from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Precipitation in the form of spherical or irregular pellets of ice larger than 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) in diameter.
  • n. Something that falls with the force and quantity of a shower of ice and hard snow: a hail of pebbles; a hail of criticism.
  • intransitive v. To precipitate in pellets of ice and hard snow.
  • intransitive v. To fall like hailstones: Condemnations hailed down on them.
  • transitive v. To pour (something) down or forth: They hailed insults at me.
  • transitive v. To salute or greet.
  • transitive v. To greet or acclaim enthusiastically: The crowds hailed the boxing champion.
  • transitive v. To call out or yell in order to catch the attention of: hail a cabdriver.
  • intransitive v. To signal or call to a passing ship as a greeting or identification.
  • n. The act of greeting or acclaiming.
  • n. A shout made to catch someone's attention or to greet.
  • n. Hailing distance: told me to stay within hail.
  • interj. Used to express a greeting or tribute.
  • hail from To come or originate from: She hails from Texas.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to greet
  • v. to praise enthusiastically
  • v. to call out loudly in order to gain the attention of
  • adj. Healthy, whole, safe.
  • n. Balls or pieces of ice falling as precipitation, often in connection with a thunderstorm.
  • v. Said of the weather when hail is falling.
  • v. to send or release hail

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Healthy. See hale (the preferable spelling).
  • n. Small roundish masses of ice precipitated from the clouds, where they are formed by the congelation of vapor. The separate masses or grains are called hailstones.
  • n. A wish of health; a salutation; a loud call.
  • interj. An exclamation of respectful or reverent salutation, or, occasionally, of familiar greeting.
  • intransitive v. To pour down particles of ice, or frozen vapors.
  • intransitive v. To declare, by hailing, the port from which a vessel sails or where she is registered; hence, to sail; to come; -- used with from.
  • intransitive v. To report as one's home or the place from whence one comes; to come; -- with from.
  • transitive v. To pour forcibly down, as hail.
  • transitive v. To call loudly to, or after; to accost; to salute; to address.
  • transitive v. To name; to designate; to call.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pour down hail.
  • To pour down or put forth like hail; emit in rapid succession.
  • See hale.
  • Be whole; be safe; be happy: a term of salutation now used without thought of its literal meaning, and merely as an exclamatory expression of well-wishing: used absolutely, or followed by a noun with to.
  • To salute; welcome; address.
  • To call to, as a person, or, by metonymy, a place, house, ship, etc., at a distance; cry out to in order to attract attention.
  • To offer or exchange greeting or tidings; report or declare one's self.
  • n. Pellets of ice falling in showers.
  • n. A salutation; greeting; call; summons; challenge of attention.
  • n. The varions responses made by naval officers at night to the sentry, by which the latter may learn the rank of the officer approaching the vessel, are as follows: Flag-officers answer “flag!” the captain gives the name of his ship; the ward-room officers answer, “Aye, aye!” the steerage and warrant officers answer, “No, no!” and petty officers and members of the crew answer, “Hello!” Yachtsmen have adopted this code with a slight modification.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. call for
  • v. praise vociferously
  • v. precipitate as small ice particles
  • v. be a native of
  • n. precipitation of ice pellets when there are strong rising air currents
  • n. many objects thrown forcefully through the air
  • v. greet enthusiastically or joyfully
  • n. enthusiastic greeting


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English hægel, hagol.
Middle English heilen, from (wæs) hæil, (be) healthy; see wassail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from Old English hæġl, hæġel, from Proto-Germanic *haglaz (compare Old High German hagal, Old Norse hagl). Either from Proto-Indo-European *kagʰlos (“pebble”), or from a Proto-Indo-European *ḱoḱló-, a reduplication of Proto-Indo-European *ḱel- (“cold”) (compare Old Norse héla 'frost').

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The adjective hail is a variant of hale ("health, safety") (from the early 13th century). The transitive verb with the meaning "to salute" is also from the 13th century. The cognate verb heal is already Old English (hælan), from Proto-Germanic *hailijanan (“to make healthy, whole, to heal”). Also cognate is whole, from Old English hál (the spelling with wh- is unetymological, introduced in the 15th century).



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    October 29, 2008