herpetology (n.) Look up herpetology at Dictionary.com
"study of reptiles," 1816, from French herpétologie (18c.), coined from Greek herpeton "reptile," literally "creeping thing," from herpein "to creep" (see serpent) + logia (see -logy). Related: Herpetologist.
Herr Look up Herr at Dictionary.com
German equivalent of Mr., 1650s, originally "nobler, superior," from Middle High German herre, from Old High German herro, comparative of her "noble, worthy, exalted," from PIE *kei-, a color adjective, in suffixed form *koi-ro- here meaning "gray, hoary," hence "gray-haired, venerable." Cognate with Old Frisian hera, Dutch heer; perhaps in this usage a loan-translation of Latin senior. Hence also Herrenvolk "master race," in Nazi ideology, the concept of the German people.
herring (n.) Look up herring at Dictionary.com
Old English hering (Anglian), hæring (West Saxon), from West Germanic *heringgaz (cognates: Old Frisian hereng, Middle Dutch herinc, German Hering), of unknown origin, perhaps related to or influenced in form by Old English har "gray, hoar," from the color, or to Old High German heri "host, multitude" from its large schools.

French hareng, Italian aringa are from Germanic. The Battle of the Herrings (French bataille des harengs) is the popular name for the battle at Rouvrai, Feb. 12, 1492, fought in defense of a convoy of provisions, mostly herrings and other "lenten stuffe."
herringbone Look up herringbone at Dictionary.com
also herring-bone, 1650s in literal sense and also as a type of stitch, from herring + bone (n.). From 1905 as a type of cirrocumulus cloud.
hers Look up hers at Dictionary.com
c.1300, hires, from her; a double possessive. Possessive pronouns in Modern English consist of the predicative (mine, thine, his, ours, yours, theirs) that come after the subject, and the attributive (my, thy, his, her, our, your, their) that come before it. In Old English and early Middle English, they were identical. To keep speech fluid, speakers began to affix an -n to the end of my and thy before words that began with vowels. This began late 13c. in the north of England, and by 1500 was standard.

Then the predicative and attributive pronouns split, and the pronouns in that class usually took up -s, the regular affix of possession. But the non-standard speech of the Midlands and south of England extended -n throughout (hisn, hern, yourn), a habit attested from 14c. and more regular than the standard speech, which mixes -s and -n.
herself Look up herself at Dictionary.com
Old English hire self; see her (objective case) + self. Originally dative, but since 14c. often treated as genitive, hence her own sweet self, etc. Also see himself.
Hertfordshire Look up Hertfordshire at Dictionary.com
Old English Heortfordscir, from Herutford (731), literally "ford frequented by harts."
Hertz Look up Hertz at Dictionary.com
unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second, 1928, named in reference to German physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894).
Herzegovina Look up Herzegovina at Dictionary.com
former Austrian duchy in the Balkans, from Old Serbian herceg "duke" (related to Modern German Herzog) + possessive ending -ov + -ina "country."
hesitance (n.) Look up hesitance at Dictionary.com
c.1600, from Latin haesitantia (see hesitancy).
hesitancy (n.) Look up hesitancy at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Latin haesitantia "action of stammering," from haesitantem (nominative haesitans) "stammering," present participle of haesitare (see hesitation).
hesitant (adj.) Look up hesitant at Dictionary.com
1640s, probably a back-formation from hesitancy, or else from Latin haesitantem. Related: Hesitantly.
hesitate (v.) Look up hesitate at Dictionary.com
1620s, from Latin haesitatum, past participle of haesitare (see hesitation). Related: Hesitated; hesitating.
hesitation (n.) Look up hesitation at Dictionary.com
c.1400, from Old French hesitacion or directly from Latin haesitationem (nominative haesitatio) "a hesitation, stammering," figuratively "irresolution, uncertainty," noun of action from past participle stem of haesitare "stick fast, remain fixed; stammer in speech," figuratively "hesitate, be irresolute, be at a loss, be undecided," frequentative of haerere "stick, cling," from PIE *ghais-e (source also of Lithuanian gaistu "to delay, tarry"), from root *ghais- "to adhere; hesitate."
hesitative (adj.) Look up hesitative at Dictionary.com
1795, from hesitate + -ive. Related: Hesitatively.
