- hay (n.)
- "grass mown," Old English heg (Anglian), hieg, hig (West Saxon) "grass cut or mown for fodder," from Proto-Germanic *haujam (cognates: Old Norse hey, Old Frisian ha, Middle Dutch hoy, German Heu, Gothic hawi "hay"), literally "that which is cut," or "that which can be mowed," from PIE *kau- "to hew, strike" (cognates: Old English heawan "to cut;" see hew). Slang phrase hit the hay (pre-1880) was originally "to sleep in a barn;" hay in the general figurative sense of "bedding" is from 1903; roll in the hay (n.) is from 1945.
- hay fever (n.)
- also hay-fever, 1825, from hay + fever. Also called summer catarrh (1828); not much noted before the 1820s, when it was sometimes derided as a "fashion" in disease.
People are apt to sneeze, in hot weather for example; and people do not die of sneezing now-a-days, as they did in days that no one knows any thing about. We cannot give six draughts a-day, at one and nine pence each, for sneezing: call it the hay-fever. What a wonderful man! what a clever man! he understands the hay-fever: call him in! Thus is the hay-fever among the last in the list of fashionables. ["On Fashions in Physic," London Magazine, October 1825]
- hay-ride (n.)
- also hayride, "a ride in a hay cart for pleasure or entertainment," 1878, from hay (n.) + ride (n.).
- hayloft (n.)
- storing place for hay in a stable or barn, 1570s, from hay + loft (n.).
- haymaker (n.)
- mid-15c. as the name of an agricultural occupation, "one who cuts and dries grass" (hay-making is attested from c. 1400); 1910 in the sense of "very strong blow with the fist," from hay + agent noun of make; the punch probably so called for resemblance to the wide swinging stroke of a scythe. Haymaker punch attested from 1907.
- hayrick (n.)
- "haystack," late 14c., from hay + rick.
- hayseed (n.)
- also hay-seed, 1570s, "grass seed shaken out of hay," from hay + seed (n.). In U.S. slang sense of "comical rustic" it dates from 1875. To have hayseed in (one's) hair was a common mid-19c. way in U.S. to indicate a country person.
The opinion of the court was delivered by Justice Hunt; the chief justice, in whose hair the Ohio hayseed still lingers, delivering a dissenting opinion (etc.) ["The Chronicle," New York, Nov. 12, 1874]
- haystack (n.)
- mid-15c., from hay + stack (n.).
- proper name, from Old English hege-weard "guardian of the fence/hedge" (see hedge (n.) + ward (n.)). His original duties seem to have been protecting the fences around the Lammas lands, when enclosed, to prevent cattle from breaking in while the crops grew.
- haywire (n.)
- "soft wire for binding bales of hay," by 1891, from hay + wire (n.). Adjective meaning "poorly equipped, makeshift" is 1905, American English, from the sense of something held together only with haywire, particularly said to be from use of the stuff in New England lumber camps for jury-rigging and makeshift purposes, so that hay wire outfit became the "contemptuous term for loggers with poor logging equipment" [Bryant, "Logging," 1913]. Its springy, uncontrollable quality led to the sense in go haywire (by 1915).
- hazard (n.)
- c. 1300, name of a game at dice, from Old French hasard, hasart "game of chance played with dice," also "a throw of six in dice" (12c.), of uncertain origin. Possibly from Spanish azar "an unfortunate card or throw at dice," which is said to be from Arabic az-zahr (for al-zahr) "the die." But this is doubtful because of the absence of zahr in classical Arabic dictionaries. Klein suggests Arabic yasara "he played at dice;" Arabic -s- regularly becomes Spanish -z-. The -d was added in French through confusion with the native suffix -ard. Sense evolved in French to "chances in gambling," then "chances in life." In English, sense of "chance of loss or harm, risk" first recorded 1540s.
- hazard (v.)
- "put something at stake in a game of chance," 1520s, from Middle French hasarder "to play at gambling, throw dice" (15c.), from hasard (see hazard (n.)). Related: Hazarded; hazarding.
- hazardous (adj.)
- 1580s, "venturesome;" 1610s, "perilous," from hazard (n.) + -ous or from Middle French hasardeux (16c.).
- haze (v.)
- "subject (someone) to cruel horseplay," 1850, American English student slang, from earlier nautical sense of "harass with work, punish by keeping at unpleasant and unnecessary hard labor" (1840), perhaps from hawze "terrify, frighten, confound" (1670s), from Middle French haser "irritate, annoy" (mid-15c.), which is of unknown origin. Related: Hazed; hazing.
