haemoglobin (n.)
see hemoglobin; also see æ (1).
haemophilia
see hemophilia; also see æ (1).
haemorrhage
see hemorrhage; also see æ (1).
haff (n.)
also haaf, Baltic lagoon, separated from open sea by a sandbar, German, from Middle Low German haf "sea," related to Old Norse haf, Swedish haf "the sea," especially "the high sea," Danish hav, Old Frisian hef, Old English hæf "sea," perhaps literally "the rising one," and related to the root of heave. The same word as haaf "the deep sea," which survived in the fishing communities of the Shetland and Orkney islands.
hafiz (n.)
title of a Muslim who knows the whole of the Quran by heart, from Persian hafiz, from Arabic hafiz "a guard, one who keeps (in memory)."
hafla (n.)
in reference to belly-dance performance and social gathering, by 1998, from Arabic hafla "party, social or family gathering."
hafnium (n.)
rare element, 1923, Modern Latin, from Hafnia, Medieval Latin form of Danish Havn "harbor," the usual pre-1400 name of Copenhagen, Denmark, where the element was discovered by physicist Dirk Coster (1889-1950) and chemist George de Hevesy (1885-1966). With metallic element ending -ium.
haft (n.)
Old English hæft "handle," especially of a cutting or thrusting instrument, related to hæft "fetter, bond; captive, slave," via a common notion of "a seizing, a thing seized," from Proto-Germanic *haftjam (source also of Old Saxon haft "captured;" Dutch hecht, Old High German hefti, German Heft "handle;" German Haft "arrest"), from PIE root *kap- "to grasp." To haven other haeftes in hand "have other hafts in hand" was a 14c.-15c. way of saying "have other business to attend to."
hag (n.)
early 13c., "repulsive old woman" (rare before 16c.), probably from Old English hægtes, hægtesse "witch, sorceress, enchantress, fury," shortened on the assumption that -tes was a suffix. The Old English word is from Proto-Germanic *hagatusjon, which is of unknown origin. Dutch heks, German Hexe "witch" are similarly shortened from cognate Middle Dutch haghetisse, Old High German hagzusa.

The first element probably is cognate with Old English haga "enclosure, portion of woodland marked off for cutting" (see hedge (n.)). Old Norse had tunriða and Old High German zunritha, both literally "hedge-rider," used of witches and ghosts. The second element in the prehistoric compound may be connected with Norwegian tysja "fairy; crippled woman," Gaulish dusius "demon," Lithuanian dvasia "spirit," from PIE *dhewes- "to fly about, smoke, be scattered, vanish."

One of the magic words for which there is no male form, suggesting its original meaning was close to "diviner, soothsayer," which were always female in northern European paganism, and hægtesse seem at one time to have meant "woman of prophetic and oracular powers" (Ælfric uses it to render the Greek "pythoness," the voice of the Delphic oracle), a figure greatly feared and respected. Later, the word was used of village wise women.

Haga is also the haw- in hawthorn, which is an important tree in northern European pagan religion. There may be several layers of folk etymology here. Confusion or blending with heathenish is suggested by Middle English hæhtis, hægtis "hag, witch, fury, etc.," and haetnesse "goddess," used of Minerva and Diana.

