hoity-toity Look up hoity-toity at Dictionary.com
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.
hoke Look up hoke at Dictionary.com
often hoke up, 1935, theatrical slang, probably shortened from hokum.
hokey (adj.) Look up hokey at Dictionary.com
1927, from hoke + -y (2). Related: Hokiness.
hokey-pokey Look up hokey-pokey at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up hokum at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up hold at Dictionary.com
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) Look up hold at Dictionary.com
"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) Look up hold at Dictionary.com
"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.) Look up hold up at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up hold-out at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up holder at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, "tenant, occupier," agent noun from hold (v.). Meaning "device for holding something" is attested from 1833.
holding (n.) Look up holding at Dictionary.com
early 13c., verbal noun of hold. As a football (soccer) penalty, from 1866. Meaning "property held," especially stock shares, is from 1570s.
hole (n.) Look up hole at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up hole at Dictionary.com
"to make a hole," Old English holian "to hollow out, scoop out" (see hole (n.)). Related: Holed; holing.
holey (adj.) Look up holey at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from hole + -y (2). The -e- retained so the eye may distinguish it from holy.
holiday (n.) Look up holiday at Dictionary.com
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.
holier-than-thou Look up holier-than-thou at Dictionary.com
as an adjectival phrase in reference to supercilious sanctimony attested by 1888, American English. The text is in Isaiah lxv:5.
holiness (n.) Look up holiness at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up holism at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up holistic at Dictionary.com
1939, from holism + -istic. Holistic medicine is first attested 1960. Related: Holistically.
holla Look up holla at Dictionary.com
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.
Holland Look up Holland at Dictionary.com
"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.
hollandaise Look up hollandaise at Dictionary.com
1841, from French sauce hollandaise "Dutch sauce," from fem. of hollandais "Dutch," from Hollande "Holland."
Hollander Look up Hollander at Dictionary.com
"native or inhabitant of Holland," mid-15c., from Holland + -er (1).
holler (v.) Look up holler at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up hollow at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up hollow at Dictionary.com
late 14c., holowen, from hollow (adj.). Related: Hollowed; hollowing.
hollow (n.) Look up hollow at Dictionary.com
"lowland, valley, basin," 1550s, probably a modern formation from hollow (adj.). Old English had holh (n.) "cave, den; internal cavity."
holly (n.) Look up holly at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up hollyhock at Dictionary.com
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."
Hollywood Look up Hollywood at Dictionary.com
region near Los Angeles, named for the ranch that once stood there, which was named by Deida Wilcox, wife of Horace H. Wilcox, Kansas City real estate man, when they moved there in 1886. They began selling off building lots in 1891 and the village was incorporated in 1903. Once a quiet farming community, by 1910 barns were being converted into movie studios. The name was used generically for "American movies" from 1926, three years after the giant sign was set up, originally Hollywoodland, another real estate developer's promotion.
holm (n.) Look up holm at Dictionary.com
late Old English, from Old Norse holmr "small island, especially in a bay or river," also "meadow by a shore," or cognate Old Danish hulm "low lying land," from Proto-Germanic *hul-maz, from PIE root *kel- (4) "to rise, be elevated, be prominent; hill" (see hill (n.)). Obsolete, but preserved in place names. Cognate Old English holm (only attested in poetic language) meant "sea, ocean, wave."
holmium (n.) Look up holmium at Dictionary.com
rare earth element, named by French chemist Lecoq de Boisbaudran (1838-1912) in 1886, from holmia "holmium oxide," a Modern Latin word coined by the earth's discoverer, Swedish chemist Per Teodor Cleve (1840-1905), in 1879 from Holmia, Latin name of Stockholm. With metallic element ending -ium.
holo- Look up holo- at Dictionary.com
before vowels, hol-, word-forming element meaning "whole, entire, complete," from Greek holo-, comb. form of holos "whole, entire, complete," also "safe and sound," from PIE *sol-wo-, from root *sol- (see safe (adj.)).
holocaust (n.) Look up holocaust at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "sacrifice by fire, burnt offering," from Greek holokauston "a thing wholly burnt," neuter of holokaustos "burned whole," from holos "whole" (see holo-) + kaustos, verbal adjective of kaiein "to burn." Originally a Bible word for "burnt offerings," given wider sense of "massacre, destruction of a large number of persons" from 1833. The Holocaust "Nazi genocide of European Jews in World War II," first recorded 1957, earlier known in Hebrew as Shoah "catastrophe." The word itself was used in English in reference to Hitler's Jewish policies from 1942, but not as a proper name for them.
