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Re: Hotter than the hubs of Hades

Posted by RRC on June 16, 2008 at 15:59

In Reply to: Re: Hotter than the hubs of Hades posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 16, 2008 at 12:58:

: : : I don't find "hotter than the hubs of Hades" in Phrase Finder. There's some speculation on other sites, but this is the one I trust. Does anyone have a definitive answer? It seems to be fairly common in the U.S (I first heard it over 50 years ago).

: : The word "hub" in this expression is a variant of hob, which means principally, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "In a fire-place, the part of the casing having a surface level with the top of the grate." It is where you put things to keep them warm without burning up. I think, however, that being put on the hobs of Hades does put you in danger of burning up or at least of getting much too hot.

: : I don't think the expression is heard much in the U.S. nowadays. You'll more often hear, "hotter than the hinges of Hades."
: : SS

: This is a euphemism for "hotter than the hobs of Hell" which is certainly the earlier version. I've also come across "black as the hobs of Hell" in 19th-century literature. The hob of a fireplace is proverbially a black hot place, as is Hell; logically the hottest and blackest part of Hell should be its hobs. (VSD)

In the southwestern US here, I hear "hubs of hell" a lot and never hinges nor any variation with Hades. There must be regional differences.