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According to Rabbi Ken Spiro's Crash Course on Jewish History, this Crusader cry was originally derived as an acronym of a Latin phrase meaning Jerusalem Has Fallen; what 3-letter cheer is it?

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Answer: Hep (or Hip)

As in Hip, Hip, Hooray.

According to Spiro, "the Crusader cry of Hep! Hep! originated at this time. It was an acronym for the Latin of Jerusalem Has Fallen. With time it became Hip, Hip, Hooray! - a cheer that Jews never use."

(Source: )

HOWEVER: According to Merriam-Webster, the origin of the hip in hip,hip hooray is unknown - and its first use in print is in 1827. Further, it is unlikely that the word hip was derived from hep, because the latter first appeared in print in 1862.

I wasn't able to find a Latin translation of: Jerusalem Has Fallen. If anyone knows it or can do it, please send it to me and I'll pass it onto the list.


Can't vouch for my verb endings (rusty Latin) But 'Hierosolyma est perditus' is approx. translation of 'Jerusalem has fallen'

Okay so I had learned that "hip" was inappropriate for Jews because of this origin, and that it stood for "Hierusalem est perdita." Also I later read somewhere that the "hooray" comes from "hul raj," and I didn't remember what that supposedly meant. I did a Google search of "hip hip hooray perdida OR perdita" and I got some interesting hits. Evidently it's not true. Try looking at or just do the same or a similar search yourself. Thanks for such a great service!
Susan G)

This makes sense: the Latin for it was Jerusalem est perdita, but there was no "J" sound then. In Hebrew, it's a "Y" sound, hence Yerushalayim; no J or even much of a Y in Latin, so an aspirated H. But the "est perdita" gives the EP of HEP.
Joe Horton)

Even with the qualification from Websters, I can't believe you gave this story even the credence you did. The Latin phrase that is probably behind this story is something like "Hierosolym est perdomitum." But the acronym etymology is unquestionably spurious. First of all, if it really did come from the crusades, we would expect to see it show up in the written record much earlier, and exist in other languages than English, since the crusaders were a pan-European bunch. Second, acronyms aren't really a plausible form of word formation for crusaders, since it presumes a highly literate group that thought in Latin. (Acronyms, of course, only make sense if you know how to write the words out and are looking at them as individual letters, not as units of sound.) As a general rule of thumb (another frequently mis-etymologized phrase) virtually every so-called etymology that claims an acronymic origin for words coined before World War II is false.

Wouldn't the Latin be "Hierosolyma perdita est?" And HPE isn't really pronounceable. I do know for a fact, however, that several European languages use "HEP" as a cry to herd animals (like "Git!") So if you're trying to force someone along the street, "HEP! HEP!" might be the common cry.

Karl said: "and exist in other languages than English" - The expression DOES exist in other languages, at least in the Scandinavian languages and German. "since it presumes a highly literate group that thought in Latin."

Crusaders were a literate bunch, the knowledge of reading and writing was not all that uncommon in the middle ages, and the crusaders were often the elite of society, definitely able to read and write latin. Acronyms is quite common in mediaeval texts, as are other forms of abrevations.

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