- huggable (adj.)
- 1863, from hug (v.) + -able.
- also huggermugger, "secretly," 1520s, one of a number of similar-sounding reduplicated words in use around this time and meaning much the same thing, including hucker-mucker, which may be the original of the bunch if the root is, as some think, Middle English mukre “to hoard up, conceal.” Also cf. Middle English hukmuck, late 15c., name of some sort of device for cleansing.
- masc. proper name, from Old North French Hugues, Old French Hue, from a Frankish name meaning "heart, mind," cf. Old High German Hugi, related to hugu "mind, soul, thought." Very popular after the Conquest (often in Latin form Hugo); the common form was Howe, the nickname form Hudd. Its popularity is attested by the more than 90 surnames formed from it, including Hughes, Howe, Hudson, Hewitt, Hutchins.
- 1562, from Middle French Huguenot, according to French sources originally political, not religious. The name was applied in 1520s to Genevan partisans opposed to the Duke of Savoy (who joined Geneva to the Swiss Confederation), and it is probably an alteration of Swiss German Eidgenoss "confederate," from Middle High German eitgenoze, from eit "oath" + genoze "comrade" (related to Old English geneat "comrade, companion"). The form of the French word probably altered by association with Hugues Besançon, leader of the Genevan partisans. In France, applied generally to French Protestants because Geneva was a Calvinist center.
- as a representation of a grunting exclamation, attested from c.1600.
- hula (n.)
- "traditional dance of Hawaii," 1825, from Hawaiian. As a verb from 1952. Hula hoop first recorded in fall of 1958, when it was a craze; so called from resemblance of motions of one using it to the dancers' hip circles.
- hulk (n.)
- Old English hulc "light, fast ship" (but in Middle English a heavy, unwieldy one), probably from Old Dutch hulke and Medieval Latin hulcus, perhaps ultimately from Greek holkas "merchant ship," literally "ship that is towed," from helkein "to pull" (from PIE root *selk- "to pull, draw"). Meaning "body of an old, worn-out ship" is first recorded 1670s. The Hulks ("Great Expectations") were old ships used as prisons. Sense of "big, clumsy person" is first recorded c.1400 (early 14c. as a surname: Stephen le Hulke).
- hulk (v.)
- "to be clumsy, unwieldy, lazy," 1789, from hulk (n.). Related: Hulked; hulking.
- hulking (adj.)
- "big, clumsy," 1690s (through 18c. usually with fellow), from hulk (n.).
- hull (n.1)
- "seed covering," from Old English hulu "husk, pod," from Proto-Germanic *hulus "to cover" (cf. Old High German hulla, hulsa; German Hülle, Hülse, Dutch huls). Figurative use by 1831.
- hull (n.2)
- "body of a ship," 1550s, perhaps from hull (n.1) on fancied resemblance of ship keels to open peapods (cf. Latin carina "keel of a ship," originally "shell of a nut;" Greek phaselus "light passenger ship, yacht," literally "bean pod;" French coque "hull of a ship; shell of a walnut or egg"). Alternative etymology is from Middle English hoole "ship's keel" (mid-15c.), from the same source as hold (n.).
- hull (v.)
- "to remove the husk of," early 15c., from hull (n.1). Related: Hulled, which can mean both "having a particular kind of hull" and "stripped of the hull."
- hullabaloo (n.)
- 1762, hollo-ballo "uproar," chiefly in northern England and Scottish, perhaps a rhyming reduplication of hollo (see hello).
- call to attract attention, by 1828; see hello.
- hum (v.)
- late 14c., hommen "make a murmuring sound to cover embarrassment," later hummen "to buzz, drone" (early 15c.), probably of imitative origin. Sense of "sing with closed lips" is first attested late 15c.; that of "be busy and active" is 1884, perhaps on analogy of a beehive. Related: Hummed; humming. Humming-bird (1630s) so called from sound made by the rapid vibration of its wings.
There is a curious bird to see to, called a humming bird, no bigger then a great Beetle. [Thomas Morton, "New English Canaan," 1637]
- hum (n.)
- mid-15c., from hum (v.).