If the hægtesse once was a powerful supernatural woman (in Norse it is an alternative word for Norn, any of the three weird sisters, the equivalent of the Fates), it might originally have carried the hawthorn sense. Later, when the pagan magic was reduced to local scatterings, it might have had the sense of "hedge-rider," or "she who straddles the hedge," because the hedge was the boundary between the civilized world of the village and the wild world beyond. The hægtesse would have a foot in each reality. Even later, when it meant the local healer and root collector, living in the open and moving from village to village, it may have had the mildly pejorative Middle English sense of hedge- (hedge-priest, etc.), suggesting an itinerant sleeping under bushes. The same word could have contained all three senses before being reduced to its modern one.
hag-ridden (n.)
1680s, "ridden by hags or witches," past-participle adjective from hag-ride (1660s); from hag (n.) + ridden. From 1702 as "oppressed, harassed;" 1758 as "afflicted by nightmares." An old term for sleep paralysis (the sensation of being held immobile in bed, often by a heavy weight, and accompanied by a sense of alien presence). A holed stone hung over the bed was said to prevent it.
Haggadah (n.)
"saying in the Talmud illustrative of the law," 1856, from Rabbinical Hebrew haggadhah, literally "tale," verbal noun from higgidh "to make clear, narrate, expound." Plural Haggadoth. Related: Haggadic.
haggaday (n.)
mid-14c., "a kind of door latch," and said to be still the name for rings for raising thumb-latches in the north of England. It appears to be what it looks like: what you say when you open the door ("have good day," as in the 1414 record of them as hafgooddays).
haggard (adj.)
1560s, "wild, unruly" (originally in reference to hawks), from Middle French haggard, probably from Old French faulcon hagard "wild falcon," literally "falcon of the woods," from hagard, hagart, from Middle High German hag "hedge, copse, wood," from Proto-Germanic *hagon, from PIE root *kagh- "to catch, seize;" also "wickerwork, fence" (see hedge (n.)). OED, however, finds this derivation "very doubtful." Sense perhaps reinforced by Low German hager "gaunt, haggard." Sense of "with a haunted and wild expression" first recorded 1690s; that of "careworn" first recorded 1853. Sense influenced by association with hag. Related: Haggardly; haggardness.
hagged (adj.)
c. 1700, from hag, by influence of haggard. Originally "bewitched," also "lean, gaunt," as bewitched persons and animals were believed to become.
haggis (n.)
dish of chopped entrails, c. 1400, now chiefly Scottish, but it was common throughout England to c. 1700, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Old French hacheiz "minced meat," from agace "magpie," on analogy of the odds and ends the bird collects. The other theory [Klein, Watkins, Middle English Dictionary] traces it to Old English haggen "to chop," or directly from Old Norse höggva "to hew, cut, strike, smite" (see hack (v.1)).
haggle (v.)
1570s, "to cut unevenly, mangle in cutting" (implied in haggler "clumsy workman"), frequentative of haggen "to chop" (see hack (v.1)). Sense of "argue about price" first recorded c. 1600, probably from notion of chopping away. Related: Haggled; haggling.
hagiarchy (n.)
"government by persons in holy orders," 1826 (Southey, "Vindiciae Ecclesiae Anglicanae"); see hagio- "holy" + -archy "rule." Not to be confused with hagiocracy "government by persons considered holy" (1816), with -cracy.
hagio-
before vowels hagi-, word-forming element meaning "of a saint, saintly, holy," from Greek hagios "sacred, devoted to the gods" (of things), "holy, pure" (of persons), in Ecclesiastical Greek, "a saint," which is perhaps from PIE *yag- "to worship, reverence" (source also of Greek agnos "chaste," Sanskrit yajati "reveres (a god) with sacrifices, worships," Old Persian ayadana "temple").
hagiography (n.)
"sacred writing," especially of saints' lives, 1821, from hagio- "holy" + -graphy. Related: Hagiographic (1809); hagiographical (1580s); hagiographer (1650s).
hagiolatry (n.)
"worship of saints," 1798, from hagio- + -latry. Related: Hagiolatrous.
hagiology (n.)
"branch of literature consisting of saints' lives and legends," 1807, from hagio- "holy" + -ology. Related: Hagiologist (1805).
Hague
city in Netherlands, from Dutch Den Haag, short for 's Gravenhage, literally "the count's hedge" (i.e. the hedge-enclosed hunting grounds of the counts of Holland); see haw (n.). In French, it is La Haye.
hah
variant of ha.
haiku (n.)
1902, from Japanese haiku, telescoped (supposedly in the late nineteenth century, by the poet Shiki) from haikai no ku "comic verse(s)," originally the name of the opening lines of a type of improvised, witty linked verse. The form developed mid-16c. "Traditionally, there is mention of a season of the year somewhere in a haiku, as a means of establishing the poem's tone, though this may be only the slightest suggestion." [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry," Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1986].
hail (interj.)
salutation in greeting, c. 1200, from Old Norse heill "health, prosperity, good luck," or a similar Scandinavian source, and in part from Old English shortening of wæs hæil "be healthy" (see health; and compare wassail).
The interj. hail is thus an abbreviated sentence expressing a wish, 'be whole,' i. e., be in good health, and equiv. to L. salve, plural salvete, or ave, plural avete .... [Century Dictionary]
hail (n.)
"frozen rain, pellets of ice falling in showers," Old English hægl, hagol (Mercian hegel) "hail, hailstorm," also the name of the rune for H, from Proto-Germanic *haglaz (source also of Old Frisian heil, Old Saxon, Old High German hagal, Old Norse hagl, German Hagel "hail"), probably from PIE *kaghlo- "pebble" (source also of Greek kakhlex "round pebble").
hail (v.1)
"to greet or address with 'hail!,'" also "to drink toasts," c. 1200, heilen; to call to from a distance," 1560s (in this sense originally nautical), from hail (interj.). Related: Hailed; hailing. Bartlett ["Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848] identifies to hail from as "a phrase probably originating with seamen or boatmen." Hail fellow well met is from 1580s as a descriptive adjective, from a familiar greeting; hail fellow (adj.) "overly familiar" is from 1570s. Hail Mary (c. 1300) is the angelic salutation (Latin ave Maria) in Luke i.58, used as a devotional recitation. As a desperation play in U.S. football, attested by 1940. To hail from is 1841, originally nautical. "Hail, Columbia," the popular patriotic song, also was a euphemism for "hell" in American English slang from c. 1850-1910.
hail (v.2)
Old English hagalian "to fall as hail," from root of hail (n.). Related: Hailed; hailing. Figurative use from mid-15c.
hailstone (n.)
Old English hagolstan; see hail (n.) + stone (n.).
hailstorm (n.)
also hail-storm, 1690s, from hail (n.) + storm (n.).
hair (n.)
Old English hær "hair, a hair," from Proto-Germanic *khæran (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German har, Old Frisian her, Dutch and German haar "hair"), perhaps from PIE *ghers- "to stand out, to bristle, rise to a point" (source also of Lithuanian serys "bristle;" see horror).

