heredity (n.) Look up heredity at
1530s, "inheritance, succession," from Middle French hérédité, from Old French eredite "inheritance, legacy" (12c.), from Latin hereditatem (nominative hereditas) "heirship, inheritance, an inheritance, condition of being an heir," from heres (genitive heredis) "heir, heiress," from PIE root *ghe- "to be empty, left behind" (source also of Greek khera "widow"). Legal sense of "inheritable quality or character" first recorded 1784; the modern biological sense "transmission of qualities from parents to offspring" seems to be found first in 1863, introduced by Herbert Spencer.
Herefordshire Look up Herefordshire at
Old English Herefordscir, from Hereford (958), literally "ford suitable for the passage of an army" (see harry (v.) + ford (n.). Probably so-called in reference to the Roman road passing over the Wye River. Herford in Germany has the same etymology. As the name for a type of cattle, first bred there, it is attested from 1789.
herein (adv.) Look up herein at
late Old English herinne "in this;" see here + in. Related: Hereinafter.
hereof (adv.) Look up hereof at
"of this, concerning this," late Old English; see here + of (prep.). Compare Danish hereaf, Swedish häraf.
hereon (adv.) Look up hereon at
Old English heron "upon this;" see here + on.
heresiarch (n.) Look up heresiarch at
"arch-heretic; leader in heresy," 1620s, from Church Latin haeresiarcha, from Late Greek hairesiarkhes "leader of a school;" in classical use chiefly a medical school; in ecclesiastical writers, leader of a sect or heresy (see heresy + arch-). Related: Heresiarchy.
heresy (n.) Look up heresy at
"doctrine or opinion at variance with established standards" (or, as Johnson defines it, "an opinion of private men different from that of the catholick and orthodox church"), c. 1200, from Old French heresie, eresie "heresy," and by extension "sodomy, immorality" (12c.), from Latin hæresis, "school of thought, philosophical sect." The Latin word is from Greek hairesis "a taking or choosing for oneself, a choice, a means of taking; a deliberate plan, purpose; philosophical sect, school," from haireisthai "take, seize," middle voice of hairein "to choose," a word of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE *ser- (5) "to seize" (source of Hittite šaru "booty," Welsh herw "booty").

The Greek word was used by Church writers in reference to various sects, schools, etc. in the New Testament: the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and even the Christians, as sects of Judaism. Hence the meaning "unorthodox religious sect or doctrine" in the Latin word as used by Christian writers in Late Latin. But in English bibles it usually is translated sect. Transferred (non-religious) use in English is from late 14c.
heretic (n.) Look up heretic at
"one who holds a doctrine at variance with established or dominant standards," mid-14c., from Old French eretique (14c., Modern French hérétique), from Church Latin haereticus "of or belonging to a heresy," as a noun, "a heretic," from Greek hairetikos "able to choose" (in the New Testament, "heretical"), verbal adjective of hairein (see heresy).
heretical (adj.) Look up heretical at
early 15c., from Old French eretical, heretical and directly from Medieval Latin haereticalis, from haereticus (see heretic).
hereto (adv.) Look up hereto at
"to this" (place, action, etc.), late 12c., from here + to.
heretofore (adv.) Look up heretofore at
c. 1200, from here + obsolete Old English toforan "formerly, before now," from to (prep.) + foran (adv.) "in front," dative of for. Also in Middle English heretoforn.
hereunder (adv.) Look up hereunder at
"under this," early 15c., from here + under.
hereunto (adv.) Look up hereunto at
c. 1500, from here + unto.
hereupon (adv.) Look up hereupon at
"upon this," late Old English, from here + upon.
herewith (adv.) Look up herewith at
"along with this," late Old English herwið; see here + with.
heriot (n.) Look up heriot at
Old English here-geatwe (plural) "military equipment, army-gear," from here "army" (see harry (v.)) + geatwe, from Proto-Germanic *gatawja- "equipment," from Germanic root *taw- "to make, manufacture" (see taw (v.)). An Anglo-Saxon service of weapons, loaned by the lord to his retainer and repayable to him upon the retainer's death; sense transferred by 13c. to a feudal due upon the death of a tenant, payable to his lord in beasts.
heritable (adj.) Look up heritable at
early 15c., from Old French heritable (c. 1200), from heriter "to inherit" (see heritage). The Medieval Latin word was hereditabilis. Related: Heritability.
heritage (n.) Look up heritage at
c. 1200, "that which may be inherited," from Old French iritage, eritage, heritage "heir; inheritance, ancestral estate, heirloom," from heriter "inherit," from Late Latin hereditare, ultimately from Latin heres (genitive heredis) "heir" (see heredity). Meaning "condition or state transmitted from ancestors" is from 1620s.
herm (n.) Look up herm at
in ancient Athens, "square pillar of stone topped by a carved human head" (conventionally that of Hermes), used as a milestone, boundary marker, etc., 1570s, from Latin herma, from Hermes (q.v.).
Herman Look up Herman at
masc. proper name, from German Hermann, from Old High German Hariman, literally "man of war, warrior," from hari "host, army" (see harry (v.)) + man "man" (see man (n.)).
hermaphrodism (n.) Look up hermaphrodism at
"physical condition of having both male and female sexual organs," 1799, from French hermaphrodisme (1750s); see hermaphrodite + -ism. Hermaphroditism is from 1807; hermaphrodeity is from 1610s.
hermaphrodite (n.) Look up hermaphrodite at
late 14c. (harmofroditus), from Latin hermaphroditus, from Greek hermaphroditos "person partaking of the attributes of both sexes," as a proper name, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, who, in Ovid, was loved by the nymph Salmacis so ardently that she prayed for complete union with him and as a result they were united bodily, combining male and female characteristics.

