"to greet or address with 'hail!,'" also "to drink toasts," c. 1200, heilen; to call to from a distance," 1560s (in this sense originally nautical), from hail (interj.). Related: Hailed; hailing. Bartlett ["Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848] identifies to hail from (1841) as "a phrase probably originating with seamen or boatmen." Hail fellow well met is from 1580s as a descriptive adjective, from a familiar greeting; hail fellow (adj.) "overly familiar" is from 1570s. Hail Mary (c. 1300) is the angelic salutation (Latin ave Maria) in Luke i.58, used as a devotional recitation. As a desperation play in U.S. football, attested by 1940. "Hail, Columbia," the popular patriotic song, also was a euphemism for "hell" in American English slang from c. 1850-1910.