“According to Hoyle”

In contemporary slang, “according to Hoyle,” means correctly or properly according to a rule or authority.

The phrase originated with the 17th-century work of lawyer Edmond Hoyle, an English writer who published “A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist” as well as other books on the rules and play of card games.

Eventually, books were written by other authors on games that hadn’t even been invented during Hoyle’s lifetime. One text is the “Bible” of card game rules.

The phrase has expanded in general usage to mean keeping in the way something is usually done. The rules can vary depending on regional cultures and mores.

Have you recently used the phrase “according to Hoyle?” Were you playing a card or board game or referring to a local custom?

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Author JL Huffman

Author JL Huffman


I’m a retired Trauma surgeon/ICU doctor, a world traveler and gardener. I’ve published in the surgical literature; now I’m writing poetry, memoir & fiction.