Hesperus Look up Hesperus at Dictionary.com
late 14c., poetic for "the evening star," from Latin Hesperus, from Greek hesperos (aster) "western (star)," from PIE *wes-pero- "evening, night" (see vesper). Hence also Hesperides (1590s), from Greek, "daughters of the West," the nymphs (variously numbered but originally three) who tended the garden with the golden apples. Their name has been mistakenly transferred to the garden itself.
The Hesperides were daughters of Atlas, an enormous giant, who, as the ancients believed, stood upon the western confines of the earth, and supported the heavens on his shoulders. Their mother was Hesperis, a personification of the "region of the West," where the sun continued to shine after he had set on Greece, and where, as travellers told, was an abundance of choice delicious fruits, which could only have been produced by a special divine influence. The Gardens of the Hesperides with the golden apples were believed to exist in some island in the ocean, or, as it was sometimes thought, in the islands on the north or west coast of Africa. They were far-famed in antiquity; for it was there that springs of nectar flowed by the couch of Zeus, and there that the earth displayed the rarest blessings of the gods; it was another Eden. As knowledge increased with regard to western lands, it became necessary to move this paradise farther and farther out into the Western Ocean. [Alexander Murray, "Manual of Mythology," 1888]
Hessian (n.) Look up Hessian at Dictionary.com
"resident of the former Landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel," western Germany; its soldiers being hired out by the ruler to fight for other countries, especially the British during the American Revolution, the name Hessians (unjustly) became synonymous with "mercenaries." Hessian fly (Cecidomyia destructor) was a destructive parasite the ravaged U.S. crops late 18c., so named 1787 in erroneous belief that it was carried into America by the Hessians.
hessonite (n.) Look up hessonite at Dictionary.com
1820, from French essonit (1817), from Greek heson "less" + -ite (2). So called because it is lighter than similar minerals.
hest (n.) Look up hest at Dictionary.com
"bidding, command," Old English hæs "bidding, behest, command," from Proto-Germanic *hait-ti-, from *haitan "to call, name" (see hight (v.)). With -t added in Middle English on model of other pairings (compare wist/wesan).
Hestia Look up Hestia at Dictionary.com
goddess of the hearth, from Greek hestia "hearth, house, home, family" (see vestal).
het (adj.) Look up het at Dictionary.com
"heated," archaic, late 14c., from variant past participle of heat (compare lead (v.)/led, etc.).
hetaera (n.) Look up hetaera at Dictionary.com
1820, "mistress," from Medieval Latin hetaera, from Greek hetaira "female companion," in Athens opposed to "lawful wife," and thus embracing everything from "concubine" to "courtesan;" fem. of hetairos "comrade, companion," from PIE *swet-aro-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e- (see idiom).
hetero- Look up hetero- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "other, different," from comb. form of Greek heteros "the other (of two), another, different;" first element meaning "one, at one, together," from PIE *sem- "one;" the second cognate with the second element in Latin al-ter, Gothic an-þar, Old English o-ðer "other."
heterodox (adj.) Look up heterodox at Dictionary.com
1630s, from Greek heterodoxos, from heteros "the other" (see hetero-) + doxa "opinion," from dokein "to appear, seem, think" (see decent).
heterodoxy (n.) Look up heterodoxy at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Greek heterodoxia "error of opinion," from heterodoxos (see heterodox).
heterogeneity (n.) Look up heterogeneity at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Medieval Latin heterogeneitas, from heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenes (see heterogeneous).
heterogeneous (adj.) Look up heterogeneous at Dictionary.com
1620s, from Medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenes, from heteros "different" (see hetero-) + genos "kind, gender, race stock" (see genus). Earlier in same sense was heterogeneal (c.1600).
heterogenous (adj.) Look up heterogenous at Dictionary.com
1690s, less-correct form of heterogeneous. Related: Heterogeneity.
heterography (n.) Look up heterography at Dictionary.com
"incorrect spelling," 1783; see hetero- + -graphy. Also "inconsistent but current spellings within a language" (as English, in all ages), 1847.
heteromorphic (adj.) Look up heteromorphic at Dictionary.com
"having different or dissimilar forms," 1864; from hetero- + Greek morphe "form" (see Morpheus).
heteronomy (n.) Look up heteronomy at Dictionary.com
1798, "subjection to the rule of another power," from hetero- + Greek nomos "law" (see numismatics). Related: Heteronomic; heteronomous.
