hairpin (n.) Look up hairpin at
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.) Look up hairstyle at
also hair-style, "way of wearing the hair," 1913, from hair + style (n.).
hairy (adj.) Look up hairy at
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 Look up Haiti at
from Arawak haiti "land of mountains," and probably originally the name of the whole island. Related: Haitian.
hajj (n.) Look up hajj at
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.
hake (n.) Look up hake at
type of sea fish, late 13c., probably from Old English haca "a hook, door-fastening" (related to hacod "pike" the fish), or from cognate Old Norse haki "hook;" in either case the fish so called from the shape of its jaw; both from Proto-Germanic *hakan (cognate with Dutch hake "hook"), from PIE root *keg- "hook, tooth" (see hook (n.)).
Hakeem Look up Hakeem at
also Hakim, masculine proper name, from Arabic hakim "wise," as a noun "physician; philosopher; governor," from stem of hakuma "he was wise;" whence also hakam "judge," hikmah "wisdom, science."
Hakenkreuz (n.) Look up Hakenkreuz at
1931, proper German name for the Nazi swastika (q.v.), literally "hook-cross," from Old High German hako "hook," from Proto-Germanic *hoka-, from PIE *keg- "hook, tooth" (see hook (n.)).
halal (adj.) Look up halal at
1858, Arabic, literally "lawful." Halal food has been prepared in a manner prescribed by Islamic law.
halberd (n.) Look up halberd at
medieval weapon (a broad blade with sharp edges, ending in a point and mounted on a long handle), late 15c., from Middle French hallebarde (earlier alabarde, 15c.), from Middle High German halmbarte "broad-axe with handle," from halm "handle" (see helm) + barte "hatchet," possibly from Proto-Germanic *bardoz "beard," also "hatchet, broadax." Alternative etymology [Kluge, Darmesteter] traces first element to helm "helmet," making the weapon an axe for smashing helmets. In 15c.-16c. especially the arm of foot-soldiers.
halcyon (adj.) Look up halcyon at
"calm, quiet, peaceful," 1540s, in halcyon dayes (translating Latin alcyonei dies, Greek alkyonides hemerai), 14 days of calm weather at the winter solstice, when a mythical bird (also identified with the kingfisher) was said to breed in a nest floating on calm seas. The name of this fabulous bird is attested in Middle English as alcioun (late 14c.). The name is from Latin halcyon, alcyon, from Greek halkyon, variant (perhaps a misspelling) of alkyon "kingfisher," a word of unknown origin. The explanation that this is from hals "sea; salt" (see halo-) + kyon "conceiving," present participle of kyein "to conceive," literally "to swell" (see cumulus) probably is ancient folk-etymology to explain a loan-word from a non-Indo-European language. Identified in mythology with Halcyone, daughter of Aeolus, who when widowed threw herself into the sea and became a kingfisher.
hale (adj.) Look up hale at
"in good health, robust," Old English hal "healthy, sound, safe; entire; uninjured; genuine, straightforward" (see health). The Scottish and northern English form of whole and with a more etymological spelling. It later acquired a literary sense of "free from infirmity" (1734), especially in reference to the aged. Related: Haleness.
hale (v.) Look up hale at
c. 1200, "drag, pull," in Middle English used of arrows, bowstrings, reins, swords, anchors, etc., from Old French haler "to pull, haul, tow, tug" (12c.), from Frankish *halon or Old Dutch halen or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *halon "to call," from PIE *kele- (2) "to shout" (see claim (v.)). Figurative sense of "to draw (someone) from one condition to another" is late 14c. Related: Haled; haling.
half Look up half at
Old English half, halb (Mercian), healf (W. Saxon) "side, part," not necessarily of equal division (original sense preserved in behalf), from Proto-Germanic *halbaz "something divided" (cognates: Old Saxon halba, Old Norse halfr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch half, German halb, Gothic halbs "half"), perhaps from PIE (s)kel- (1) "to cut" (see shell (n.)). Noun, adjective, and adverb all were in Old English.

