British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
ha(1) int. & v. (also hah) --int. expressing surprise, suspicion,
triumph, etc. (cf. HA HA). --v.intr. (in hum and ha: see
ha(2) abbr. hectare(s).
haar n. a cold sea-fog on the east coast of England or Scotland.
[perh. f. ON h rr hoar, hoary]
Hab. abbr. Habakkuk (Old Testament).
habanera n. 1 a Cuban dance in slow duple time. 2 the music for this.
[Sp., fem. of habanero of Havana in Cuba]
n. a writ requiring a person to be brought before a judge or
into court, esp. to investigate the lawfulness of his or her
detention. [L, = you must have the body]
n. 1 Brit. a dealer in dress accessories and sewing-goods. 2
US a dealer in men's clothing. ЬЬhaberdashery n. (pl. -ies).
[ME prob. ult. f. AF hapertas perh. the name of a fabric]
habergeon n. hist. a sleeveless coat of mail. [ME f. OF haubergeon (as
n. (usu. in pl.) 1 clothes suited to a particular purpose. 2
joc. ordinary clothes. [ME f. OF habillement f. habiller fit
out f. habile ABLE]
v.intr. qualify for office (esp. as a teacher in a German
university). ЬЬhabilitation n. [med.L habilitare (as ABILITY)]
habit n. & v. --n. 1 a settled or regular tendency or practice
(often foll. by of + verbal noun: has a habit of ignoring me).
2 a practice that is hard to give up. 3 a mental constitution
or attitude. 4 Psychol. an automatic reaction to a specific
situation. 5 colloq. an addictive practice, esp. of taking
drugs. 6 a the dress of a particular class, esp. of a religious
order. b (in full riding-habit) a woman's riding-dress. c
archaic dress, attire. 7 a bodily constitution. 8 Biol. &
Crystallog. a mode of growth. --v.tr. (usu. as habited adj.)
clothe. Ьhabit-forming causing addiction. make a habit of do
regularly. [ME f. OF abit f. L habitus f. habere habit- have,
habitable adj. that can be inhabited. ЬЬhabitability n. habitableness
n. habitably adv. [ME f. OF f. L habitabilis (as HABITANT)]
habitant n. 1 an inhabitant. 2 a an early French settler in Canada or
Louisiana. b a descendant of these settlers. [F f. OF habiter
f. L habitare inhabit (as HABIT)]
habitat n. 1 the natural home of an organism. 2 a habitation. [L, =
it dwells: see HABITANT]
n. 1 the process of inhabiting (fit for human habitation). 2 a
house or home. [ME f. OF f. L habitatio -onis (as HABITANT)]
habitual adj. 1 done constantly or as a habit. 2 regular, usual. 3
given to a (specified) habit (a habitual smoker). ЬЬhabitually
adv. habitualness n. [med.L habitualis (as HABIT)]
habituate v.tr. (often foll. by to) accustom; make used to something.
ЬЬhabituation n. [LL habituare (as HABIT)]
habitude n. 1 a mental or bodily disposition. 2 a custom or tendency.
[ME f. OF f. L habitudo -dinis f. habere habit- have]
habitu‚ n. a habitual visitor or resident. [F, past part. of habituer
h cek n. a diacritic mark placed over letters to modify the sound in
some Slavonic and Baltic languages. [Czech, dimin. of h k hook]
hachures n.pl. parallel lines used in hill-shading on maps, their
closeness indicating the steepness of gradient. [F f. hacher
hacienda n. in Spanish-speaking countries: 1 an estate or plantation
with a dwelling-house. 2 a factory. [Sp. f. L facienda things
to be done]
hack(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. cut or chop roughly; mangle. 2 tr. kick
the shin of (an opponent at football). 3 intr. (often foll. by
at) deliver cutting blows. 4 tr. cut (one's way) through thick
foliage etc. 5 tr. colloq. gain unauthorized access to (data
in a computer). 6 tr. sl. a manage, cope with. b tolerate.
