First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Hail

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Hail mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Hail

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Hail
Small roundish masses of ice precipitated from the clouds, where they are formed by the congelation of vapor. The separate masses or grains are called hailstones.

Etymology: OE. hail haȝel, AS. hægel hagol; akin to D., G., Dan., & Sw. hagel; Icel. hagl; cf. Gr. ka`chlhx pebble

verb Hail
To pour down particles of ice, or frozen vapors.

Etymology: OE. hailen, AS. hagalian

verb Hail
To pour forcibly down, as hail.
adjective Hail
Healthy. See Halethe preferable spelling).
verb Hail
  1. To call loudly to, or after; to accost; to salute; to address.
  2. To name; to designate; to call."And such a son as all men hailed me happy." [Milton.]

Etymology: OE. hailen heilen, Icel. heill hale, sound, used in greeting. See Hale sound

verb Hail
  1. To declare, by hailing, the port from which a vessel sails or where she is registered; hence, to sail; to come; -- used with from; as, the steamer hails from New York.
  2. To report as one's home or the place from whence one comes; to come; -- with from.(Colloq)
interjection Hail
An exclamation of respectful or reverent salutation, or, occasionally, of familiar greeting.

Etymology: See Hail (v. t.)

noun Hail
A wish of health; a salutation; a loud call.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Enthusiastic greeting
  2. Many objects thrown forcefully through the air ("a hail of pebbles" and "a hail of bullets")
  3. Precipitation of ice pellets when there are strong rising air currents
  4. Praise vociferously ("The critics hailed the young pianist as a new Rubinstein")
  5. Greet enthusiastically or joyfully
  6. Call for ("hail a cab")
  7. Be a native of ("She hails from Kalamazoo")
  8. Precipitate as small ice particles ("It hailed for an hour")

From Middle English haile, hail, from Old English hæġl, hæġel, from Proto-Germanic *haglaz (compare West Frisian heil, Low German Hagel, Dutch hagel, German Hagel, Danish hagl). Either from Proto-Indo-European *kagʰlos (“pebble”), or from *ḱoḱló-, a reduplication of *ḱel- (“cold”) (compare Old Norse héla (“frost”)).

  1. Balls or pieces of ice falling as precipitation, often in connection with a thunderstorm.

Root-cognates outside of Germanic include Welsh caill (“testicle”), Breton kell (“testicle”), Lithuanian šešėlis (“shade, shadow”), Ancient Greek κάχληξ (kákhlēx, “pebble”), Albanian çakëll (“pebble”), Sanskrit शिशिर (śíśira, “cool, cold”).

  1. Balls or pieces of ice falling as precipitation, often in connection with a thunderstorm.

The adjective hail is a variant of hale (“health, safety”) (from the early 13th century). The transitive verb with the meaning "to salute" is also from the 13th century. The cognate verb heal is already Old English (hǣlan), from Proto-Germanic *hailijaną (“to make healthy, whole, to heal”). Also cognate is whole, from Old English hāl (the spelling with wh- is unetymological, introduced in the 15th century).

    hail was also found in the following language(s): Irish, Scots, and Welsh

    Notable Persons Named Hail

    Hail Goitom is an athlete for the FC Edaga Hamus.


    Hail Al Badri is an athlete for the Tishreen SC.


    Where is the name Hail popular?

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    Popularity of Hail as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Hail as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Texas, California, or Kentucky.

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Hail U.S.
      White 73.14% 64.26%
      African American 21.60% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.37% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 0.53% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 2.09% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 2.27% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Hail

    People with the last name Hail are most frequently White or African American

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Hail

    • How Popular is the name Hail? As a last name Hail was the 364th most popular name in 2010.
    • When was the first name Hail first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Hail is Sunday, December 7th, 1873.
    • How unique is the name Hail? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Hail. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
    • Weird things about the name Hail: Your name in reverse order is Liah. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Hlia. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Hail? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 86,240 people with the last name Hail.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Hail? Hail was ranked as the 364th most popular last name but is still less than 0.1% of the population!

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.