Used also in Old English phrases, as in modern German, to mean "one half unit less than," for example þridda healf "two and a half," literally "half third." The construction in two and a half, etc., is first recorded c. 1200. Of time, in half past ten, etc., first attested 1750; in Scottish, the half often is prefixed to the following hour (as in German, halb elf = "ten thirty"). To go off half-cocked in the figurative sense "speak or act too hastily" (1833) is in allusion to firearms going off prematurely; half-cocked in a literal sense "with the cock lifted to the first catch, at which position the trigger does not act" is recorded by 1750. In 1770 it was noted as a synonym for "drunk."
half seas over (adj.) Look up half seas over at
slang for "drunk," 1736, sometimes said to be from notion of a ship heavy-laden and so low in the water that small waves (half seas) wash over the deck. This suits the sense, but the phrase is not recorded in this alleged literal sense. Half seas over "halfway across the sea" is recorded from 1550s, however, and it was given a figurative extension to "halfway through a matter" by 1690s. What drunkenness is halfway to is not clear.
half- Look up half- at
in genealogical combinations, "sharing one parent," Middle English, from half.
half-and-half (n.) Look up half-and-half at
1756 as "ale and porter;" as a mixture of milk and cream, by 1946.
half-assed (adj.) Look up half-assed at
"ineffectual," 1932; "Dictionary of American Slang" suggests it is perhaps a humorous mispronunciation of haphazard. Compare half-hearted.
half-baked (adj.) Look up half-baked at
1620s as "underdone;" colloquial figurative sense of "silly, immature" is from 1855; see half + bake (v.).
half-blood (n.) Look up half-blood at
"person of mixed race," 1826; see half + blood (n.). As an adjective, "born of one parent the same and one different," from 1550s. Half-blooded as an adjective in this sense is from c. 1600.
half-breed (n.) Look up half-breed at
"person of mixed race," 1760; as an adjective by 1762; from half + breed (n.).
half-brother (n.) Look up half-brother at
early 14c., from half- + brother.
half-caste (adj.) Look up half-caste at
1789, Anglo-Indian, in reference to the offspring of a European father and an Asian mother, from half + caste.
half-cent (n.) Look up half-cent at
U.S. copper coin minted from 1793 to 1857, established and named in the 1786 resolution for a new monetary system; see half + cent.
half-dime (n.) Look up half-dime at
U.S. silver coin minted from 1792 to 1873; originally half-disme; later form by 1800; from half + dime.
half-eagle (n.) Look up half-eagle at
U.S. $5 gold coin minted from 1795 to 1929, authorized in the 1786 resolution for a new monetary system; see half + eagle in the coinage sense.
half-hearted (adj.) Look up half-hearted at
also halfhearted, "showing little enthusiasm," early 15c.; see half + hearted. Related: halfheartedly; halfheartedness. English in 17c. also had half-headed "stupid."
half-hour (n.) Look up half-hour at
"period of thirty minutes," early 15c., from half + hour. Related: Half-hourly.
half-life (n.) Look up half-life at
also halflife, half life, 1864, "unsatisfactory way of living," from half + life; the sense in physics, "amount of time it takes half a given amount of radioactivity to decay" is first attested 1907.
half-mast Look up half-mast at
1620s, from half + mast (n.1).
half-measure (n.) Look up half-measure at
"incomplete effort," 1798, from half + measure (n.).
half-moon (n.) Look up half-moon at
1520s; from half + moon (n.).
half-price (n.) Look up half-price at
1720, from half + price (n.).
half-shirt (n.) Look up half-shirt at
1660s, "shirt front," from half + shirt. In modern use, "shirt cropped high at the waist," 2000.
half-sister (n.) Look up half-sister at
c. 1200, from half- + sister.
half-time (n.) Look up half-time at
also halftime, half time, indicating "half of the time," 1640s, from half + time (n.). Tempo sense is by 1880. In football, from 1867.
half-track (n.) Look up half-track at
also halftrack, type of military vehicle with traction-chains as well as wheels, 1927, from half + track (n.).
half-truth (n.) Look up half-truth at
1650s, from half + truth.
half-wit (n.) Look up half-wit at
"simpleton" (one lacking all his wits), 1755, from half + wit (n.). Earlier "a would-be wit whose abilities are mediocre" (1670s).