Spelling influenced by Old Norse har and Old English haire "haircloth," from Old French haire, from Frankish *harja or some other Germanic source (see above). Hair-dye is from 1803. To let one's hair down "become familiar" is first recorded 1850. Homeopathic phrase hair of the dog (that bit you), remedy from the same thing that caused the malady, especially a drink on the morning after a debauch, 1540s in English, is in Pliny.
hair-raising (adj.)
"exciting," 1837, from hair + raise (v.). In 19c. works, sometimes as jocular mock-classical tricopherous.
hair-shirt (n.)
garment of ascetics and penitents, 1680s, from hair + shirt. Figurative use by 1884. Earlier, such a garment was called simply a hair (c. 1200); and compare haircloth.
hair-splitting (n.)
"making over-nice distinctions," by 1739, from hair + verbal noun from split (v.). To split hairs "make over-fine distinctions" is first recorded 1650s, as to cut the hair. Hair also being 18c. slang for "female pudendum," hair-splitter was noted in 1811 as slang for "penis."
hair-spray (n.)
1954, from hair (n.) + spray (n.).
hair-trigger (n.)
1795; Figurative use by 1841. Hair perhaps in reference to the slight pressure required to activate it.
The difference between a hair-trigger and a common trigger is this--the hair-trigger, when set, lets off the cock by the slightest touch, whereas the common trigger requires a considerable degree of force, and consequently is longer in its operation. [Charles James, "Military Dictionary," London, 1802]
hairball (n.)
1712, from hair + ball (n.1).
hairbreadth (n.)
also hairsbreadth, hairs-breadth, hair's breadth, from late 15c. as a measure of minhute exactness. It is said to once have been a formal unit of measure equal to one-forty-eighth of an inch. From hair + breadth.
hairbrush (n.)
also hair-brush, 1590s, from hair + brush (n.1).
haircloth (n.)
cloth made from the shorter hairs of animals, early 15c., from hair + cloth.
haircut (n.)
also hair-cut, 1887, "act of cutting the hair," from hair (n.) + cut (n.). As "style of wearing the hair," by 1890.
The Romans began to cut the hair about A.U.C. 454, when Ticinius Maenas introduced Barbers from Sicily. Then they began to cut, curl, and perfume it. The glass was consulted as now upon rising from the barber's chair. [Rev. Thomas Dudley Fosbroke, "Encyclopædia of Antiquities," London, 1825]
Related: Haircutter; haircutting.
hairdo (n.)
also hair-do, 1932, from hair + do (v.). Phrase do (one's) hair attested from 1875.
hairdresser (n.)
also hair-dresser, 1770, from hair + dresser. Related: Hairdressing (1771).
hairless (adj.)
1550s, from hair + -less. Related: Hairlessness.
hairline (n.)
also hair-line, "cord made of hair," 1731, from hair + line (n.). Meaning "a very fine line" is from 1846. As "the outline of the hair on top of the head," by 1903. As an adjective, of cracks, etc., 1904.
hairpin (n.)
also hair-pin, 1788 (two words), from hair + pin (n.). A hairpin turn, etc., is from 1906. Hairpin (or clothespin) was American English slang for "person" c. 1880-1910, especially in the expression "That's the kind of hairpin I am."
hairstyle (n.)
also hair-style, "way of wearing the hair," 1913, from hair + style (n.).
hairy (adj.)
early 14c., "covered with hair, rough, shaggy," from hair + -y (2). From 1848 in slang sense of "difficult," perhaps from the notion of "rugged, rough." Farmer calls this "Oxford slang." Related: Hairiness. For adjectives Old English had hæriht, hære "hairy;" hæren "of hair."
Haiti
from Arawak haiti "land of mountains," and probably originally the name of the whole island. Related: Haitian.
hajj (n.)
also hadj, "the pilgrimage to Mecca," which every free Muslim is bound to make, as a religious duty, from Arabic hajj "pilgrimage," from hajja "he went on a pilgrimage." Related to Hebrew haghagh "he made a pilgrimage, celebrated a feast," hagh "a gathering." One who has made it is a hajji and afterward bears that title as a designation of honor.