heeler (n.) Look up heeler at Dictionary.com
1660s, "one who puts heels on shoes and boots," agent noun from heel (n.1). Meaning "unscrupulous political lackey," U.S. slang, 1877, from the notion of one who follows at the heels of a political boss, no doubt coined with the image of a dog in mind. See heel (v.1).
heft (v.) Look up heft at Dictionary.com
"to lift," 1660s, from heft (n.). Related: Hefted; hefting.
heft (n.) Look up heft at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "weight, heaviness, quality of weight," from heave on analogy of thieve/theft, weave/weft, etc.; also influenced by heft, obsolete past participle of heave.
hefty (adj.) Look up hefty at Dictionary.com
1867, from heft + -y (2). Related: Heftiness.
Hegelian (adj.) Look up Hegelian at Dictionary.com
1838, pertaining to German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). As a noun from 1843.
hegemon (n.) Look up hegemon at Dictionary.com
1904, originally with reference to the United States, from Greek hegemon "leader" (see hegemony).
hegemonic (adj.) Look up hegemonic at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Latinized form of Greek hegemonikos "related to a leader, capable of command," from hegemon (see hegemony). Earlier in same sense was hegemonical (1610s).
hegemonism (n.) Look up hegemonism at Dictionary.com
1965, in reference to a policy of political domination, on model of imperialism; see hegemony + -ism.
hegemonist (n.) Look up hegemonist at Dictionary.com
"one who advocates a political policy of hegemony," 1898; see hegemony + -ist.
hegemony (n.) Look up hegemony at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Greek hegemonia "leadership, a leading the way, a going first;" also "the authority or sovereignty of one city-state over a number of others," as Athens in Attica, Thebes in Boeotia; from hegemon "leader," from hegeisthai "to lead," perhaps originally "to track down," from PIE *sag-eyo-, from root *sag- "to seek out, track down, trace" (see seek). Originally of predominance of one city state or another in Greek history; in reference to modern situations from 1860, at first of Prussia in relation to other German states.
hegira (n.) Look up hegira at Dictionary.com
1580s, the flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina (July 16, 622 C.E.), the event from which the Islamic calendar reckons, from Medieval Latin hegira, from Arabic hijrah "departure," from hajara "to depart."
heh (interj.) Look up heh at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., originally an exclamation of emotions such as sorrow or surprise. As the sound of a light laugh, by 1808.
heifer (n.) Look up heifer at Dictionary.com
Old English heahfore, West Saxon; Northumbrian hehfaro, heffera (plural), of unknown origin, not found outside English. The first element seems to be heah "high," common in Old English compounds with a sense of "great in size." The second element may be related to Old English fearr "bull," or to Old English faran "to go" (giving the whole a sense of "high-stepper"); but there are serious sense difficulties with both conjectures. Liberman offers this alternative:
Old English seems to have had the word *hægfore 'heifer.' The first element (*hæg-) presumably meant 'enclosure' (as do haw and hedge), whereas -fore was a suffix meaning 'dweller, occupant' ....
In modern use a female that has not yet calved, as opposed to a cow, which has, and a calf, which is an animal of either sex not more than a year old. As derisive slang for "a woman, girl" it dates from 1835.
heigh-ho (interj.) Look up heigh-ho at Dictionary.com
c. 1400 as part of the refrain of a song; by 1660s as an exclamation to express yawning, sighing, etc.; see hey.
height (n.) Look up height at Dictionary.com
Old English hiehþu, Anglian hehþo "highest part or point, summit; the heavens, heaven," from root of heah "high" (see high) + -itha, Germanic abstract noun suffix. Compare Old Norse hæð, Middle Dutch hoochte, Old High German hohida, Gothic hauhiþa "height." Meaning "distance from bottom to top" is from late 13c. Meaning "excellence, high degree of a quality" is late 14c. The modern pronunciation with -t emerged 13c., but wasn't established till 19c., and heighth is still colloquial.
heighten (v.) Look up heighten at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., heightenen "to exalt, to honor or raise to high position," from height + -en (1). Related: Heightened; heightening.
heighth Look up heighth at Dictionary.com
see height.