Half-wits are fleas; so little and so light,
We scarce could know they live, but that they bite.
[Dryden, "All for Love"]
Phrase out of half wit "half out of one's mind" was in Middle English (late 14c.). Half-witted "lacking common sense" is from 1640s.
halfling (n.) Look up halfling at
"one not fully grown," 1794, from half + -ling.
halfpenny (n.) Look up halfpenny at
mid-13c. (though implied in Old English healfpenigwurð "halfpenny-worth"); see half + penny.
halfway (adv.) Look up halfway at
also half-way, Old English healfweg; see half + way (n.). Halfway house originally was a common name for inns midway between cities or stages.
hali- Look up hali- at
word-forming element meaning "salt, a lump of salt," from Greek hali-, comb. form of hals (genitive halos) "a lump of salt, salt generally," and in Homer, "the sea," from PIE *sal- (1) "salt" (see salt (n.)).
halibut (n.) Look up halibut at
large flatfish, early 15c., perhaps from hali "holy" (see holy) + butte "flatfish;" supposedly so called from its being eaten on holy days (compare cognate Dutch heilbot, Low German heilbutt, Swedish helgeflundra, Danish helleflynder). For second element see butt (n.4).
halide (n.) Look up halide at
a compound of a halogen and a metal radical, 1844, from Swedish (Berzelius, 1825), from halo- + chemical suffix -ide.
halieutic (adj.) Look up halieutic at
"pertaining to fishing," 1854, from Latin halieuticus, from Greek halieutikos "pertaining to fishing," from halieuein "to fish," from hals "the sea," literally "salt" (see hali-). Halieutics "writing on the art of fishing" is from 1640s (Latin Halieutica was the title of a poem on fishing by Ovid).
Halifax Look up Halifax at
place in West Yorkshire, late 11c., from Old English halh "secluded spot, nook of land" (cognate with Old English holh "hole, cavity") + feax "rough grass," literally "hair." In popular expressions coupled with Hull and Hell since at least 1620s. "In the 16th cent. the name was wrongly interpreted as OE halig-feax, 'holy hair', and a story invented of a maiden killed by a lustful priest whose advances she refused." [Victor Watts, "English Place-Names"]
halite (n.) Look up halite at
"rock-salt, natural sodium chloride," 1868, coined as Modern Latin halites in 1847 by German mineralogist Ernst Friedrich Glocker (1793-1858), from Greek hals "salt" (see halo-) + chemical noun suffix -ite (2).
halitosis (n.) Look up halitosis at
"bad breath," 1874, coined in Modern Latin from Latin halitus "breath, exhalation, steam, vapor" (which is related to halare "to breathe, emit vapor") + Greek-based noun suffix -osis.
hall (n.) Look up hall at
Old English heall "spacious roofed residence, house; temple; law-court," any large place covered by a roof, from Proto-Germanic *hallo "covered place, hall" (cognates: Old Saxon, Old High German halla, German halle, Dutch hal, Old Norse höll "hall;" Old English hell, Gothic halja "hell"), from PIE root *kel- (2) "to hide, cover, conceal" (see cell).

Sense of "passageway in a building" evolved 17c., from the time when the doors to private rooms opened onto the large public room of the house. Older sense preserved in town hall, music hall, etc., in use of the word in Britain and Southern U.S. for "manor house," also "main building of a college" (late 14c.). French halle, Italian alla are from Middle High German. Hall of fame attested by 1786 as an abstract concept; in sporting sense first attested 1901, in reference to Columbia College; the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in 1939. Related: Hall-of-famer.