"in good health, robust," Old English hal "healthy, sound, safe; entire; uninjured; genuine, straightforward," from Proto-Germanic *hailaz(source also of Old Frisian hel"complete, full; firm" (of ground), Old High German heil, Old Norse heill "hale, sound," Gothic hails "hale"), from PIE *kailo- "whole, uninjured, of good omen" (see health). The Scottish and northern English form of whole and with a more etymological spelling. It later acquired a literary sense of "free from infirmity" (1734), especially in reference to the aged. Related: Haleness.
c. 1200, "drag, pull," in Middle English used of arrows, bowstrings, reins, swords, anchors, etc., from Old French haler "to pull, haul, tow, tug" (12c.), from Frankish *halon or Old Dutch halen or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *halon "to call," from PIE root *kele- (2) "to shout." Figurative sense of "to draw (someone) from one condition to another" is late 14c. Related: Haled; haling.
updated on November 18, 2018