There are 2 main definitions of hail in English:

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hail1

Syllabification: hail
Pronunciation: /hāl
 
/

noun

1Pellets of frozen rain that fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds.
Example sentences
  • Estimates of the amount of rain and hail which fell on Tuesday ranged from 30 mm to 75 mm in 15 minutes.
  • Thunderstorms sometimes drop balls of ice known as hail in addition to rain.
  • Weather conditions could hardly have been worse for the event with a strong biting wind and frequent wintry showers of rain and hail putting a damper on proceedings.
1.1 [in singular] A large number of objects hurled forcefully through the air: a hail of bullets
More example sentences
  • Firefighters came under attack from a hail of stones hurled by children as young as 10.
  • The trickle of arrows became a hail of missiles, then, hurled with deadly accuracy.
  • She grabbed the bucket and, amid a hail of artillery fire, crossed the battery to the well.
Synonyms
barrage, volley, shower, rain, torrent, burst, stream, storm, avalanche, onslaught;
bombardment, cannonade, battery, blast, salvo
historical broadside

verb

[no object] Back to top  
1 (it hails, it is hailing, etc.) Hail falls: it hailed so hard we had to stop
More example sentences
  • I rush round closing all the windows and notice it is hailing.
  • Yesterday it hailed so hard it looked like snow.
  • It was raining and hailing, the weather was very poor.
Synonyms
beat, shower, rain, fall, pour;
pelt, pepper, batter, bombard, assail
2 [with adverbial of direction] (Of a large number of objects) fall or be hurled forcefully: missiles and bombs hail down from the sky

Origin

Old English hagol, hægl (noun), hagalian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hagel and German Hagel.

More
  • wassail from (Middle English):

    In the Middle Ages wassail was a drinking toast that literally meant ‘Be in good health’. The polite reply was drinkhail, ‘Drink good health’. Both words come from Old Norse, and were probably introduced by Danish-speaking inhabitants of England. By the 12th century they were considered by the Normans to be characteristic of Englishmen: in a work of 1190 the English students at the university of Paris are praised for generosity and other virtues, but are said to be too much addicted to ‘wassail’ and ‘drinkhail’. The second half of each toast is related to the Old English words hale (Old English), as in hale and hearty, hail (Middle English) to greet’, and whole (Old English).

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There are 2 main definitions of hail in English:

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hail2

Syllabification: hail
Pronunciation: /hāl
 
/

verb

1 [with object] Call out to (someone) to attract attention: the crew hailed a fishing boat
More example sentences
  • I may bridle at the strange young thing who rings up out of the blue and breezily hails me by my first name but it does not help when the company she represents can only be reached through her.
  • A dive master hails me from a nearby floating group, ‘Any idea what that was?’
  • One of them hails me at the fuel pump in order to report that her sister has tried to read the book.
Synonyms
call out to, shout to, address;
greet, say hello to, salute
1.1Signal (an approaching taxicab) to stop: she raised her hand to hail a cab
More example sentences
  • If I want the views of a cab driver I'll hail a taxi, thanks.
  • Keeping in mind that the fact that I was female, alone and in one of the worst neighborhoods in New York I hailed a Taxi cab that was in desperate need of a car wash.
  • Finally the security hailed a taxi cab and pushed us in and it drove away.
Synonyms
flag down, wave down, signal to
2 [with object] Acclaim enthusiastically as being a specified thing: he has been hailed as the new James Dean
More example sentences
  • On the one hand it was hailed as groundbreaking and praised for encouraging debate.
  • However, the fourth Sunday of Lent was hailed as a day for honouring mothers, when servants would have the day off and be encouraged to return home.
  • They were then ushered into the airport's arrivals terminal where they were hailed as heroes by fans who had turned up to welcome the athletes home.
Synonyms
acclaim, praise, applaud, rave about, extol, eulogize, hymn, lionize, sing the praises of, make much of, glorify, cheer, salute, toast, ballyhoo
formal laud
3 [no object] (hail from) Have one’s home or origins in (a place): he hails from Pittsburgh
More example sentences
  • Gladys, a former mill worker, originally hails from Castleford but has lived in Haworth for most of her life.
  • Wayne originally hails from Wexford and has lived in Sligo for almost ten years.
  • Humble origin and hailing from a small town of Kakinada do not appear to deter him.
Synonyms
come from, be from, be a native of, have one's roots in

exclamation

archaic Back to top  
Expressing greeting or acclaim: hail, Caesar!
More example sentences
  • Hail, ye lone voices in the wilderness!
  • Hail good citizens!
  • Hail, good old stranger!

noun

Back to top  
A shout or call used to attract attention.
Example sentences
  • Include as many hails of derisive laughter in your answer as possible.
  • We have received your hails and are willing to accept you and any wounded, so long as you disarm and power down.
  • The Radar has just entered out jurisdiction and is not responding to our hails.

Origin

Middle English: from the obsolete adjective hail 'healthy' (occurring in greetings and toasts, such as wæs hæil: see wassail), from Old Norse heill, related to hale1 and whole.

More
  • wassail from (Middle English):

    In the Middle Ages wassail was a drinking toast that literally meant ‘Be in good health’. The polite reply was drinkhail, ‘Drink good health’. Both words come from Old Norse, and were probably introduced by Danish-speaking inhabitants of England. By the 12th century they were considered by the Normans to be characteristic of Englishmen: in a work of 1190 the English students at the university of Paris are praised for generosity and other virtues, but are said to be too much addicted to ‘wassail’ and ‘drinkhail’. The second half of each toast is related to the Old English words hale (Old English), as in hale and hearty, hail (Middle English) to greet’, and whole (Old English).

Phrases

within hail

1
(or within hailing distance)
At a distance within which someone may be called to; within earshot.
Example sentences
  • If upon the ocean, would any passing vessel be within hail to rescue them from their critical position?
  • After finishing, a yacht shall come within hail of the Committee for instructions as to possible inspection.
  • Come within hail for verbal instructions or follow the official boat displaying Code Flag ‘L'.

Derivatives

hailer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • Protesters may follow the hunt, on condition that loud trumpets, drums and hailers are replaced by muted clarinets or harps.
  • Student strikes are disrupting college campuses, where old protest anthems like ‘We Shall Overcome’ mix with the tinny sound of speeches belted out over load hailers.
  • The street vendors, the business suits on smoke breaks, the cell phones, the cab hailers, the noises.

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