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Kiss me Hardy

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 15, 2005

In Reply to: Kiss me Hardy posted by J on June 15, 2005

: "kiss me Hardy"

: I've heard that this might have been "kismet, Hardy." Has anyone else come across this explanation?

Yes, but it is utter nonsense. "Kismet", the Turkish and Arabic word for "fate", wasn't used in English in the Napoleonic period (first noted use in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1849). The Chief Surgeon of the Victory (who was an eyewitness) wrote that Nelson said "Kiss me, Hardy", and Hardy accordingly kissed him on the cheek. His account makes clear that he had no doubt at all what Nelson had said, and that nobody was surprised - Englishmen did kiss each other, and display emotion, then. It's only generations later, when Englishmen began to find the notion of naval heroes kissing each other embarrassing, that somebody dreamed up the "kismet" explanation. - VSD

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