- hum-drum (adj.)
- also humdrum, "routine, monotonous," 1550s, probably a reduplication of hum.
- human (adj.)
- mid-15c., humain, humaigne, from Old French humain, umain (adj.) "of or belonging to man" (12c.), from Latin humanus "of man, human," also "humane, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite; learned, refined, civilized," probably related to homo (genitive hominis) "man," and to humus "earth," on notion of "earthly beings," as opposed to the gods (cf. Hebrew adam "man," from adamah "ground"). Cognate with Old Lithuanian zmuo (accusative zmuni) "man, male person."
As a noun, from 1530s. Its Old English cognate guma (from Proto-Germanic *guman-) survives only in disguise in bridegroom. Related: Humanness. Human rights attested by 1680s; human being by 1690s. Human relations is from 1916; human resources attested by 1907, American English, apparently originally among social Christians and drawn from natural resources.
- humane (adj.)
- mid-15c., variant of human (cf. german/germane, urban/urbane), used interchangeably with it until early 18c., by which time it had become a distinct word with sense of "having qualities befitting human beings." But inhuman still can be the opposite of humane. The Royal Humane Society (founded 1774) was originally to rescue drowning persons. Such societies had turned to animal care by late 19c.
- 1590s, from humane + -ly (2).
- humanism (n.)
- along with humanist used in a variety of philosophical and theological senses 16c.-18c., especially ones imitating Latin humanitas "education befitting a cultivated man." See human + -ism. Main modern sense in reference to revival of interest in the Classics traces to c.1860; as a pragmatic system of thought, defined 1907 by co-founder F.C.S. Schiller as: "The perception that the philosophical problem concerns human beings striving to comprehend a world of human experience by the resources of human minds."
- humanist (n.)
- 1580s, "student of the classical humanities," from Middle French humaniste (16c.), formed on model of Italian umanista "student of human affairs or human nature," coined by Italian poet Lodovicio Ariosto (1474-1533), from Latin humanus “human” (see human; also cf. humanism). Philosophical sense is from 1903.
- 1845 (humanistical is from 1716), in reference to Renaissance or classical humanism; from humanist + -ic. From 1904 in reference to a modern philosophy that concerns itself with the interests of the human race.
- humanitarian (n.)
- 1794 (n.) in the theological sense "one who affirms the humanity of Christ but denies his pre-existence and divinity," from humanity + suffix from unitarian, etc.; see humanism. Meaning "philanthropist, one who advocates or practices human action to solve social problems" is from 1842, originally disparaging, with a suggestion of excess. As an adjective, by 1834.
- humanitarianism (n.)
- by 1794 as a Christian theological position, from humanitarian + -ism. Sense related to ethical benevolence attested by 1838.
- 1702; plural of humanity, which was used in English from late 15c. in a sense "class of studies concerned with human culture" (opposed variously at different times to divinity or sciences). Latin literae humaniores, they were those branches of literature (ancient classics, rhetoric, poetry) which tended to humanize or refine.
- humanity (n.)
- late 14c., "kindness, graciousness," from Old French humanité, umanité "human nature; humankind, life on earth; pity," from Latin humanitatem (nominative humanitas) "human nature; philanthropy, kindness; good breeding, refinement; the human race, mankind," from humanus (see human). Sense of "human nature, human form" is c.1400; that of "human race" first recorded mid-15c.
- humanize (v.)
- c.1600, from human + -ize. Related: Humanized; humanizing.
- humankind (n.)
- 1640s, properly two words, from human + kind (n.).
- humanly (adv.)
- c.1500, from human + -ly (2).
- 1912 (adj.), an anthropological hybrid from human + -oid. As a noun, from 1925. Earlier (1906) brand name of a type of cow's milk altered to be closer to human milk intended as food for infants.
- humble (adj.)
- mid-13c., from Old French humble, earlier humele, from Latin humilis "lowly, humble," literally "on the ground," from humus "earth." Senses of "not self-asserting" and "of low birth or rank" were both in Middle English Related: Humbly; humbleness.
