- 1620s, Hocas Pocas, common name of a magician or juggler, a sham-Latin invocation used in tricks, probably based on a perversion of the sacramental blessing from the Mass, Hoc est corpus meum "This is my body." The first to make this speculation on its origin apparently was English prelate John Tillotson (1630-1694).
I will speak of one man ... that went about in King James his time ... who called himself, the Kings Majesties most excellent Hocus Pocus, and so was called, because that at the playing of every Trick, he used to say, Hocus pocus, tontus tabantus, vade celeriter jubeo, a dark composure of words, to blinde the eyes of the beholders, to make his Trick pass the more currantly without discovery. [Thomas Ady, "A Candle in the Dark," 1655]
- hod (n.)
- 1570s, alteration of Middle English hott "pannier" (c.1300), from Old French hotte "basket to carry on the back," apparently from Frankish *hotta or some other Germanic source (compare Middle High German hotze "cradle"). Altered by influence of cognate Middle Dutch hodde "basket."
- see hodgepodge.
- hodgepodge (n.)
- also hodge podge, hodge-podge, early 15c., hogpoch, alteration of hotchpotch (late 14c.) "a kind of stew," especially "one made with goose, herbs, spices, wine, and other ingredients," earlier an Anglo-French legal term (late 13c.) meaning "collection of property in a common 'pot' before dividing it equally," from Old French hochepot "stew, soup," first element from hocher "to shake," from a Germanic source (such as Middle High German hotzen "shake").
- Hodgkin's disease
- 1877, named for Dr. Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866) who first described it.
- hoe (n.)
- mid-14c., from Old French houe (12c.), from Frankish *hauwa, from Proto-Germanic *hawwan (cognates: Old High German houwa "hoe, mattock, pick-axe," German Haue), from PIE *kau- "to hew, strike" (see hew). The verb is first recorded early 15c. Related: Hoed; hoeing.
- hoe-cake (n.)
- 1745, American English, said to be so called because it originally was baked on the broad thin blade of a cotton-field hoe (n.).
- hoedown (n.)
- "noisy dance," 1841, apparently originally the name of a specific dance, perhaps from perceived parallel of dance motions to those of farm chores, hence from hoe (n.).
The step of every negro dance that was ever known, was called into requisition and admirably executed. They performed the "double shuffle," the "Virginny break-down," the "Kentucky heeltap," the "pigeon wing," the "back balance lick," the "Arkansas hoe down," with unbounded applause and irresistible effect. ["Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch's Texas Rangers," 1848]
"Hoe corn, hill tobacco" is noted as a line in the chorus of a slave song in 1838, and Washington Irving writes of a dance called "hoe corn and dig potatoes" in 1807.
The same precedence is repeated until all the merchandise is disposed of, the table is then banished the room, and the whole party hoe it down in straight fours and set dances, till the hour when "ghosts wandering here and there, troop home to church-yards." This is what we kintra folk call a strauss. ["Der Teufelskerl. A Tale of German Pennsylvania," in "Burton's Gentleman's Magazine," January 1840]
- hoer (n.)
- 1740s, agent noun from hoe (v.).
- hog (n.)
- late 12c. (implied in hogaster), "swine reared for slaughter" (usually about a year old), also used by stockmen for "young sheep" (mid-14c.) and for "horse older than one year," suggesting the original sense had something to do with an age, not a type of animal. Not evidenced in Old English, but it may have existed. Possibility of British Celtic origin [Watkins, etc.] is regarded by OED as "improbable." Figurative sense of "gluttonous person" is first recorded early 15c. Meaning "Harley-Davidson motorcycle" is attested from 1967.
To go hog wild is from 1904. Hog in armor "awkward or clumsy person in ill-fitting attire" is from 1650s. Phrase to go the whole hog (1828) is sometimes said to be from the butcher shop option of buying the whole slaughtered animal (at a discount) rather than just the choice bits. But it is perhaps rather from the story (recorded in English from 1779) of Muslim sophists, forbidden by the Quran from eating a certain unnamed part of the hog, who debated which part was intended and managed to exempt the whole of it from the prohibition. Road hog is attested from 1886.
- hog (v.)
- "to appropriate greedily," U.S. slang, 1884 (first attested in "Huck Finn"), from hog (n.). Related: Hogged; hogging.
- hog-tie (v.)
- also hogtie, "bind hands and feet," 1887, from hog (n.) + tie (v.). Related: Hog-tied.
- hogan (n.)
- "Navaho Indian dwelling," 1871, American English, from Athapaskan (Navaho) hoghan "dwelling, house."
- hogger (n.)
- "swineherd, herdsman," early 14c., from hog (n.).
- hoggish (adj.)
- "gluttonous," late 15c., from hog (n.) + -ish. Related: Hoggishly; hoggishness.
- hogshead (n.)
- "large cask or barrel," late 14c., presumably on some perceived resemblance. The original liquid measure was 63 old wine gallons (by a statute of 1423); later anywhere from 100 to 140 gallons. Borrowed into other Germanic languages, oddly, as ox-head (Dutch okshoofd, German oxhoft, Swedish oxhufvud).
