not to use stronger terms, we are from Stoke on Trent.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I stand my ground.
    Would that be Rourke's Drift, or perhaps the Little Bighorn? Bloomin 'eck is quintessentially English rather than London speak. My mother said it, I've said it, my mother-in-law has said it. We were all brought up in different parts of the country.
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Up to this instance / this movie, I hadn't noticed "bloomin' 'eck." I wondered a minute ago how common "bloody hell" was in BE, and went to the BNC corpus. Got some 500+ results. What's really strange is that there are no results for bloomin' 'eck / blooming 'eck. How can that be? Strange.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Not so strange; it is not the sort of phrase that would be much written down, it is more restricted to casual spoken English. With the apostrophe, you would also have to rely on the author attempting to copy the dialect/local accent.

    "Blooming heck" has only 6 entries - I'm not surprised.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    .
    Bear in mind, susanna, that the BNC's search engine gives results for exactly what you've written. It doesn't have the Google-like "Did you mean...?" function.
    As Paul says,
    [...] With the apostrophe, you would also have to rely on the author attempting to copy the dialect/local accent. [...]
    ... which is well demonstrated by the fact that there are 500+ entries for "bloody hell" but zero entries for "bloody 'ell".

    I take this opportunity to add my two-penn'orth to what the other Brits have said here: "Bloomin' 'eck" (however you pronounce or spell it) is often heard throughout the UK — including Scotland, where they tend to pronounce the "h" in "heck". I respectfully suggest that Ironicus take note of Mark Twain's wisdom in my signature quote.

    Ws:)
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Thank you, PaulQ and Wordsmyth! Wordsmyth: as a side note, do people say "bloody 'ell"? I just can't imagine it without the h, given that bloody ends with a y.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Susanna, the presence or absence of an initial 'h' has nothing to do with the previous word. It's all to do with the region/education/politeness/social background/correctness of the speaker and his accent.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    In fact, susanna, in a large number of British regional accents (perhaps the majority), the initial 'h' is dropped. However, even in 'standard' English, a sequence of two words, the first ending in y and the second beginning with e, occurs frequently: "very easy", "history expert", "many eggs", ... So "bloody 'ell" doesn't sound at all abnormal.

    Ws:)
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Well, but the way e connects with ll after it is different than the examples you gave me, with a strong gg, etc. But I see your point. Thank you!:)
     
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