Also used figuratively in Middle English of "one who improperly occupies two offices." As a name for the condition, Middle English had hermofrodito (late 14c.), hermofrodisia (early 15c.). As an adjective, from c. 1600.
hermaphroditic (adj.) Look up hermaphroditic at
1620s, from hermaphrodite + -ic. Earlier form was hermaphroditical (c. 1600).
hermeneutic (adj.) Look up hermeneutic at
"interpretive," 1670s, from Latinized form of Greek hermeneutikos "of or for interpreting," from hermeneutes "interpreter," from hermeneuein "to interpret (foreign languages); interpret into words, give utterance to," a word of unknown origin (formerly considered ultimately a derivative of Hermes, as the tutelary divinity of speech, writing, and eloquence).
hermeneutical (adj.) Look up hermeneutical at
1798, from hermeneutic + -al (1). Related: Hermeneutically.
hermeneutics (n.) Look up hermeneutics at
"art of interpretation, the study of exegesis," 1737, from hermeneutic; also see -ics.
Hermes Look up Hermes at
son of Zeus and Maia in Greek mythology; Olympian messenger and god of commerce, markets, and roads; protector of herdsmen, travelers, and rogues; giver of good luck, god of secret dealings, and conductor of the dead. from Greek Hermes, a word of unknown origin. He was identified by the Romans with their Mercury.
hermetic (adj.) Look up hermetic at
1630s "dealing with occult science or alchemy," from Latin hermeticus, from Greek Hermes, god of science and art (among other things), who was identified by Neoplatonists, mystics, and alchemists with the Egyptian god Thoth as Hermes Trismegistos "Thrice-Great Hermes," who supposedly invented the process of making a glass tube airtight (a process in alchemy) using a secret seal. Hence, "completely sealed" (c. 1600, implied in hermetically).
hermetically (adv.) Look up hermetically at
c. 1600, "according to hermetic practice," especially, chemically, "by means of fusion," from hermetical (see hermetic) + -ly (2).
Hermione Look up Hermione at
fem. proper name, from Greek Hermione, derived from Hermes (genitive Hermeio).
hermit (n.) Look up hermit at
early 12c., "religious recluse, one who dwells apart in a solitary place for religious meditation," from Old French hermit, ermit "hermit, recluse," from Late Latin eremita, from Greek eremites, literally "person of the desert," from eremia "a solitude, an uninhabited region, a waste," from eremos "uninhabited, empty, desolate, bereft," from PIE *ere- (2) "to separate" (cognates: Latin rete "net," Lithuanian retis "sieve"). The unhistorical h- first appeared in Medieval Latin heremite.

Transferred sense of "person living in solitude" is from 1799. Related: Hermitic; hermitical. The hermit crab (1735) is said to be so called for its seeking out and dwelling in a solitary cell.
hermitage (n.) Look up hermitage at
late 13c., "dwelling place of a hermit," from Old French hermitage/ermitage "hermitage, solitude," from hermit (see hermit). Earlier in the same sense in English was hermitorie (c. 1200), from Medieval Latin hermitorium. Transferred sense of "solitary or secluded dwelling place" is from 1640s.
hern (pron.) Look up hern at
"hers" (dialectal), from her + adjectival -n.
hernia (n.) Look up hernia at
late 14c., hirnia, from Latin hernia "a rupture," related to hira "intestine," from PIE *ghere- "gut, entrail" (see yarn). The re-Latinized spelling of the English word is from 17c. Related: Herniated (1819).
hernial (adj.) Look up hernial at
early 15c., from Medieval Latin hernialis, from hernia (see hernia).
herniation (n.) Look up herniation at
1875, from hernia + -ation.
hero (n.1) Look up hero at
late 14c., "man of superhuman strength or physical courage," from Old French heroe (14c., Modern French héros), from Latin heros (plural heroes) "hero, demi-god, illustrious man," from Greek heros (plural heroes) "demi-god," a variant singular of which was heroe.

This is of uncertain origin; perhaps originally "defender, protector," and from PIE root *ser- (1) "to watch over, protect" (see observe). Meaning "man who exhibits great bravery" in any course of action is from 1660s in English. Sense of "chief male character in a play, story, etc." first recorded 1690s. Hero-worship is from 1713 in reference to ancient cults and mysteries; of living men by 1830s.