--n. 1 a kick with the toe of a boot. 2 a gash or wound, esp.
from a kick. 3 a a mattock. b a miner's pick. Ьhacking cough
a short dry frequent cough. [OE haccian cut in pieces f. WG]
hack(2) n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a a horse for ordinary riding. b a
horse let out for hire. c = JADE(2) 1. 2 a dull, uninspired
writer. 3 a person hired to do dull routine work. 4 US a taxi.
--attrib.adj. 1 used as a hack. 2 typical of a hack;
commonplace (hack work). --v. 1 a intr. ride on horseback on a
road at an ordinary pace. b tr. ride (a horse) in this way. 2
tr. make common or trite. [abbr. of HACKNEY]
hack(3) n. 1 a board on which a hawk's meat is laid. 2 a rack holding
fodder for cattle. Ьat hack (of a young hawk) not yet allowed
to prey for itself. [var. of HATCH(1)]
hackberry n. (pl. -ies) US 1 any tree of the genus Celtis, native to N.
America, bearing purple edible berries. 2 the berry of this
tree. [var. of hagberry, of Norse orig.]
hacker n. 1 a person or thing that hacks or cuts roughly. 2 colloq. a
person who uses computers for a hobby, esp. to gain unauthorized
access to data.
hackle n. & v. --n. 1 a long feather or series of feathers on the
neck or saddle of a domestic cock and other birds. 2 Fishing an
artificial fly dressed with a hackle. 3 a feather in a Highland
soldier's bonnet. 4 (in pl.) the erectile hairs along the back
of a dog, which rise when it is angry or alarmed. 5 a steel
comb for dressing flax. --v.tr. dress or comb with a hackle.
Ьmake one's hackles rise cause one to be angry or indignant.
[ME hechele, hakele, prob. f. OE f. WG]
hackney n. (pl. -eys) 1 a horse of average size and quality for
ordinary riding. 2 (attrib.) designating any of various
vehicles kept for hire. °No longer used except in hackney
carriage, still in official use as a term for 'taxi'. [ME,
perh. f. Hackney (formerly Hakenei) in London, where horses
hackneyed adj. (of a phrase etc.) made commonplace or trite by overuse.
hacksaw n. a saw with a narrow blade set in a frame, for cutting metal.
had past and past part. of HAVE.
haddock n. (pl. same) a marine fish, Melanogrammus aeglefinus, of the
N. Atlantic, allied to cod, but smaller. [ME, prob. f. AF
hadoc, OF (h)adot, of unkn. orig.]
hade n. & v. Geol. --n. an incline from the vertical. --v.intr.
incline from the vertical. [17th c., perh. dial. form of head]
Hades n. (in Greek mythology) the underworld, the abode of the
spirits of the dead. [Gk haides, orig. a name of Pluto]
Hadith n. Relig. a body of traditions relating to Muhammad. [Arab.
hadj var. of HAJJ.
hadji var. of HAJJI.
hadn't contr. had not.
hadron n. Physics any strongly interacting elementary particle.
ЬЬhadronic adj. [Gk hadros bulky]
hadst archaic 2nd sing. past of HAVE.
haecceity n. Philos. 1 the quality of a thing that makes it unique or
describable as 'this (one)'. 2 individuality. [med.L
haecceitas f. haec fem. of hic this]
haem n. (also heme) a non-protein compound containing iron, and
responsible for the red colour of haemoglobin. [Gk haima blood
or f. HAEMOGLOBIN]
haemal adj. (US hemal) Anat. 1 of or concerning the blood. 2 a
situated on the same side of the body as the heart and great
blood-vessels. b ventral. [Gk haima blood]
haematic adj. (US hematic) Med. of or containing blood. [Gk haimatikos
haematin n. (US hematin) Anat. a bluish-black derivative of
haemoglobin, formed by removal of the protein part and oxidation
of the iron atom. [Gk haima -matos blood]
haematite n. (US hematite) a ferric oxide ore. [L haematites f. Gk
haimatites (lithos) bloodlike (stone) (as HAEMATIN)]
haemato- comb. form (US hemato-) blood. [Gk haima haimat- blood]
n. (US hematocele) Med. a swelling caused by blood collecting
in a body cavity.
n. (US hematocrit) Physiol. 1 the ratio of the volume of red
blood cells to the total volume of blood. 2 an instrument for
measuring this. [HAEMATO- + Gk krites judge]
n. (US hematology) the study of the physiology of the blood.