Heimlich maneuver (n.) Look up Heimlich maneuver at Dictionary.com
1975, named for U.S. physician Henry Jay Heimlich (b. 1920).
Heinie (n.) Look up Heinie at Dictionary.com
also Heine, as a typical name of a German man, 1904, North American slang, from pet form of common German masc. proper name Heinrich (see Henry). Brought to Europe in World War I by Canadian soldiers (British soldiers called the adversary Fritz).
heinie (n.) Look up heinie at Dictionary.com
slang for "the buttocks," by 1930s, probably a contraction of hind end.
heinous (adj.) Look up heinous at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French hainos "inconvenient, awkward; hateful, unpleasant; odious" (Modern French haineux), from haine "hatred," from hair "to hate," from Frankish, from Proto-Germanic *hatjan, related to *haton (see hate (v.)). Related: Heinously; heinousness.
heir (n.) Look up heir at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Anglo-French heir, Old French oir "heir, successor," from Latin heredem (nominative heres) "heir, heiress" (see heredity). Heir apparent (late 14c.) has the French order of noun-adjective, though it was not originally so written in English. It is the heir of one still alive whose right is clear. After death the heir apparent becomes the heir-at-law.
heiress (n.) Look up heiress at Dictionary.com
1650s, from heir + -ess.
heirless (adj.) Look up heirless at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, from heir + -less.
heirloom (n.) Look up heirloom at Dictionary.com
early 15c., ayre lome, a hybrid from heir + loom in its original but now otherwise obsolete sense of "implement, tool." Technically, some piece of property that by will or custom passes down with the real estate.
Heisenberg Look up Heisenberg at Dictionary.com
in reference to German physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), pioneer of quantum mechanics. His "uncertainty principle" (deduced in 1927) is that an electron may have a determinate position, or a determinate velocity, but not both.
heist (v.) Look up heist at Dictionary.com
1927 (in heister "shoplifter, thief"), American English slang, probably a dialectal alteration of hoist "lift," in sense of "shoplift," also in older British slang "to lift another on one's shoulders to help him break in." As a noun, from 1936.
held Look up held at Dictionary.com
Old English heold, past tense and p.p. of hold.
Helen Look up Helen at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from French Hélène, from Latin Helena, from Greek Helene, fem. proper name, probably fem. of helenos "the bright one." Among the top 10 popular names for girl babies in the U.S. born between 1890 and 1934.
Helena Look up Helena at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, Latin form of Helen.
heliacal (adj.) Look up heliacal at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to the sun," c. 1600, with -al (1) and Greek heliakos "of the sun," from helios "sun" (see sol). The heliacal year is reckoned from the heliacal rising of Sirius; thus it also is known as the canicular year.
helical (adj.) Look up helical at Dictionary.com
"spiral-shaped," 1590s, from Latin helicem (see helix) + -al (1).
Helicon Look up Helicon at Dictionary.com
1520s, from Greek Helikon, mountain in Boeotia, sacred to the Muses, in which arose the fountains of Aganippe and Hippocrene. Literally "the tortuous mountain," from helix (genitive helikos) "spiral" (see helix).
helicopter (n.) Look up helicopter at Dictionary.com
1861, from French hélicoptère "device for enabling airplanes to rise perpendicularly," thus "flying machine propelled by screws." The idea was to gain lift from spiral aerofoils, and it didn't work. Used by Jules Verne and the Wright Brothers, the word transferred to helicopters in the modern sense when those were developed in the 1920s. From Greek helix (genitive helikos) "spiral" (see helix) + pteron "wing" (see pterodactyl). Nativized in Flemish as wentelwiek "with rotary vanes."
helio- Look up helio- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "sun," from Greek helio-, comb. form of helios "sun" (see sol).
heliocentric (adj.) Look up heliocentric at Dictionary.com
1680s, from helio- + -centric.
heliograph (n.) Look up heliograph at Dictionary.com
product of a certain type of engraving process, 1853, from helio- + -graph "something written." Earlier, "a description of the sun" (1706, implied in heliographic). Heliography (1845 in the engraving sense) also (1840) was an early term for what came to be called photography.
