v. (wk.)

Pres. hales, past haled, halled, pp. halet

‘to draw; loose (from bow); rise, come, go, pass; take a drink (from)’ (Modern English hale)


Now usually derived from Anglo-French haler ‘to haul, hoist; (reflex.) climb, ascend’ (itself from Gmc, probably via a Frankish *halōn)(see OED, MED, TGD, GDS). The source of the French word is sometimes supposed to have been ON (thus Skeat 1892: 480, de Vries, and the earlier scholarship cited by FEW), but the ON verb itself is now usually regarded as a loan from MLG. With ON hala therefore cp. OFris halia, OS halōn and OHG halōn ‘to get, fetch (etc.)’ (< PGmc *xalōjan-). An OE *halian is therefore possible, but unrecorded.

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

hala ‘to haul, pull’ 
(ONP hala (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far hála, Icel hala, Norw hala, Dan hale

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Common and widespread in ME (inc. Chaucer and Gower), albeit esp. frequent in alliterative verse (inc. LB and PP).  

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 136, 458, 788, etc.; Cl 380, 1520; Pat 219

Morris (notes) suggests emending Gaw 681 hadet to *halet ‘exiled?’, but most other editions have been satisified with the MS reading and a translation ‘beheaded’.  Madden retains hadet and glosses ‘at enmity ?’. Napier 1902: 86 proffers *hacketCl MS 380 <aled> is often emended to [h]aled.


MED hālen (v.) , OED hale (v.1) , HTOED , HTOED , HTOED , Dance hale, Fritzner hala (v.), de Vries hala, Mag. hala, Seebold hell-a-, Orel *xalōjanan, Kroonen *halōn- ~ *hulōn-, AND haler (1), DEAF haler (v.a.), FEW Germanismes *halon