heteronym (n.) Look up heteronym at Dictionary.com
"word having the same spelling as another but with a different sound and meaning," 1880s, also "a thing's name in one language that is an exact translation of its name in another;" from hetero- + -onym "name" (see name (n.)). Related: Heteronymic; heteronymous.
heterophemy (n.) Look up heterophemy at Dictionary.com
"the (unintentional) use of some other word or phrase in place of the one that was meant," 1875, from hetero- + Greek pheme "utterance" (see fame (n.)).
heterosexist (adj.) Look up heterosexist at Dictionary.com
"characteristic of discrimination against homosexuals," 1979; see hetero- + sexist. Related: Heterosexism (1979).
heterosexual (adj.) Look up heterosexual at Dictionary.com
1892, in C.G. Craddock's translation of Krafft-Ebbing's "Psychopathia Sexualis," a hybrid; see hetero- + sexual. The noun is recorded from 1920, but not in common use until 1960s. Colloquial shortening hetero is attested from 1933.
heterosexuality (n.) Look up heterosexuality at Dictionary.com
1900; see heterosexual + -ity.
heterotroph (n.) Look up heterotroph at Dictionary.com
1900, from hetero- + Greek trophos "feeder" (see -trophy). Related: Heterotrophic (1893).
heterozygous (adj.) Look up heterozygous at Dictionary.com
1889, from heterozygote, from hetero- + zygote.
hetman (n.) Look up hetman at Dictionary.com
"Cossack commander," 1710, from Polish hetman, apparently from an early form of German Hauptmann "captain," literally "headman," from Haupt "head" (see head (n.)) + Mann (see man (n.)).
heuristic (adj.) Look up heuristic at Dictionary.com
"serving to discover or find out," 1821, irregular formation from Greek heuretikos "inventive," related to heuriskein "to find" (from PIE *were- (2) "to find;" cognate with Old Irish fuar "I have found") + -istic. As a noun, from 1860.
heuristics (n.) Look up heuristics at Dictionary.com
"study of heuristic methods," 1897, from heuristic (n.); also see -ics.
hew (v.) Look up hew at Dictionary.com
Old English heawan "to chop, hack, gash" (class VII strong verb; past tense heow, past participle heawen), earlier geheawan, from Proto-Germanic *hawwan (cognates: Old Norse hoggva, Old Frisian hawa, Old Saxon hauwan, Middle Dutch hauwen, Dutch houwen, Old High German houwan, German hauen "to cut, strike, hew"), from PIE root *kau- "to hew, strike" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic kovo, Lithuanian kauju "to beat, forge;" Latin cudere "to strike, beat;" Middle Irish cuad "beat, fight").

Weak past participle hewede appeared 14c., but hasn't displaced hewn. Seemingly contradictory sense of "hold fast, stick to" (in phrase hew to) developed from hew to the line "stick to a course," literally "cut evenly with an axe or saw," first recorded 1891. Related: Hewed; hewing.
hewer (n.) Look up hewer at Dictionary.com
"cutter" (of stone or wood), mid-12c. as a surname, agent noun from hew (v.). Hwers of wood and drawers of water as the lowliest sort of physical laborers is from Joshua ix:12.
hewn Look up hewn at Dictionary.com
strong past participle of hew.
hex (v.) Look up hex at Dictionary.com
1830, American English, from Pennsylvania German hexe "to practice witchcraft," from German hexen "to hex," related to Hexe "witch," from Middle High German hecse, hexse, from Old High German hagazussa (see hag). Noun meaning "magic spell" is first recorded 1909; earlier it meant "a witch" (1856).
hexa- Look up hexa- at Dictionary.com
before vowels, hex-, word-forming element meaning "six," from Greek hexa-, comb. form of hex "six" (see six).
hexadecimal Look up hexadecimal at Dictionary.com
1954 (adj.); 1970 (n.); from hexa- + decimal.
hexagon (n.) Look up hexagon at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Latin hexagonum, from Greek hexagonon, from hex "six" (see hexa-) + gonia "angle" (see knee (n.)).
hexagonal (adj.) Look up hexagonal at Dictionary.com
1570s, from hexagon + -al (1). Related: Hexagonally.
hexagram (n.) Look up hexagram at Dictionary.com
1863 as a type of geometric figure, from hexa- + -gram. I Ching sense attested from 1882.