ЬЬhaematologic adj. haematological adj. haematologist n.
haematoma n. (US hematoma) Med. a solid swelling of clotted blood within
n. (US hematuria) Med. the presence of blood in urine.
-haemia var. of -AEMIA.
haemo- comb. form (US hemo-) = HAEMATO-. [abbr.]
n. (US hemocyanin) an oxygen-carrying substance containing
copper, present in the blood plasma of arthropods and molluscs.
[HAEMO- + cyanin blue pigment (as CYAN)]
n. = DIALYSIS 2.
n. (US hemoglobin) a red oxygen-carrying substance containing
iron, present in the red blood-cells of vertebrates. [shortened
f. haematoglobin, compound of HAEMATIN + GLOBULIN]
n. (US hemolysis) the loss of haemoglobin from red blood-cells.
n. (US hemophilia) Med. a usu. hereditary disorder with a
tendency to bleed severely from even a slight injury, through
the failure of the blood to clot normally. ЬЬhaemophilic adj.
[mod.L (as HAEMO-, -PHILIA)]
n. (US hemophiliac) a person suffering from haemophilia.
n. & v. (US hemorrhage) --n. 1 an escape of blood from a
ruptured blood-vessel, esp. when profuse. 2 an extensive
damaging loss suffered by a State. organization, etc., esp. of
people or assets. --v.intr. undergo a haemorrhage.
ЬЬhaemorrhagic adj. [earlier haemorrhagy f. F h‚morr(h)agie f.
L haemorrhagia f. Gk haimorrhagia f. haima blood + stem of
n. (US hemorrhoid) (usu. in pl.) swollen veins at or near the
anus; piles. ЬЬhaemorrhoidal adj. [ME emeroudis (Bibl.
emerods) f. OF emeroyde f. L f. Gk haimorrhoides (phlebes)
bleeding (veins) f. haima blood, -rhoos -flowing]
n. (US hemostasis) the stopping of the flow of blood.
haere mai int. NZ welcome. [Maori, lit. 'come hither']
hafiz n. a Muslim who knows the Koran by heart. [Pers. f. Arab.
hafnium n. Chem. a silvery lustrous metallic element occurring
naturally with zirconium, used in tungsten alloys for filaments
and electrodes. °Symb.: Hf. [mod.L f. Hafnia Copenhagen]
haft n. & v. --n. the handle of a dagger or knife etc. --v.tr.
provide with a haft. [OE h‘ft f. Gmc]
Hag. abbr. Haggai (Old Testament).
hag(1) n. 1 an ugly old woman. 2 a witch. 3 = HAGFISH. ЬЬhaggish
adj. [ME hegge, hagge, perh. f. OE h‘gtesse, OHG hagazissa, of
hag(2) n. Sc. & N.Engl. 1 a soft place on a moor. 2 a firm place in
a bog. [ON h”gg gap, orig. 'cutting blow', rel. to HEW]
hagfish n. any jawless fish of the family Myxinidae, with a rasp-like
tongue used for feeding on dead or dying fish. [HAG(1)]
Haggadah n. 1 a legend etc. used to illustrate a point of the Law in the
Talmud; the legendary element of the Talmud. 2 a book recited
at the Passover Seder service. ЬЬHaggadic adj. [Heb., = tale,
f. higgЊd tell]
haggard adj. & n. --adj. 1 looking exhausted and distraught, esp. from
fatigue, worry, privation, etc. 2 (of a hawk) caught and
trained as an adult. --n. a haggard hawk. ЬЬhaggardly adv.
haggardness n. [F hagard, of uncert. orig.: later infl. by
haggis n. a Scottish dish consisting of a sheep's or calf's offal
mixed with suet, oatmeal, etc., and boiled in a bag made from
the animal's stomach or in an artificial bag. [ME: orig. unkn.]
haggle v. & n. --v.intr. (often foll. by about, over) dispute or
bargain persistently. --n. a dispute or wrangle. ЬЬhaggler n.
