Epizeuxis: Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for palilogia.

Heave! Heave! Heave!

Those were the days! Pulling on ropes to lift or move heavy objects. It was a collective effort. One person never yells “heave” unless they are orchestrating a group of heaving lackeys. There could be a cart stuck in the mud, or an anchor that needed to be raised, a tree that needed pulling down, or a miscreant dragged through hot coals.

In the 21st century, in the so-called “developed” world, what do we heave? A belly full of alcoholic beverages? In our case “heave” is onomatopoetic. It isn’t a call for coordinated effort. It approximates the sound the outpouring may make, while it resonates with the use of “heave” as in throwing, and more specifically throwing “up.”

So, we have throwing and pulling as aspects of heave. How can a word mean two different things like this? There is probably a very good answer, but I don’t know what it is. And also, how did “ho” come into play—as in “heave ho?” Does it add a rhythmic dimension to the pulling/lifting chant? If each heave is accompanied by a ho, it would seem to break up the momentum, unless ho gives the lackeys a short break.

But what about Santa Claus? He is the ho, ho, ho king. It is distinctively his—usually the h-laugh is ha, ha, ha, or hee, hee, hee. It could be that the ho laugh is not English. I think Santa’s native language was Greek, although he is fluent in every language. Perhaps his use of ho is a patriotic gesture, or maybe it projects further than he or hee. At any rate, the ho-laugh is an indelible aspect of Saint’s ethos, but it does manifest itself differently in different languages, but ho is the Uber laugh steeped in the mists of Santa’s incarnation somewhere in the 3rd century in a monastery.

And then there’s heaven. Clearly derived from heave, it connotes your soul being thrown “up there” after your body has run it’s course, and your soul is orphaned—it goes heave-n up there like a rocket ship, to hang out for eternity in a comfortable place with a 72” flat screen, Cuban cigars, a view of the cosmos, wings you can fly around with, endless Thanksgiving Dinners, a good library, every kind of power tool that exists, a trout stream full of trout, a black cashmere bathrobe, and more! Heave me up!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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