- hazel (n.)
- Old English hæsl, hæsel, from Proto-Germanic *hasalaz (cognates: Old Norse hasl, Middle Dutch hasel, German hasel), from PIE *koselo- "hazel" (cognates: Latin corulus, Old Irish coll "hazel"). Shakespeare ("Romeo and Juliet," 1592) was first to use it (in print) in the sense of "reddish-brown color of eyes" (in reference to the color of ripe hazel-nuts), when Mercutio accuses Benvolio of being testy with:
Thou wilt quarrell with a man for cracking Nuts, hauing no reason, but because thou hast hasell eyes.
- hazelnut (n.)
- Old English hæselhnutu; see hazel + nut. Similar formation in Dutch hazelnoot, Old High German hasalnuz, German Haselnuss.
- hazing (n.)
- brutal initiation of college freshmen, 1848, said to be a Harvard word ("This word is used at Harvard College, to express the treatment which Freshmen sometimes receive from the higher classes, and especially from the Sophomores" -- "Collection of College Words and Customs," Boston, 1851); see haze (v.).
- also HAZMAT, 1977, condensed from hazardous material(s).
- hazy (adj.)
- 1620s, hawsey, nautical, of unknown origin. Some connect it with German hase "hare," an animal which plays an important part in Germanic folklore, with many supernatural and unlucky aspects in medieval times (among the superstitions: a dead hare should not be brought aboard a fishing ship, and the word hare should not be spoken at sea). Another suggestion is Old English hasu, haswe "gray." Related: Hazily; haziness.
- he (pron.)
- Old English he (see paradigm of Old English third person pronoun below), from Proto-Germanic *hi- (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch he, hi, Dutch hy, Old High German he), from PIE *ki-, variant of *ko-, the "this, here" (as opposed to "that, there") root (cognates: Hittite ki "this," Greek ekeinos "that person," Old Church Slavonic si, Lithuanian šis "this"), and thus the source of the third person pronouns in Old English. The feminine, hio, was replaced in early Middle English by forms from other stems (see she), while the h- wore off Old English neuter hit to make modern it. The Proto-Germanic root also is the source of the first element in German heute "today," literally "the day" (compare Old English heodæg).
Pleonastic use with the noun ("Mistah Kurtz, he dead") is attested from late Old English. With animal words, meaning "male" (he-goat, etc.) from c. 1300.
- imitative of laughter, Old English.
Ha ha and he he getacniað hlehter on leden and on englisc. [Ælfric, "Grammar," c. 1000]
- he-man (n.)
- "especially masculine fellow," 1832, originally among U.S. pioneers, from he + man (n.).
- head (n.)
- Old English heafod "top of the body," also "upper end of a slope," also "chief person, leader, ruler; capital city," from Proto-Germanic *haubudam (cognates: Old Saxon hobid, Old Norse hofuð, Old Frisian haved, Middle Dutch hovet, Dutch hoofd, Old High German houbit, German Haupt, Gothic haubiþ "head"), from PIE *kaput- "head" (cognates: Sanskrit kaput-, Latin caput "head").
Modern spelling is early 15c., representing what was then a long vowel (as in heat) and remained after pronunciation shifted. Of rounded tops of plants from late 14c. Meaning "origin of a river" is mid-14c. Meaning "obverse of a coin" (the side with the portrait) is from 1680s; meaning "foam on a mug of beer" is first attested 1540s; meaning "toilet" is from 1748, based on location of crew toilet in the bow (or head) of a ship. Synechdochic use for "person" (as in head count) is first attested late 13c.; of cattle, etc., in this sense from 1510s. As a height measure of persons, from c. 1300. Meaning "drug addict" (usually in a compound with the preferred drug as the first element) is from 1911.
To give head "perform fellatio" is from 1950s. Phrase heads will roll "people will be punished" (1930) translates Adolf Hitler. Head case "eccentric or insane person" is from 1979. Head game "mental manipulation" attested by 1972. To have (one's) head up (one's) ass is attested by 1978.
- head (v.)
- "to be at the head or in the lead," c. 1200, from head (n.). Meaning "to direct the head (toward)" is from c. 1600. Related: headed, heading. The earliest use of the word as a verb meant "behead" (Old English heafdian). Verbal phrase head up "supervise, direct" is attested by 1930.
- head (adj.)
- "most important, principal, leading," c. 1200, from head (n.). Old English heafod was used in this sense in compounds.
- head over heels (adv.)
- 1771, "a curious perversion" [Weekley] of Middle English heels over head. Head (n.) and heels have been paired in alliterative phrases since at least c. 1400, and the whole image also was in classical Latin (per caput pedesque ire).
- head shop (n.)
- emporium for stoner gear, by 1969 (noted in 1966 as the name of a specific shop in New York City selling psychedelic stuff), from head (n.) in the drug sense.
- head-hunter (n.)
- 1853, from head (n.) + hunter. Employment sense attested from 1961.
- head-on (adv.)
- 1840, from head (n.) + on.
- head-shrinker (n.)
- also headshrinker, 1926 in literal sense, from head (n.) + agent noun from shrink (v.); as U.S. slang for "psychologist," by 1950.
- headache (n.)
- Old English heafodece; see head (n.) + ache (n.). Colloquial sense of "troublesome problem" is first recorded 1934.
- headband (n.)
- 1530s, from head (n.) + band (n.1).
- headbanger (n.)