Auschwitz makes all too clear the principle that the human psyche can create meaning out of anything. [Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors"]
Holocene (adj.) Look up Holocene at Dictionary.com
in reference to the epoch that began 10,000 years ago and continues today, 1897, from French holocène (1867), from Greek holo-, comb. form of holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)) + -cene.
hologram (n.) Look up hologram at Dictionary.com
1949, coined by Hungarian-born British scientist Dennis Gabor (Gábor Dénes), 1971 Nobel prize winner in physics for his work in holography; from Greek holos "whole" (in sense of three-dimensional; see safe (adj.)) + -gram.
holograph (n.) Look up holograph at Dictionary.com
"document written entirely by the person from whom it proceeds," 1620s, from Late Latin holographus, from Greek holographos "written entirely by the same hand," literally "written in full," from holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)) + graphos "written," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Modern use, with reference to holograms, is a 1960s back-formation from holography.
holographic (adj.) Look up holographic at Dictionary.com
early 18c., of writing, from holograph + -ic; physics sense is from 1964 (see holography).
holography (n.) Look up holography at Dictionary.com
early 19c., of writing, from holograph + -y (4); physics sense, "process of using holograms," is from 1964, coined by discoverer, Hungarian-born physicist Gábor Dénes (1900-1979), from hologram on analogy of telegraphy/telegram.
holomorphic (adj.) Look up holomorphic at Dictionary.com
1880, from holo- + morphic (see metamorphosis).
holophrastic (adj.) Look up holophrastic at Dictionary.com
1837, from holo- + Greek phrastikos, from phrazein "to indicate, tell, express" (see phrase (n.)).
Holstein Look up Holstein at Dictionary.com
breed of cattle, 1865; so called because originally raised in nearby Friesland. The place name is literally "woodland settlers," from the roots of German Holz "wood" (see holt) and siedeln "to settle," altered by influence of Stein "stone." Since 15c. it has been united with the Duchy of Schleswig.
holster (n.) Look up holster at Dictionary.com
"leather case for a pistol," 1660s, probably from Old English heolster, earlier helustr "concealment, hiding place," from Proto-Germanic *hulfti- (cognates: Old High German hulft "cover, case, sheath," Old Norse hulstr "case, sheath," Middle Dutch holster, German Halfter "holster"), from PIE *kel- (2) "to cover, to hide" (see cell). Intermediate forms are wanting, and the modern word could as well be from the Norse or Dutch cognates.
holster (v.) Look up holster at Dictionary.com
by 1902, from holster (n.). Related: Holstered; holstering.
holt (n.) Look up holt at Dictionary.com
Old English holt "woods," common in place names, from Proto-Germanic *hultam- (cognates: Old Frisian, Old Norse, Middle Dutch holt, Dutch hout, German Holz "wood"), from PIE *kldo- (cognates: Old Church Slavonic klada "beam, timber," Greek klados "twig," Old Irish caill "wood"), from root *kel- (1) "to strike, cut."
holy (adj.) Look up holy at Dictionary.com
Old English halig "holy, consecrated, sacred, godly," from Proto-Germanic *hailaga- (cognates: Old Norse heilagr, Old Frisian helich "holy," Old Saxon helag, Middle Dutch helich, Old High German heilag, German heilig, Gothic hailags "holy"). Adopted at conversion for Latin sanctus.

Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not possible to determine, but probably it was "that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated," and connected with Old English hal (see health) and Old High German heil "health, happiness, good luck" (source of the German salutation Heil). Holy water was in Old English. Holy has been used as an intensifying word from 1837; used in expletives since 1880s (such as holy smoke, 1883, holy mackerel, 1876, holy cow, 1914, holy moly etc.), most of them euphemisms for holy Christ or holy Moses.
Holy Land Look up Holy Land at Dictionary.com
"western Palestine, Judaea," late 13c., translating Medieval Latin terra sancta (11c.).
holystone (n.) Look up holystone at Dictionary.com
soft sandstone used to scrub decks of sailing ships, 1777, despite the spelling, so called perhaps because it is full of holes. As a verb, by 1828.
homage (n.) Look up homage at Dictionary.com
late 13c., from Old French homage (12c., Modern French hommage) "allegiance or respect for one's feudal lord," from homme "man," from Latin homo (genitive hominis) "man" (see homunculus). Figurative sense of "reverence, honor shown" is from late 14c. As a verb, from 1590s (agent noun homager is from c. 1400).