heliotrope (n.) Look up heliotrope at Dictionary.com
"plant which turns its flowers and leaves to the sun," 1620s, from French héliotrope (14c.) and directly from Latin heliotropium, from Greek heliotropion, from helios "sun" (see sol) + tropos "turn" (see trope). The word was applied c. 1000-1600 in Latin form to sunflowers and marigolds. Related: Heliotropic.
heliotropism (n.) Look up heliotropism at Dictionary.com
1854, from heliotrope + -ism.
heliport (n.) Look up heliport at Dictionary.com
1948, from helicopter + second element abstracted from airport.
helium (n.) Look up helium at Dictionary.com
1868, coined from Greek helios "sun" (see sol), because the element was detected in the solar spectrum during the eclipse of Aug. 18, 1868, by English astronomer Sir Joseph N. Lockyer (1836-1920) and English chemist Sir Edward Frankland (1825-1899). It was not actually obtained until 1895; it was assumed before that to be an alkali metal, hence the ending in -ium.
helix (n.) Look up helix at Dictionary.com
"a spiral thing," 1560s, from Latin helix "spiral," from Greek helix (genitive helikos), related to eilein "to turn, twist, roll," from PIE *wel-ik-, from root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve" (see volvox).
hell (n.) Look up hell at Dictionary.com
Old English hel, helle, "nether world, abode of the dead, infernal regions," from Proto-Germanic *haljo "the underworld" (cognates: f. Old Frisian helle, Dutch hel, Old Norse hel, German Hölle, Gothic halja "hell") "the underworld," literally "concealed place" (compare Old Norse hellir "cave, cavern"), from PIE *kel- (2) "to cover, conceal" (see cell).

The English word may be in part from Old Norse Hel (from Proto-Germanic *halija "one who covers up or hides something"), in Norse mythology the name of Loki's daughter, who rules over the evil dead in Niflheim, the lowest of all worlds (nifl "mist"). Transfer of a pagan concept and word to a Christian idiom. In Middle English, also of the Limbus Patrum, place where the Patriarchs, Prophets, etc. awaited the Atonement. Used in the KJV for Old Testament Hebrew Sheol and New Testament Greek Hades, Gehenna. Used figuratively for "state of misery, any bad experience" since at least late 14c. As an expression of disgust, etc., first recorded 1670s.

Expression Hell in a handbasket is attested by 1867, in a context implying use from a few years before, and the notion of going to Heaven in a handbasket is from 1853, with a sense of "easy passage" to the destination. Hell or high water (1874) apparently is a variation of between the devil and the deep blue sea. To wish someone would go to hell is in Shakespeare ("Merchant of Venice"). Snowball's chance in hell "no chance" is from 1931; till hell freezes over "never" is from 1832. To ride hell for leather is from 1889, originally with reference to riding on horseback. Hell on wheels is said to be from 1843 in DAS; popularity dates from 1869 in reference to the temporary workers' towns along the U.S. transcontinental railroad and their vices.
Hell's Kitchen Look up Hell's Kitchen at Dictionary.com
disreputable, impoverished New York City neighborhood, the name attested from 1879. The phrase was used from at least 1866 as an intensive form of Hell.
Hell's kitchen (American), a horrible slum. Hell's Kitchen, Murderer's Row, and the Burnt Rag are names of localities which form collectively the worst place in New York. [Albert Barrère and Charles G. Leland, "A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant," 1889]
hell-fired (adj.) Look up hell-fired at Dictionary.com
a euphemism for damned attested from 1756. See hellfire.
hell-raiser (n.) Look up hell-raiser at Dictionary.com
1914 (to raise hell is from 1896), from hell + agent noun from raise (v.).
hellacious (adj.) Look up hellacious at Dictionary.com
1930s, college slang, from hell + fanciful ending (see bodacious).
hellbender (n.) Look up hellbender at Dictionary.com
large salamander of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, 1812, supposedly so called for its ugliness.
hellbent (adj.) Look up hellbent at Dictionary.com
also hell-bent, 1835, U.S., originally slang, from hell + bent (1).
hellcat (n.) Look up hellcat at Dictionary.com
also hell-cat, "volatile woman," c. 1600, from hell + cat.