- "devotee of heavy metal music," 1984, from head (n.) + agent noun from bang (v.).
- also head-butt, by 1946 (v.), from head (n.) + butt (v.). As a noun, recorded by 1967.
- headdress (n.)
- also head-dress, 1703, from head (n.) + dress (n.) in the older, more general, sense.
- header (n.)
- "head-first dive or plunge," 1849, from head (n.); as a type of pass or shot with the head in soccer, by 1906.
- heading (n.)
- c. 1300, "a beheading," from present participle of head (v.). Meaning "advancing in a certain direction" is from c. 1600. Meaning "title at the head of a portion of text" is from 1849.
- headland (n.)
- Old English heafod lond "strip of land left unplowed at the edge of a field to leave room for the plow to turn," naturally identified with boundaries; see head (n.) + land (n.). Meaning "high cape, promontory" is from 1520s.
- headless (adj.)
- late Old English, heafedleas; see head (n.) + -less. Late 14c. as "rulerless, lacking a leader." Related: Headlessly; headlessness.
- headlight (n.)
- 1861, originally of ships and locomotives, from head (n.) + light (n.). Related: Headlights, which, as slang for "a woman's breasts," is from 1940s.
- headline (n.)
- 1670s, from head (n.) in sense "heading of a book or chapter" (c. 1200) + line (n.). Originally a printers' term for the line at the top of a page containing the title and page number; used of newspapers from 1890, and transferred unthinkingly to broadcast media. Headlinese "language peculiar to headlines" is from 1927. Headlines "important news" is from 1908.
- headliner (n.)
- 1891, "one who writes newspaper headlines;" 1896 as "one who stars in a performance;" from headline + -er (1).
- headlong (adv.)
- late 14c., headling, also headlings, "headfirst (downward); headlong (forward); without thinking, hastily," from hed "head" (see head (n.)) + adverbial suffix -ling. Altered by c. 1400 to conform with sidelong, etc. Its true companions are now mostly obsolete: darkling, backling, flatling, etc.
- headman (n.)
- "chief man, leader," Old English heafodman; see head (adj.) + man (n.). Cognate with German Hauptmann "captain."
- headmaster (n.)
- 1570s, from head (adj.) + master (n.).
- headphone (n.)
- 1914, from head (n.) + second element extracted from telephone.
- headquarters (n.)
- 1640s, from head (adj.) + quarters. Headquarter as a verb is recorded from 1903.
- headroom (n.)
- "space above the head," 1851, from head (n.) + room (n.).
- "clever, alert," 1952, from warning cry "heads up!" (i.e. "look up!"), attested by 1939.
- headsman (n.)
- "executioner," c. 1600, from genitive of head (n.) + man (n.). Used earlier in sense "chief, leader" (c. 1400).
- headstone (n.)
- c. 1400, "cornerstone," from head (adj.) + stone (n.). Meaning "upright stone at the head of a grave" is 1775, from head (n.).
- headstrong (adj.)
- "determined to have one's way," late 14c., from head (n.) + strong. Compare Old English heafodbald "impudent," literally "head-bold." Strongheaded is attested from c. 1600.
- headwaters (n.)
- 1530s; see head (n.) + water (n.1).
- headway (n.)
- c. 1300, "main road, highway," from Old English heafodweg; see head (adj.) + way (n.). Sense of "motion forward" first attested 1748, short for ahead-way; ultimately nautical (see leeway).
- heady (adj.)
- late 14c., "headstrong, hasty, impetuous," from head (n.) + adj. suffix -y (2). First recorded 1570s in sense of "apt to go to the head."
- heal (v.)
- Old English hælan "cure; save; make whole, sound and well," from Proto-Germanic *hailjan (cognates: Old Saxon helian, Old Norse heila, Old Frisian hela, Dutch helen, German heilen, Gothic ga-hailjan "to heal, cure"), literally "to make whole" (see health). Related: Healed; healing.
- heal-all (n.)
- native word for panacea, 1570s, from heal + all; applied to various plants since 1853.
- healer (n.)
- late Old English, "one who heals," especially "savior, Jesus," agent noun from heal (v.). As "a curative medicine" from late 14c.
- healing (n.)
- "restoration to health," Old English hæling; see heal. Figurative sense of "restoration of wholeness" is from early 13c.; meaning "touch that cures" is from 1670s.
- health (n.)
- Old English hælþ "wholeness, a being whole, sound or well," from Proto-Germanic *hailitho, from PIE *kailo- "whole, uninjured, of good omen" (cognates: Old English hal "hale, whole;" Old Norse heill "healthy;" Old English halig, Old Norse helge "holy, sacred;" Old English hælan "to heal"). With Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Of physical health in Middle English, but also "prosperity, happiness, welfare; preservation, safety."
- healthcare (n.)
- also health care, 1940, U.S. government-ese, from health + care (n.).
- healthful (adj.)
- late 14c., "wholesome, curative, saving," from health + -ful. Related: Healthfully; healthfulness.
- healthily (adv.)
- 1630s, from healthy + -ly (2).
- healthy (adj.)
- 1550s, from health + -y (2). Slightly earlier in the same sense was healthsome (1530s). Related: Healthiness.
It is wrong to say that certain articles of food are healthy or unhealthy. Wholesome and unwholesome are the right words. A pig may be healthy or unhealthy while alive; but after he is killed and becomes pork, he can enjoy no health, and suffer no sickness. [Eliza Leslie, "Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book," Philadelphia, 1839]