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Words: hence, adv.

FRIENDS IS back on form with series five. Free from celebrity cameos, it has real surprises. Phoebe's mink is "the best thing I've ever had draped round me - including Phil Huntley", Monica and Chandler's se-cret romance is known only to Joey - who says hence.

Do not crow. Who among us knows whence hence? It combines the Old English hen or henne (this) and se (-wards). (It was a briefly an American noun for the future.) Arbuthnot said, "let not posterity a thousand years hence look for truth in the voluminous annals of pedants", quoted by Johnson, who calls from hence "a vitious expression, which crept into use even among good authors, as the original force of the word hence was gradually forgotten." Dryden, unlike Joey, was an offender.