"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Sunday, 3 March 2013


   I thought I had blogged this one before but I can't find it using the search engine.

A ha-ha is a feature used in landscape garden design to keep grazing livestock out of a garden while providing an uninterrupted view from within. The feature consists of a turfed ditch, one side of which is sloping and the other vertical and faced with stone or brick. Before the advent of mechanical lawnmowers a commonly used way to keep large areas of grassland trimmed was to allow livestock, usually sheep, to graze the grass. A ha-ha prevented the grazing animals on large estates from gaining access to the lawn and gardens adjoining the house, giving a continuous vista to create the illusion that the garden and landscape were one and undivided. The name "ha-ha" was given to the feature because, when walking towards it from the garden, it would only become apparent to the observer when in close proximity to it.


  1. Interesting. If I ever saw one I would not have known the name of it, and if I ever saw it in writing I probably just skipped it...

  2. wildly brilliant! I wonder if American farmers are aware of this concept.

  3. I've come across the word a few times in books and more or less guessed what it was from the context, but your explanation makes it much clearer. Thank you!