[earlier sense 'hack' f. ON h”ggva HEW]
hagio- comb. form of saints or holiness. [Gk hagios holy]
n. the twelve books comprising the last of the three major
divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures, additional to the Law and
n. 1 a writer of the lives of saints. 2 a writer of any of the
n. the writing of the lives of saints. ЬЬhagiographic adj.
n. the worship of saints.
hagiology n. literature dealing with the lives and legends of saints.
ЬЬhagiological adj. hagiologist n.
hagridden adj. afflicted by nightmares or anxieties.
hah var. of HA.
ha ha int. repr. laughter. [OE: cf. HA]
ha-ha n. a ditch with a wall on its inner side below ground level,
forming a boundary to a park or garden without interrupting the
view. [F, perh. from the cry of surprise on encountering it]
hahnium n. Chem. an artificially produced radioactive element.
°Symb.: Ha. [O. Hahn, Ger. chemist d. 1968 + -IUM]
haik n. (also haick) an outer covering for head and body worn by
Arabs. [Moroccan Arab. ha' ik]
haiku n. (pl. same) 1 a Japanese three-part poem of usu. 17
syllables. 2 an English imitation of this. [Jap.]
hail(1) n. & v. --n. 1 pellets of frozen rain falling in showers from
cumulonimbus clouds. 2 (foll. by of) a barrage or onslaught (of
missiles, curses, questions, etc.). --v. 1 intr. (prec. by it
as subject) hail falls (it is hailing; if it hails). 2 a tr.
pour down (blows, words, etc.). b intr. come down forcefully.
[OE hagol, h‘gl, hagalian f. Gmc]
hail(2) v., int., & n. --v. 1 tr. greet enthusiastically. 2 tr.
signal to or attract the attention of (hailed a taxi). 3 tr.
acclaim (hailed him king). 4 intr. (foll. by from) have one's
home or origins in (a place) (hails from Mauritius). --int.
expressing greeting. --n. 1 a greeting or act of hailing. 2
distance as affecting the possibility of hailing (was within
hail). Ьhail-fellow-well-met intimate, esp. too intimate. Hail
Mary the Ave Maria (see AVE). ЬЬhailer n. [ellipt. use of obs.
hail (adj.) f. ON heill sound, WHOLE]
hailstone n. a pellet of hail.
hailstorm n. a period of heavy hail.
hair n. 1 a any of the fine threadlike strands growing from the skin
of mammals, esp. from the human head. b these collectively (his
hair is falling out). 2 a an artificially produced hairlike
strand, e.g. in a brush. b a mass of such hairs. 3 anything
resembling a hair. 4 an elongated cell growing from the
epidermis of a plant. 5 a very small quantity or extent (also
attrib.: a hair crack). Ьget in a person's hair colloq.
encumber or annoy a person. hair-drier (or -dryer) an
electrical device for drying the hair by blowing warm air over
it. hair-grass any of various grasses, esp. of the genus
Deschampsia, Corynephous, Aira, etc., with slender stems. hair
of the dog see DOG. hair-raising extremely alarming;
terrifying. hair's breadth a very small amount or margin. hair
shirt a shirt of haircloth, worn formerly by penitents and
ascetics. hair-shirt adj. (attrib.) austere, harsh,
self-sacrificing. hair-slide Brit. a (usu. ornamental) clip
for keeping the hair in position. hair-splitter a quibbler.
hair-splitting adj. & n. making overfine distinctions;
quibbling. hair-trigger a trigger of a firearm set for release
at the slightest pressure. keep one's hair on Brit. colloq.
remain calm; not get angry. let one's hair down colloq.
abandon restraint; behave freely or wildly. make one's hair
stand on end alarm or horrify one. not turn a hair remain
apparently unmoved or unaffected. ЬЬhaired adj. (also in
comb.). hairless adj. hairlike adj. [OE h‘r f. Gmc]
n. = hair's breadth; (esp. attrib.: a hairbreadth escape).