In Homer, of the Greeks before Troy, then a comprehensive term used of warriors generally, also of all free men in the Heroic Age. In classical mythology at least from the time of Hesiod (8c. B.C.E.) "man born from a god and a mortal," especially one who had done service to mankind; with the exception of Heracles limited to local deities and patrons of cities.
hero (n.2) Look up hero at
1955, the New York City term for a sandwich elsewhere called submarine, grinder, poor boy (New Orleans), or hoagie (Philadelphia); origin unknown, perhaps so called for its great size (from hero (n.1)), or a folk-etymology alteration of Greek gyro as a type of sandwich.
Herodian (adj.) Look up Herodian at
pertaining to Herod, name of rulers in ancient Palestine in Roman times, especially Herod the Great, king of Judea 38-4 B.C.E. The name is Greek, Herodes, from heros "hero" (see hero (n.1)) + patronymic suffix -des.
heroic (adj.) Look up heroic at
1540s, "having or displaying the qualities of a hero," shortened from heroical (early 15c., also heroycus) "noble, magnanimous," from Latin heroicus "of a hero, heroic, mythical," from Greek heroikos "of or for a hero, pertaining to heroes," from heros (see hero (n.1)). In some modern uses, "having recourse to extreme measures." The Heroic Age, semi-mythical prehistoric period in Greece, ended with the return of the armies from the fall of Troy. Related: Heroically. Heroic verse (1610s), decasyllabic iambic, is from Italian.
heroics (n.) Look up heroics at
1590s, "heroic verse" (see heroic). Meaning "deeds worthy of a hero" attested by 1831.
heroin (n.) Look up heroin at
1898, from German Heroin, coined 1898 as trademark registered by Friedrich Bayer & Co. for their morphine substitute. According to tradition the word was coined with chemical suffix -ine (2) (German -in) + Greek heros "hero" (see hero (n.1)) because of the euphoric feeling the drug provides, but no evidence for this seems to have been found so far.
A new hypnotic, to which the name of "heroin" has been given, has been tried in the medical clinic of Professor Gerhardt in Berlin. ["The Lancet," Dec. 3, 1898]
heroine (n.) Look up heroine at
1650s, "demigoddess," from Latin heroine, heroina (plural heroinae) "a female hero, a demigoddess" (such as Medea), from Greek heroine, fem. of heros (see hero (n.1)). Meaning "heroic woman, woman distinguished by exalted courage or noble achievements" is from 1660s. Sense of "principal female character in a drama, poem, etc." is from 1715.
heroism (n.) Look up heroism at
1717, from French héroisme, from héros (see hero (n.1)).
heron (n.) Look up heron at
"long-necked, long-legged wading bird," c. 1300, from Old French hairon, eron (12c.), earlier hairo (11c., Modern French héron), from Frankish *haigiro or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hraigran. Related to Old High German heigaro, Danish hejre "heron," German Reiher, Dutch reiger, Old Norse hegri), perhaps from a common IE root imitative of its cry (compare Old Church Slavonic kriku "cry, scream," Lithuanian kryksti "to shriek," Welsh cregyra "heron," Latin graculus "jackdaw, crow"). Old English cognate hraga did not survive into Middle English. Egret is from the same source.
herpes (n.) Look up herpes at
late 14c., "any inflammatory, spreading skin condition" (used of shingles, gangrene, etc.), from Latin herpes "a spreading skin eruption," from Greek herpes, the name for the disease shingles, literally "creeping," from herpein "to creep, move slowly" (cognate with Latin serpere "to creep;" see serpent). The condition was not distinguished into specific diseases until early 19c.
herpetic (adj.) Look up herpetic at
"pertaining to herpes," 1762, from Greek herpes (genitive herpetos); see herpes + -ic. Perhaps via French herpétique.
herpetology (n.) Look up herpetology at
"study of reptiles," 1816, from French herpétologie (18c.), coined from Greek herpeton "reptile," literally "creeping thing," from herpein "to creep" (see serpent) + French -logie (see -logy). Related: Herpetologist; herpetological.
Herr Look up Herr at
German equivalent of Mister (but also used without a name), 1650s, originally "nobler, superior," from Middle High German herre, from Old High German herro, comparative of her "noble, worthy, exalted," from PIE *kei- (2), a color adjective (see hue (n.1)), in suffixed form *koi-ro- here meaning "gray, hoary," hence "gray-haired, venerable." Cognate with Old Frisian hera, Dutch heer; perhaps in this usage a loan-translation of Latin senior. Hence also Herrenvolk "master race," the concept of the German people in Nazi ideology.
herring (n.) Look up herring at
north Atlantic food fish of great commercial value, Old English hering (Anglian), hæring (West Saxon), from West Germanic *heringgaz (cognates: Old Frisian hereng, Middle Dutch herinc, German Hering), of unknown origin. Perhaps from a source related to or influenced in form by Old English har "gray, hoar," from the fish's color, or from the source of Old High German heri "host, multitude" in reference to its moving in large schools.

French hareng, Italian aringa are from Germanic. The Battle of the Herrings (French bataille des harengs) is the popular name for the action at Rouvrai, Feb. 12, 1492, fought in defense of a convoy of provisions, mostly herrings and other "lenten stuffe."