1690s, hossen gossen, said to have been British soldiers' mangled Englishing of the Arabic cry they heard at Muharram processions in India, Ya Hasan! Ya Husayn! ("O Hassan! O Hussein!"), mourning two descendants of the Prophet who are central in Shiite history. It was the title of Yule & Burnell's 1886 glossary of Anglo-Indian words, and thence was taken by linguists in naming the law of Hobson-Jobson (1898), describing the effort to bring a new and strange word into harmony with the language.
updated on October 10, 2017