All hands were called to "come up and see it rain," and kept on deck hour after hour in a drenching rain, standing round the deck so far apart as to prevent our talking with one another, with our tarpaulins and oil-cloth jackets on, picking old rope to pieces or laying up gaskets and robands. This was often done, too, when we were lying in port with two anchors down, and no necessity for more than one man on deck as a look-out. This is what is called "hazing" a crew, and "working their old iron up." [Dana, "Two Years before the Mast," 1842]
- haze (n.)
- "opaqueness of the atmosphere," 1706, probably a back-formation of hazy (q.v.). Sense of "confusion, vagueness" is 1797. The differentiation of haze, mist, fog (and other dialectal words) is unmatched in other tongues, where the same word generally covers all three and often "cloud" as well; this may be an effect of the English climate on the English language.
- hazel (n.)
- Old English hæsl, hæsel, from Proto-Germanic *hasalaz (cognates: Old Norse hasl, Middle Dutch hasel, German hasel), from PIE *koselo- "hazel" (cognates: Latin corulus, Old Irish coll "hazel"). Shakespeare ("Romeo and Juliet," 1592) was first to use it (in print) in the sense of "reddish-brown color of eyes" (in reference to the color of ripe hazel-nuts), when Mercutio accuses Benvolio:
Thou wilt quarrell with a man for cracking Nuts, hauing no reason, but because thou hast hasell eyes.
- hazelnut (n.)
- also hazel-nut, Old English hæselhnutu; see hazel + nut. Similar formation in Dutch hazelnoot, Old High German hasalnuz, German Haselnuss.
- hazing (n.)
- "brutal initiation, act of abusing a newcomer," 1848, said to be a college word ("This word is used at Harvard College, to express the treatment which Freshmen sometimes receive from the higher classes, and especially from the Sophomores" -- "Collection of College Words and Customs," Boston, 1851), but perhaps originally nautical; see haze (v.).
- also HAZMAT, 1977, telescoped from hazardous material(s).
- hazy (adj.)
- 1620s, hawsey, nautical, of unknown origin. Some connect it with German hase "hare," an animal which plays an important part in Germanic folklore, with many supernatural and unlucky aspects in medieval times (among the superstitions: a dead hare should not be brought aboard a fishing ship, and the word hare should not be spoken at sea). Another suggestion is Old English hasu, haswe "gray." Related: Hazily; haziness.
- he (pron.)
- Old English he, pronoun of the third person (see paradigm of Old English third person pronoun below), from Proto-Germanic *hi- (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch he, hi, Dutch hy, Old High German he), from PIE *ki-, variant of *ko-, the "this, here" (as opposed to "that, there") root (cognates: Hittite ki "this," Greek ekeinos "that person," Old Church Slavonic si, Lithuanian šis "this"), and thus the source of the third person pronouns in Old English. The feminine, hio, was replaced in early Middle English by forms from other stems (see she), while the h- wore off Old English neuter hit to make modern it. The Proto-Germanic root also is the source of the first element in German heute "today," literally "the day" (compare Old English heodæg).
Pleonastic use with the noun ("Mistah Kurtz, he dead") is attested from late Old English. With animal words, meaning "male" (he-goat, etc.) from c. 1300.
- imitative of laughter, Old English.
Ha ha and he he getacniað hlehter on leden and on englisc. [Ælfric, "Grammar," c. 1000]
- he-man (n.)
- "especially masculine fellow," 1832, originally among U.S. pioneers, from he + man (n.).
- head (n.)
- Old English heafod "top of the body," also "upper end of a slope," also "chief person, leader, ruler; capital city," from Proto-Germanic *haubudam (cognates: Old Saxon hobid, Old Norse hofuð, Old Frisian haved, Middle Dutch hovet, Dutch hoofd, Old High German houbit, German Haupt, Gothic haubiþ "head"), from PIE *kaput- "head" (cognates: Sanskrit kaput-, Latin caput "head").
Modern spelling is early 15c., representing what was then a long vowel (as in heat) and remained after pronunciation shifted. Of rounded tops of plants from late 14c. Meaning "origin of a river" is mid-14c. Meaning "obverse of a coin" (the side with the portrait) is from 1680s; meaning "foam on a mug of beer" is first attested 1540s; meaning "toilet" is from 1748, based on location of crew toilet in the bow (or head) of a ship.
Synechdochic use for "person" (as in head count) is first attested late 13c.; of cattle, etc., in this sense from 1510s. As a height measure of persons, from c. 1300. Meaning "drug addict" (usually in a compound with the preferred drug as the first element) is from 1911.