hairbrush n. a brush for arranging or smoothing the hair.
haircloth n. stiff cloth woven from hair, used e.g. in upholstery.
haircut n. 1 a cutting of the hair. 2 the style in which the hair is
hairdo n. (pl. -dos) colloq. the style or an act of styling a
n. 1 a person who cuts and styles hair, esp. professionally. 2
the business or establishment of a hairdresser. ЬЬhairdressing
hairgrip n. Brit. a flat hairpin with the ends close together.
hairline n. 1 the edge of a person's hair, esp. on the forehead. 2 a
very thin line or crack etc.
hairnet n. a piece of fine mesh-work for confining the hair.
hairpiece n. a quantity or switch of detached hair used to augment a
person's natural hair.
hairpin n. a U-shaped pin for fastening the hair. Ьhairpin bend a
sharp U-shaped bend in a road.
hairspray n. a solution sprayed on to the hair to keep it in place.
n. a fine spring regulating the balance-wheel in a watch.
n. a butterfly of the genus Strymonidia etc. with fine streaks
or rows of spots on its wings.
hairstyle n. a particular way of arranging or dressing the hair.
ЬЬhairstyling n. hairstylist n.
hairy adj. (hairier, hairiest) 1 made of or covered with hair. 2
having the feel of hair. 3 sl. a alarmingly unpleasant or
difficult. b crude, clumsy. ЬЬhairily adv. hairiness n.
hajj n. (also hadj) the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. [Arab. hajj
hajji n. (also hadji) (pl. -is) a Muslim who has been to Mecca as a
pilgrim: also (Hajji) used as a title. [Pers. haji (partly
through Turk. haci) f. Arab. hajj: see HAJJ]
haka n. NZ 1 a Maori ceremonial war-dance accompanied by chanting.
2 an imitation of this by members of a sports team before a
hake n. any marine fish of the genus Merluccius, esp. M. merluccius
with an elongate body and large head. [ME perh. ult. f. dial.
hake hook + FISH(1)]
n. a swastika, esp. as a Nazi symbol. [G f. Haken hook +
hakim(1) n. (in India and Muslim countries) a physician. [Arab. hakim
wise man, physician]
hakim(2) n. (in India and Muslim countries) a judge, ruler, or governor.
[Arab. hakim governor]
Halacha n. (also Halakah) Jewish law and jurisprudence, based on the
Talmud. ЬЬHalachic adj. [Aram. halakah law]
halal v. & n. (also hallal) --v.tr. (halalled, halalling) kill (an
animal) as prescribed by Muslim law. --n. (often attrib.) meat
prepared in this way; lawful food. [Arab. halal lawful]
halation n. Photog. the spreading of light beyond its proper extent in
a developed image, caused by internal reflection in the support
of the emulsion. [irreg. f. HALO + -ATION]
halberd n. (also halbert) hist. a combined spear and battleaxe. [ME
f. F hallebarde f. It alabarda f. MHG helmbarde f. helm handle
+ barde hatchet]
n. hist. a man armed with a halberd. [F hallebardier (as
halcyon adj. & n. --adj. 1 calm, peaceful (halcyon days). 2 (of a
period) happy, prosperous. --n. 1 any kingfisher of the genus
Halcyon, native to Europe, Africa, and Australasia, with
brightly-coloured plumage. 2 Mythol. a bird thought in
antiquity to breed in a nest floating at sea at the winter
solstice, charming the wind and waves into calm. [ME f. L
(h)alcyon f. Gk (h)alkuon kingfisher]
hale(1) adj. (esp. of an old person) strong and healthy (esp. in hale
and hearty). ЬЬhaleness n. [OE hal WHOLE]
hale(2) v.tr. drag or draw forcibly. [ME f. OF haler f. ON hala]
half n., adj., & adv. --n. (pl. halves) 1 either of two equal or
corresponding parts or groups into which a thing is or might be
divided. 2 colloq. = half-back. 3 colloq. half a pint, esp. of
beer etc. 4 either of two equal periods of play in sports. 5
colloq. a half-price fare or ticket, esp. for a child. 6 Golf a
score that is the same as one's opponent's. --adj. 1 of an
amount or quantity equal to a half, or loosely to a part thought
of as roughly a half (take half the men; spent half the time
reading; half a pint; a half-pint; half-price). 2 forming a
half (a half share). --adv. 1 (often in comb.) to the extent
of half; partly (only half cooked; half-frozen; half-laughing).