- hogwash (n.)
- mid-15c., "slops fed to pigs," from hog (n.) + wash (n.). Extended to "cheap liquor" (1712) then to "inferior writing" (1773).
- hogweed (n.)
- 1707, from hog (n.) + weed; used in different places of various plants eaten by hogs or deemed fit only for them.
- hoi polloi
- 1837, from Greek hoi polloi (plural) "the people," literally "the many" (plural of polys; see poly-). Used in Greek by Dryden (1668) and Byron (1822), in both cases preceded by the, even though Greek hoi means "the," a mistake repeated often by subsequent writers, who at least have the excuse of ignorance of Greek.
- hoist (v.)
- 1540s, "to raise," earlier hoise (c.1500), probably originally past tense of Middle English hysse (late 15c.), which is probably from Middle Dutch hyssen (Dutch hijsen) "to hoist," related to Low German hissen and Old Norse hissa upp "raise." A nautical word found in most European languages (French hisser, Italian issare, Spanish izar), but it is uncertain which had it first. Related: Hoisted; hoisting. In phrase hoist with one's own petard, it is the past participle.
For 'tis the sport, to have the engineer
Meaning "to lift and remove" was prevalent c.1550-1750. As a noun, 1650s, from the verb.
Hoist with his own petar: and it shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
["Hamlet," Act III, Scene iv]
- also hoity toity, 1660s, "riotous behavior," from earlier highty tighty "frolicsome, flighty," perhaps an alteration and reduplication of dialectal hoyting "acting the hoyden, romping" (1590s), see hoyden. Sense of "haughty" first recorded late 1800s, probably on similarity of sound.
- often hoke up, 1935, theatrical slang, probably shortened from hokum.
- hokey (adj.)
- 1927, from hoke + -y (2). Related: Hokiness.
- 1847, "false cheap material," perhaps an alteration of hocus-pocus, or from the nonsense chorus and title of a comic song (Hokey Pokey Whankey Fong) that was popular c.1830. Applied especially to cheap ice cream sold by street vendors (1884), in Philadelphia, and perhaps other places, it meant shaved ice with artificial flavoring. The words also were the title of a Weber-Fields musical revue from 1912. The modern dance song of that name hit the U.S. in 1950 ("Life" described it Nov. 27, 1950, as "a tuneless stomp that is now sweeping the U.C.L.A. campus"), but it is said to have originated in Britain in World War II, perhaps from a Canadian source.
- hokum (n.)
- 1917, theater slang, "melodramatic, exaggerated acting," probably formed on model of bunkum (see bunk (n.2)), and perhaps influenced by or based on hocus-pocus.
- hold (v.)
- Old English haldan (Anglian), healdan (West Saxon), "to contain, grasp; retain; foster, cherish," class VII strong verb (past tense heold, past participle healden), from Proto-Germanic *haldan (cognates: Old Saxon haldan, Old Frisian halda, Old Norse halda, Dutch houden, German halten "to hold," Gothic haldan "to tend"), originally "to keep, tend, watch over" (as cattle), later "to have." Ancestral sense is preserved in behold. The original past participle holden was replaced by held beginning 16c., but survives in some legal jargon and in beholden.
Hold back is 1530s, transitive; 1570s, intransitive; hold off is early 15c., transitive; c.1600, intransitive; hold out is 1520s as "to stretch forth," 1580s as "to resist pressure." Hold on is early 13c. as "to maintain one's course," 1830 as "to keep one's grip on something," 1846 as an order to wait or stop. To hold (one's) tongue "be silent" is from c.1300. To hold (one's) own is from early 14c. To hold (someone's) hand "give moral support" is from 1935. Phrase hold your horses "be patient" is from 1844. To have and to hold have been paired alliteratively since at least c.1200, originally of marriage but also of real estate.
- hold (n.2)
- "space in a ship below the lower deck, in which cargo is stowed," 15c. corruption in the direction of hold (v.) of Old English hol "hole" (see hole), influenced by Middle Dutch hol "hold of a ship," and Middle English hul, which originally meant both "the hold" and "the hull" of a ship (see hull). Or possibly from Old English holu "husk, pod." All from PIE *kel- "to cover, conceal."
- hold (n.1)
- "act of holding," c.1100; "grasp, grip," c.1200, from Old English geheald (Anglian gehald) "keeping, custody, guard; watch, protector, guardian," from hold (v.). Meaning "place of refuge" is from c.1200; "fortified place" is from c.1300; "place of imprisonment" is from late 14c. Wrestling sense is from 1713. No holds barred "with all restrictions removed" is first recorded 1942 in theater jargon but is ultimately from wrestling. Telephoning sense is from c.1964, from expression hold the line, warning that one is away from the receiver, 1912.
- hold up (v.)
- also holdup, hold-up, late 13c., "to keep erect;" 1837 as "to delay." The verb meaning "to stop by force and rob" is from 1887, from the robber's command to raise hands. The noun in this sense is from 1851.
- hold-out (n.)
- one who abstains or refrains when others do not, by 1911, from verbal expression hold out; see hold (v.) + out. Earlier as the name of a card-sharper's device (1893).
