'hail' (Modern English hail)


This interj. is a usage of adj. hail, cp. OIcel heill (adj.) 'whole, healed' (< PGmc *xaila-, cp. OE hāl ‘healthy, whole’, Go hails 'healthy', OFris, OS hēl 'unhurt, OHG heil 'whole, healthy, unscathed'). See further wassayl (interj.).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

heill (adj.) 'whole, healed'
(ONP heill (3) (adj.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far heilur, Icel heill, Norw heil, Dan hel, Sw hel

OE Cognate

hāl (adj.) 'whole, uninjured, healthy'

Phonological and morphological markers

ON /ei/ &lt; PGmc */ai/

Summary category



MED's varied and widespread citations begin with a1225(c1200) Vices & V.(1) (Stw 34). See also haille (n.).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

WA 228, 235, 4929 etc.

Skeat WA reads a further instance at WA 1066, but for an argument in favour of interpreting it instead as haille (n.), see TPD 1190n.


MED heil (interj.) , OED hail (int.) , HTOED , Bj. 44, de Vries heill (2), Mag. heill (2), Bj-L. heil, Heid. haila-, Orel *xailaz (II), Kroonen *haila-, AEW hāl, hǣl, DOE hāl