2 to a certain extent; somewhat (esp. in idiomatic phrases: half
dead; am half inclined to agree). 3 (in reckoning time) by the
amount of half (an hour etc.) (half past two). Ьat half cock
see COCK(1). by half (prec. by too + adj.) excessively (too
clever by half). by halves imperfectly or incompletely (never
does things by halves). half-and-half being half one thing and
half another. half-back (in some sports) a player between the
forwards and full backs. half-baked 1 incompletely considered
or planned. 2 (of enthusiasm etc.) only partly committed. 3
foolish. half the battle see BATTLE. half-beak any fish of the
family Hemirhamphidae with the lower jaw projecting beyond the
upper. half-binding a type of bookbinding in which the spine
and corners are bound in one material (usu. leather) and the
sides in another. half-blood 1 a person having one parent in
common with another. 2 this relationship. 3 = half-breed.
half-blooded born from parents of different races. half-blue
Brit. 1 a person who has represented a university, esp. Oxford
or Cambridge, in a sport but who has not received a full blue.
2 this distinction (see BLUE(1) n. 3). half board provision of
bed, breakfast, and one main meal at a hotel etc. half-boot a
boot reaching up to the calf. half-breed often offens. a
person of mixed race. half-brother a brother with only one
parent in common. half-caste often offens. n. a person whose
parents are of different races, esp. the offspring of a European
father and an Indian mother. --adj. of or relating to such a
person. half a chance colloq. the slightest opportunity (esp.
given half a chance). half-crown (or half a crown) (in the UK)
a former coin and monetary unit worth 2s. 6d. (12«p). half-cut
Brit. sl. fairly drunk. half-deck the quarters of cadets and
apprentices on a merchant vessel. half-dozen (or half a dozen)
colloq. six, or about six. half-duplex see DUPLEX. half an
eye the slightest degree of perceptiveness. half-hardy (of a
plant) able to grow in the open air at all times except in
severe frost. half hitch a noose or knot formed by passing the
end of a rope round its standing part and then through the loop.
half holiday a day of which half (usu. the afternoon) is taken
as a holiday. half-hour 1 (also half an hour) a period of 30
minutes. 2 a point of time 30 minutes after any hour o'clock.
half-hourly at intervals of 30 minutes. half-hunter a watch
with a hinged cover in which a small opening allows
identification of the approximate position of the hands.
half-inch n. a unit of length half as large as an inch.
--v.tr. rhymingsl. steal (= pinch). half-integral equal to
half an odd integer. half-landing a landing part of the way up
a flight of stairs, whose length is twice the width of the
flight plus the width of the well. half-lap the joining of
rails, shafts, etc., by halving the thickness of each at one end
and fitting them together. half-length a canvas depicting a
half-length portrait. half-life Physics & Biochem. etc. the
time taken for the radioactivity or some other property of a
substance to fall to half its original value. half-light a dim
imperfect light. half-mast the position of a flag halfway down
the mast, as a mark of respect for a person who has died. half
measures an unsatisfactory compromise or inadequate policy.
half a mind see MIND. half moon 1 the moon when only half its
illuminated surface is visible from earth. 2 the time when this
occurs. 3 a semicircular object. half nelson Wrestling see
NELSON. half-note esp. US Mus. = MINIM 1. the half of it
colloq. the rest or more important part of something (usu.
after neg.: you don't know the half of it). half pay reduced
income, esp. on retirement. half-pie NZ sl. imperfect,
mediocre. half-plate 1 a photographic plate 16.5 by 10.8 cm. 2
a photograph reproduced from this. half-seas-over Brit. sl.