- holder (n.)
- c.1400, "tenant, occupier," agent noun from hold (v.). Meaning "device for holding something" is attested from 1833.
- holding (n.)
- early 13c., verbal noun of hold. As a football (soccer) penalty, from 1866. Meaning "property held," especially stock shares, is from 1570s.
- hole (n.)
- Old English hol "orifice, hollow place, cave, perforation," from Proto-Germanic *hul (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German hol, Middle Dutch hool, Old Norse holr, German hohl "hollow," Gothic us-hulon "to hollow out"), from PIE root *kel- (2) "to cover, conceal" (see cell).
As a contemptuous word for "small dingy lodging or abode" it is attested from 1610s. Meaning "a fix, scrape, mess" is from 1760. Obscene slang use for "vulva" is implied from mid-14c. Hole in the wall "small and unpretentious place" is from 1822; to hole up first recorded 1875. To need (something) like a hole in the head, applied to something useless or detrimental, first recorded 1944 in entertainment publications, probably a translation of a Yiddish expression such as ich darf es vi a loch in kop.
- hole (v.)
- "to make a hole," Old English holian "to hollow out, scoop out" (see hole (n.)). Related: Holed; holing.
- holey (adj.)
- late 14c., from hole + -y (2). The -e- retained so the eye may distinguish it from holy.
- holiday (n.)
- 1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg "holy day; Sabbath," from halig "holy" (see holy) + dæg "day" (see day); in 14c. meaning both "religious festival" and "day of recreation," but pronunciation and sense diverged 16c. As a verb meaning "to pass the holidays" by 1869. Happy holidays is from mid-19c., in British English, with reference to summer vacation from school. As a Christmastime greeting, by 1937, American English, in Camel cigarette ads.
- as an adjectival phrase in reference to supercilious sanctimony attested by 1888, American English. The text is in Isaiah lxv:5.
- holiness (n.)
- Old English halignis "holiness, sanctity, religion; holy thing;" see holy + -ness. Compare Old High German heilagnissa. As title of the Pope, it translates Latin sanctitas (until c.600 also applied to bishops).
- holism (n.)
- 1926, apparently by South African Gen. J.C. Smuts (1870-1950) in his book "Holism and Evolution" which treats of evolution as a process of unification of separate parts; from Greek holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)) + -ism.
This character of "wholeness" meets us everywhere and points to something fundamental in the universe. Holism (from [holos] = whole) is the term here coined for this fundamental factor operative towards the creation of wholes in the universe. [Smuts, "Holism and Evolution," p.86]
- holistic (adj.)
- 1939, from holism + -istic. Holistic medicine is first attested 1960. Related: Holistically.
- as a command to "stop, cease," 1520s, from French holà (15c.). As a command to get attention, from 1580s. As an urban slang form of holler (v.) and meaning "greet, shout out to," it was in use by 2003.
- "the Netherlands," early 14c., from Dutch Holland, probably Old Dutch holt lant "wood land," describing the district around Dordrecht, the nucleus of Holland. Technically, just one province of the Netherlands, but in English use extended to the whole nation.
- 1841, from French sauce hollandaise "Dutch sauce," from fem. of hollandais "Dutch," from Hollande "Holland."
- "native or inhabitant of Holland," mid-15c., from Holland + -er (1).
- holler (v.)
- 1690s, American English, variant of hollo (1540s) "to shout," especially "to call to the hounds in hunting," related to hello. Compare colloquial yeller for yellow, etc. As a style of singing (originally Southern U.S.), first recorded 1936. Related: Hollered; hollering. As a noun, from 1896, earlier hollar (1825).
- hollow (adj.)
- c.1200, from Old English holh (n.) "hollow place, hole," from Proto-Germanic *hul-, from PIE *kel- (2) "to cover, conceal" (see cell). The figurative sense of "insincere" is attested from 1520s. Related: Hollowly; hollowness. To carry it hollow "take it completely" is first recorded 1660s, of unknown origin or connection.
- hollow (v.)
- late 14c., holowen, from hollow (adj.). Related: Hollowed; hollowing.
- hollow (n.)
- "lowland, valley, basin," 1550s, probably a modern formation from hollow (adj.). Old English had holh (n.) "cave, den; internal cavity."
- holly (n.)
- mid-15c., earlier holin (mid-12c.), shortening of Old English holegn "holly," from Proto-Germanic *hulin- (cognates: Old Saxon, Old High German hulis, Old Norse hulfr, Middle Dutch huls, Dutch, German hulst "holly"), cognate with Middle Irish cuilenn, Welsh celyn, Gaelic cuilionn "holly," probably all from PIE root *kel- (5) "to prick" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic kolja "to prick," Russian kolos "ear of corn"), in reference to its leaves. French houx "holly" is from Frankish *huls or some other Germanic source.
- hollyhock (n.)
- mid-13c., holihoc, from holi "holy" (see holy) + hokke "mallow," from Old English hocc, of unknown origin. Another early name for the plant was caulis Sancti Cuthberti "St. Cuthbert's cole."