- Spanish, literally "the depths," probably in reference to coastal waters on the east side. Said to have been called that by Columbus in 1524. Related: Honduran.
- hone (n.)
- "whetstone," Old English han "stone, rock, (boundary) stone," in Middle English "whetstone" (early 14c.), from Proto-Germanic *haino (source also of Old Norse hein "hone").
- hone (v.)
- 1788, from hone (n.). Related: Honed; honing.
- honer (n.)
- 1826, agent noun from hone (v.); early 14c. as a surname.
- honest (adj.)
- c. 1300, "respectable, decent, of neat appearance," also "free from fraud," from Old French honeste (12c.; Modern French honnête), from Latin honestus "honorable, respected, regarded with honor," figuratively "deserving honor, honorable, respectable," from honos (see honor (n.)). Main modern sense of "dealing fairly, truthful" is c. 1400, as is sense of "virtuous." Phrase to make an honest woman of "marry a woman after seduction" is from 1620s.
- honestly (adv.)
- mid-14c., from honest + -ly (2). As an intensifier or exclamation, from 1898.
- honesty (n.)
- early 14c., "splendor, honor; elegance," later "honorable position; propriety of behavior, good manners; virginity, chastity" (late 14c.), from Old French honesté (Modern French honnêteté), from Latin honestatem (nominative honestas) "honor received from others; reputation, character;" figuratively "uprightness, probity, integrity, virtue," from honestus (see honest). Meaning "moral purity, uprightness, virtue, justness" is from c. 1400; in English, the word originally had more to do with honor than honest.
- honey (n.)
- Old English hunig, from Proto-Germanic *hunagam- (cognates: Old Norse hunang, Swedish honung, Old Saxon huneg, Old Frisian hunig, Middle Dutch honich, Dutch honig, Old High German honang, German Honig "honey"); perhaps from PIE *k(e)neko- "yellow, golden" (cognates: Sanskrit kancanum, Welsh canecon "gold"). The more common Indo-European word is represented by Gothic miliþ (from PIE *melith "honey;" see Melissa). A term of endearment from at least mid-14c. Meaning "anything good of its kind" is 1888, American English.
- honey (v.)
- mid-14c., from honey (n.). Related: Honeyed; honeying.
- honey-bee (n.)
- also honeybee, 1560s, from honey (n.) + bee.
- honeycomb (n.)
- Old English hunigcamb; see honey (n.) + comb (n). Probably the image is from wool combing. Transferred use, of structures of similar appearance, from 1520s. As a verb, from 1620s (implied in honeycombed).
- honeydew (n.)
- "sticky sweet substance found on trees and plants," 1570s, from honey (n.) + dew (n.); honeydew melon first recorded 1916, a cross between cantaloupe and a South African melon.
- honeymoon (n.)
- 1540s, hony moone, but probably much older, "indefinite period of tenderness and pleasure experienced by a newly wed couple," from honey (n.) in reference to the new marriage's sweetness, and moon (n.) in reference to how long it would probably last, or from the changing aspect of the moon: no sooner full than it begins to wane. French has cognate lune de miel, but German version is flitterwochen (plural), from flitter "tinsel" + wochen "week." In figurative use from 1570s. Specific sense of "post-wedding holiday" attested from c. 1800; as a verb in this sense from 1821. Related: Honeymooned; honeymooning.
- honeysuckle (n.)
- mid-13c., from Old English hunigsuge, meaning perhaps honeysuckle, clover, or privet, literally "honey-suck" (see honey (n.) + suck) + diminutive suffix -el (2). So called because "honey" can be sucked from it. In Middle English sometimes a confused rendering of Latin locusta, taken as the name of a plant.
- Hong Kong
- from Cantonese pronunciation of Chinese Xianggang, literally "fragrant port." Perhaps so called from the scent of incense factories or opium cargoes, or from the semi-fresh waters of the bay. The word hong was the general English term for foreign trading establishments in China.
- honi soit qui mal y pense
- Middle French, "shame on him who thinks evil of it;" proverbial expression recorded from c. 1300, used as motto of the Order of the Garter.
- honk (n.)
- cry of a goose, 1814, American English, imitative. As a verb by 1854, of geese; the sense of "sound a horn," especially on an automobile, first recorded 1895 in American English. Related: Honked; honking.
- honky (n.)
- also honkey, derogatory slang word for "white person," by 1967, black slang, of unknown origin, perhaps from late 19c. hunky "East-Central European immigrant," a colloquial shortening of Hungarian. Honky in the sense of "factory hand" is attested from 1946.
- honky-tonk (n.)
- "cheap night club," by 1898, Southern U.S., of unknown origin. As a type of music played in that sort of low saloon, it is attested from 1921.
- chief city of Hawaii, from Hawaiian hono "port" + lulu "calm."
- honor (n.)
