c. 1300, haut, "great, high;" mid-15c., "high in one's own estimation, haughty," from Old French haut (11c.) "main, principal; proud, noble, dignified; eminent; loud; grand," literally "high," from Latin altus "high," literally "grown tall," from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish;" with initial h- in French by influence of Frankish hoh "high." Spelling in English altered to -gh- 16c. by influence of caught, naught, etc., or of high, or perhaps by the belief that it was a Germanic word. Related: Haughtily.