To be over (one's) head "beyond one's comprehension" is by 1620s. To give head "perform fellatio" is from 1950s. Phrase heads will roll "people will be punished" (1930) translates Adolf Hitler. Head case "eccentric or insane person" is from 1979. Head game "mental manipulation" attested by 1972.
- head (v.)
- "to be at the head or in the lead," c. 1200, from head (n.). Meaning "to direct the head (toward)" is from c. 1600. Related: headed, heading. The earliest use of the word as a verb meant "behead" (Old English heafdian). Verbal phrase head up "supervise, direct" is attested by 1930.
- head (adj.)
- "most important, principal, leading," c. 1200, from head (n.). Old English heafod was used in this sense in compounds.
- head over heels (adv.)
- 1771, "a curious perversion" [Weekley] of Middle English heels over head. Head (n.) and heels have been paired in alliterative phrases since at least c. 1400, and the whole image also was in classical Latin (per caput pedesque ire).
- head shop (n.)
- emporium for stoner gear, by 1969 (noted in 1966 as the name of a specific shop in New York City selling psychedelic stuff), from head (n.) in the drug sense.
- head-butt (v.)
- also headbutt, by 1946, from head (n.) + butt (v.). As a noun, recorded by 1967. Related: Head-butting.
- head-dress (n.)
- also headdress, 1703, from head (n.) + dress (n.) in the older, more general, sense.
- head-gear (n.)
- 1530s, from head (n.) + gear (n.).
- head-hunter (n.)
- 1853, from head (n.) + hunter. Employment sense attested from 1961. Related: Head-hunting.
- head-on (adv.)
- 1840, from head (n.) + on.
- head-piece (n.)
- 1530s, from head (n.) + piece (n.).
- head-rest (n.)
- 1961, from head (n.) + rest (n.).
- head-shrinker (n.)
- also headshrinker, 1926 in literal sense, from head (n.) + agent noun from shrink (v.); as U.S. slang for "psychologist," by 1950.
- headache (n.)
- Old English heafodece; see head (n.) + ache (n.). Colloquial sense of "troublesome problem" is first recorded 1934. Related: Headachy (1705).
- headband (n.)
- also Related: head-band, 1530s, from head (n.) + band (n.1).
- headbanger (n.)
- "devotee of heavy metal music," 1984, from head (n.) + agent noun from bang (v.).
- header (n.)
- "head-first dive or plunge," 1849, from head (n.); as a type of pass or shot with the head in soccer, by 1906. Earlier it meant "executioner, headsman" (mid-15c.).
- heading (n.)
- c. 1300, "a beheading," from present participle of head (v.). Meaning "an advancing in a certain direction" is from c. 1600. Meaning "title at the head of a portion of text" is from 1849.
- headland (n.)
- Old English heafod lond "strip of land left unplowed at the edge of a field to leave room for the plow to turn," naturally identified with boundaries; see head (n.) + land (n.). Meaning "high cape, promontory" is from 1520s.
- headless (adj.)
- late Old English, heafedleas; see head (n.) + -less. Late 14c. as "rulerless, lacking a leader." Related: Headlessly; headlessness. Similar construction in Dutch hoofdeloos, German hauptlos, Danish hovedlös.
- headlight (n.)
- large lamp and reflector carried in front to illuminate at night, 1861, originally of ships and locomotives, from head (n.) + light (n.). Related: Headlights, which, as slang for "a woman's breasts," is from 1940s.
- headline (n.)
- 1670s, from head (n.) in sense "heading of a book or chapter" (c. 1200) + line (n.). Originally a printers' term for the line at the top of a page containing the title and page number; used of the lines that form the title of a newspaper article from 1890, and transferred unthinkingly to broadcast media. Headlinese "language peculiar to headlines" is from 1927. Headlines "important news" is from 1908.
- headliner (n.)
- 1891, "one who writes newspaper headlines;" 1896 as "one who stars in a performance;" from headline + -er (1).
- headlong (adv.)
- late 14c., headling, also headlings, "headfirst (downward); headlong (forward); without thinking, hastily," from hed "head" (see head (n.)) + adverbial suffix -ling. Altered by c. 1400 to conform with sidelong, etc. Its true companions are now mostly obsolete: darkling, backling, flatling, etc.
- headman (n.)
- also head-man, "chief man, leader," Old English heafodman; see head (adj.) + man (n.). Cognate with German Hauptmann "captain."
- headmaster (n.)
- principal of a school or seminary, 1570s, from head (adj.) + master (n.).
- headphone (n.)
- 1914, from head (n.) + second element extracted from telephone (n.). Related: Headphones.