- c. 1200, "glory, renown, fame earned," from Anglo-French honour, Old French honor (Modern French honneur), from Latin honorem (nominative honos, later honor) "honor, dignity, office, reputation," of unknown origin. Till 17c., honour and honor were equally frequent; the former now preferred in England, the latter in U.S. by influence of Noah Webster's spelling reforms. Meaning "a woman's chastity" first attested late 14c. Honors "distinction in scholarship" attested by 1782. Honor roll in the scholastic sense attested by 1872. To do the honors (1650s) originally meant the customary civilities and courtesies at a public entertainment, etc.
- honor (v.)
- mid-13c., honuren, "to do honor to," from Old French honorer, from Latin honorare, from honor (see honor (n.)). In the commercial sense of "accept a bill due, etc.," it is recorded from 1706. Related: Honored; honoring.
A custom more honoured in the breach than the observance. Whoever will look up the passage (Hamlet I. iv. 16) will see that it means, beyond a doubt, a custom that one deserves more honour for breaking than for keeping: but it is often quoted in the wrong & very different sense of a dead letter or rule more often broken than kept. [Fowler]
- honorable (adj.)
- early 14c. (mid-13c. as a surname), from Old French honorable, from Latin honorabilis "that procures honor, estimable, honorable," from honorare "to honor" (see honor (n.)). Related: Honorably.
"Now, George, you must divide the cake honorably with your brother Charlie."--George: "What is 'honorably,' mother?" "It means that you must give him the largest piece."--George: "Then, mother, I should rather Charlie would cut it." ["Smart Sayings of Bright Children," collected by Howard Paul, 1886]
- honoraria (n.)
- Latin plural of honorarium.
- honorarium (n.)
- "honorary reward," 1650s, from Latin honorarium (donum), literally "honorary (gift)," but in Latin meaning "bribe paid to get appointed to an honorary post," neuter of adjective honorarius "for the sake of honor," from honos (see honor (n.)).
- honorary (adj.)
- early 17c., from honor + -ary; possibly influenced by French honoraire, Latin honorarius "pertaining to honor, honorary."
- honoree (n.)
- by 1958, from honor + -ee. Alternative honorand, from Latin honorandus, is from 1950.
- fem. proper name, from Latin Honoria, fem. of Honorius "man of reputation," from honos (see honor (n.)).
- honorific (adj.)
- 1640s, from Latin honorificus "that which does honor," from honorem (see honor (n.)) + -ficus "making," from stem of facere "make, do" (see factitious). As a noun, by 1867.
- chiefly British English spelling of honor; also see -or. Related: Honoured; honouring; honours.
- honourable (adj.)
- chiefly British English spelling of honorable; also see -or. Related: Honourably.
- hooch (n.)
- also hootch, "cheap whiskey," 1897, shortened form of Hoochinoo (1877) "liquor made by Alaskan Indians," from the name of a native tribe in Alaska whose distilled liquor was a favorite with miners in 1898 Klondike gold rush; the tribe's name is said by OED to be from Tlingit Hutsnuwu, literally "grizzly bear fort."
As the supply of whisky was very limited, and the throats down which it was poured were innumerable, it was found necessary to create some sort of a supply to meet the demand. This concoction was known as "hooch"; and disgusting as it is, it is doubtful if it is much more poisonous than the whisky itself. [M.H.E. Hayne, "The Pioneers of the Klondyke," London, 1897]
- hoochy koochy (n.)
- also hoochie-coochie, hootchy kootchy, "erotic suggestive women's dance" (involving a lot of hip-grinding), 1898, of obscure origin, usually associated, without evidence, with the Chicago world's fair of 1893 and belly-dancer Little Egypt (who might not even have been there), but the word itself is attested from 1890, as the stage name of minstrel singer "Hoochy-Coochy Rice," and the chorus of the popular minstrel song "The Ham-Fat Man" (by 1856) contains the nonsense phrase "Hoochee, kouchee, kouchee."
To-day, however, in place of the danse du ventre or the coochie-coochie we have the loop-the-loop or the razzle-dazzle, which latter, while not exactly edifying at least do not serve to deprave public taste. ["The Redemption of 'Old Coney,'" in "Broadway Magazine," April 1904]
- hood (n.1)
- "covering," Old English hod "hood," from Proto-Germanic *hodaz (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian hod "hood," Middle Dutch hoet, Dutch hoed "hat," Old High German huot "helmet, hat," German Hut "hat," Old Frisian hode "guard, protection"), from PIE *kadh- "cover" (see hat).
Modern spelling is early 1400s to indicate a "long" vowel, which is no longer pronounced as such. Meaning "removable cover for an automobile engine" attested by 1905. Little Red Riding Hood (1729) translates Charles Perrault's Petit Chaperon Rouge ("Contes du Temps Passé" 1697).
- hood (n.2)
- "gangster," 1930, American English, shortened form of hoodlum.
- hood (v.)
- "to put a hood on," c. 1200, from hood (n.1). Related: Hooded; hooding.
- hood (n.3)
- shortened form of neighborhood, by 1987, U.S. black slang.
- hoodie (n.)