Don't be so humble; you're not that great. [Golda Meir]To eat humble pie (1830) is from umble pie (1640s), pie made from umbles "edible inner parts of an animal" (especially deer), considered a low-class food. The similar sense of similar-sounding words (the "h" of humble was not pronounced then) converged in the pun. Umbles, meanwhile, is Middle English numbles "offal" (with loss of n- through assimilation into preceding article).
- humble (v.)
- late 14c. in the intransitive sense of "to render oneself humble;" late 15c. in the transitive sense of "to lower (someone) in dignity;" see humble (adj.). Related: Humbled; humbling.
- humbug (n.)
- 1751, student slang, "trick, jest, hoax, deception," also as a verb, of unknown origin. A vogue word of the early 1750s; its origin was a subject of much whimsical speculation even then.
- humdinger (n.)
- 1905, American English, originally used of beautiful women; probably from dinger, early 19c. slang word for anything superlative; also cf. hummer.
- humeral (adj.)
- 1610s; see humerus + -al (1).
- humerus (n.)
- 1706, "bone of the upper arm," originally (14c.) "shoulder," a misspelled borrowing of Latin umerus "shoulder," from PIE *om(e)so- (cf. Sanskrit amsah, Greek omos, Old Norse ass, Gothic ams "shoulder").
- humid (adj.)
- early 15c., from Old French humide or directly from Latin humidus "moist, wet," variant (probably by influence of humus "earth") of umidus, from umere "be moist," from PIE *wegw- "wet."
- humidifier (n.)
- 1884, agent noun from humidify.
- humidify (v.)
- 1884; see humid + -fy. Related: Humidified; humidifying. Earlier was humify (1650s).
- humidity (n.)
- late 14c., from Old French humidité, from Latin humiditatem (nominative humiditas), from humidus (see humid).
- humidor (n.)
- 1903, from humid on model of cuspidor.
- humiliate (v.)
- 1530s, perhaps a back-formation from humiliation. Related: Humiliated; humiliating; humiliatingly.
- humiliation (n.)
- late 14c., from Late Latin humiliationem (nominative humiliatio) "humbling, humiliation," noun of action from past participle stem of humiliare "to humble," from humilis "humble" (see humble).
- humility (n.)
- early 14c., from Old French umelite "humility, modesty, sweetness," from Latin humilitatem (nominative humilitas) "lowness, insignificance," in Church Latin "meekness," from humilis "humble" (see humble). In the Mercian hymns, Latin humilitatem is glossed by Old English eaðmodnisse.
- hummer (n.)
- c.1600, agent noun from hum (v.). Meaning "energetic person or thing" is 1680s; that of "excellent person or thing" is slang from 1907. As short for Humvee, attested from 1983.
- hummock (n.)
- "knoll, hillock," 1550s, originally nautical, "conical small hill on a seacoast," of obscure origin, though second element is diminutive suffix -ock. In Florida, where the local form is hammock, it means a clump of hardwood trees on a knoll in a swamp or on a key.
- hummus (n.)
- 1955, from Turk. humus "mashed chick peas."
- humongous (adj.)
- also humungous, by 1972, American English, apparently a fanciful coinage from huge and monstrous.
- humor (n.)
- mid-14c., "fluid or juice of an animal or plant," from Old North French humour (Old French humor; Modern French humeur), from Latin umor "body fluid" (also humor, by false association with humus "earth"); related to umere "be wet, moist," and to uvescere "become wet," from PIE *wegw- "wet."
In ancient and medieval physiology, "any of the four body fluids" (blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy or black bile) whose relative proportions were thought to determine state of mind. This led to a sense of "mood, temporary state of mind" (first recorded 1520s); the sense of "amusing quality, funniness" is first recorded 1680s, probably via sense of "whim, caprice" (1560s), which also produced the verb sense of "indulge," first attested 1580s. "The pronunciation of the initial h is only of recent date, and is sometimes omitted ...." [OED] For types of humor, see the useful table below, from H.W. Fowler ["Modern English Usage," 1926].
||words & ideas
||morals & manners
||faults & foibles
||statement of facts
||exposure of nakedness
||victim & bystander
||an inner circle