- also hoody, slang shortening of hooded sweatshirt, attested by 1991. Earlier it was a familiar term for the hooded crow (1789).
- hoodlum (n.)
- popularized 1871, American English, (identified throughout the 1870s as "a California word") "young street rowdy, loafer," especially one involved in violence against Chinese immigrants, "young criminal, gangster;" it appears to have been in use locally from a slightly earlier date and may have begun as a specific name of a gang:
The police have recently been investigating the proceedings of a gang of thieving boys who denominate themselves and are known to the world as the Hoodlum Gang. [San Francisco "Golden Era" newspaper, Feb. 16, 1868, p.4]
Of unknown origin, though newspapers of the day printed myriad fanciful stories concocted to account for it. A guess perhaps better than average is that it is from German dialectal (Bavarian) Huddellump "ragamuffin" [Barnhart].
What the derivation of the word "hoodlum" is we could never satisfactorily ascertain, though several derivations have been proposed; and it would appear that the word has not been very many years in use. But, however obscure the word may be, there is nothing mysterious about the thing; .... [Walter M. Fisher, "The Californians," London, 1876]
- hoodoo (n.)
- "one who practices voodoo," 1870, American English, probably an alteration of voodoo. Meaning "something that causes or brings bad luck" is attested from 1880.
- hoodwink (v.)
- 1560s, "to blindfold," from hood (n.1) + wink; figurative sense of "mislead, deceive" is c. 1600. Related: Hoodwinked; hoodwinking.
- hooey (n.)
- "nonsense, foolishness," 1922, American English slang, of unknown origin.
- hoof (n.)
- Old English hof "hoof," from Proto-Germanic *hofaz (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian hof, Old Norse hofr, Danish hov, Dutch hoef, German Huf "hof"), from PIE *kop- "to beat, strike" (cognates: Sanskrit saphah "hoof"). For spelling, see hood (n.1).
- hoof (v.)
- "to walk" (hoof it), first attested 1640s, from hoof (n.); slang meaning "to dance" is 1920, American English (implied in hoofer). Related: Hoofed; hoofing.
- hoofbeat (n.)
- also hoof-beat, 1821, from hoof (n.) + beat (n.).
- hook (n.)
- Old English hoc "hook, angle," perhaps related to Old English haca "bolt," from Proto-Germanic *hokaz/*hakan (cognates: Old Frisian hok, Middle Dutch hoek, Dutch haak, German Haken "hook"), from PIE *keg- "hook, tooth" (cognates: Russian kogot "claw"). For spelling, see hood (n.1).
Boxing sense of "short, swinging blow with the elbow bent" is from 1898. Figurative sense was in Middle English (see hooker). By hook or by crook (late 14c.) probably alludes to tools of professional thieves. Hook, line, and sinker "completely" is 1838, a metaphor from angling.
- hook (v.)
- "to bend like a hook," c. 1200; see hook (n.). Meaning "to catch (a fish) with a hook" is from c. 1300. Related: Hooked; hooking.
- hookah (n.)
- also hooka, 1763, from Arabic huqqah "small box, vessel" (through which the smoke is drawn), extended in Urdu to the whole apparatus.
- hooked (adj.)
- Old English hoced, "shaped like a hook, crooked, curved;" past participle adj. from hook (v.). From mid-14c. as "having hooks;" 1610s as "caught on a hook;" 1925 as "addicted," originally in reference to narcotics. hooked rug is recorded from 1880.
- hooker (n.)
- "prostitute," often traced to the disreputable morals of the Army of the Potomac (American Civil War) under the tenure of Gen. "Fighting Joe" Hooker (early 1863), and the word might have been popularized by this association at that time (though evidence is wanting). But it is reported to have been in use in North Carolina c. 1845 ("[I]f he comes by way of Norfolk he will find any number of pretty Hookers in the Brick row not far from French's hotel. Take my advice and touch nothing in the shape of a prostitute when you come through Raleigh, for in honest truth the clap is there of luxuriant growth." letter quoted in Norman E. Eliason, "Tarheel Talk," 1956).
One early theory traces it to Corlear's Hook, a section of New York City.
HOOKER. A resident of the Hook, i.e. a strumpet, a sailor's trull. So called from the number of houses of ill-fame frequented by sailors at the Hook (i.e. Corlear's Hook) in the city of New York. [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]
Perhaps related to hooker "thief, pickpocket" (1560s), but most likely a reference to prostitutes hooking or snaring clients. Hook in the figurative sense of "that by which anyone is attracted or caught" is recorded from early 15c.; and hook (v.) in the figurative sense of "catch hold of and draw in" is attested from 1570s; in reference to "fishing" for a husband or a wife, it was in common use from c. 1800. All of which makes the modern sense seem a natural step. Compare French accrocheuse, raccrocheuse, common slang term for "street-walker, prostitute," literally "hooker" of men.
The family name Hooker (attested from c.975 C.E.) would mean "maker of hooks," or else refer to an agricultural laborer who used a hook (compare Old English weodhoc "weed-hook").