partly drunk. half-sister a sister with only one parent in
common. half-sole the sole of a boot or shoe from the shank to
the toe. half-sovereign a former British gold coin and monetary
unit worth ten shillings (50p). half-step Mus. a semitone.
half-term Brit. a period about halfway through a school term,
when a short holiday is usually taken. half-timbered Archit.
having walls with a timber frame and a brick or plaster filling.
half-time 1 the time at which half of a game or contest is
completed. 2 a short interval occurring at this time. half the
time see TIME. half-title 1 the title or short title of a book,
printed on the recto of the leaf preceding the title-page. 2
the title of a section of a book printed on the recto of the
leaf preceding it. half-tone 1 a reproduction printed from a
block (produced by photographic means) in which the various
tones of grey are produced from small and large black dots. 2
US Mus. a semitone. half-track 1 a propulsion system for land
vehicles with wheels at the front and an endless driven belt at
the back. 2 a vehicle equipped with this. half-truth a
statement that (esp. deliberately) conveys only part of the
truth. half-volley (pl. -eys) (in ball games) the playing of a
ball as soon as it bounces off the ground. half-yearly at
intervals of six months. not half 1 not nearly (not half long
enough). 2 colloq. not at all (not half bad). 3 Brit. sl. to
an extreme degree (he didn't half get angry). [OE half, healf
f. Gmc, orig. = 'side']
adj. lacking enthusiasm; feeble. ЬЬhalf-heartedly adv.
halfpenny n. (also ha'penny) (pl. -pennies or -pence) (in the UK) a
former bronze coin worth half a penny. °Withdrawn in 1984. (cf.
n. (also ha'p'orth) 1 as much as could be bought for a
halfpenny. 2 colloq. a negligible amount (esp. after neg.:
doesn't make a halfpennyworth of difference).
halfway adv. & adj. --adv. 1 at a point equidistant between two others
(we were halfway to Rome). 2 US to some extent; more or less
(is halfway decent). --adj. situated halfway (reached a halfway
point). Ьhalfway house 1 a compromise. 2 the halfway point in
a progression. 3 a centre for rehabilitating ex-prisoners,
mental patients, or others unused to normal life. 4 an inn
midway between two towns. halfway line a line midway between
the ends of a pitch, esp. in football.
halfwit n. 1 colloq. an extremely foolish or stupid person. 2 a person
who is mentally deficient. ЬЬhalfwitted adj. halfwittedly adv.
halibut n. (also holibut) (pl. same) a large marine flat-fish,
Hippoglossus vulgaris, used as food. [ME f. haly HOLY +
BUTT(3) flat-fish, perh. because eaten on holy days]
halide n. Chem. 1 a binary compound of a halogen with another group
or element. 2 any organic compound containing a halogen.
halieutic adj. formal of or concerning fishing. [L halieuticus f. Gk
halieutikos f. halieutes fisherman]
haliotis n. any edible gastropod mollusc of the genus Haliotis with an
ear-shaped shell lined with mother-of-pearl. [Gk hals hali- sea
+ ous ot- ear]
halite n. rock-salt. [mod.L halites f. Gk hals salt]
halitosis n. = bad breath. [mod.L f. L halitus breath]
hall n. 1 a a space or passage into which the front entrance of a
house etc. opens. b US a corridor or passage in a building. 2
a a large room or building for meetings, meals, concerts, etc.
b (in pl.) music-halls. 3 a large country house, esp. with a
landed estate. 4 (in full hall of residence) a university
residence for students. 5 a (in a college etc.) a common
dining-room. b dinner in this. 6 the building of a guild
(Fishmongers' Hall). 7 a a large public room in a palace etc.
b the principal living-room of a medieval house. ЬHall of Fame
US a building with memorials of celebrated people. hall porter
Brit. a porter who carries baggage etc. in a hotel. hall-stand
a stand in the hall of a house, with a mirror, pegs, etc. [OE =
hall f. Gmc, rel. to HELL]
hallal var. of HALAL.
var. of ALLELUIA.
halliard var. of HALYARD.
hallmark n. & v. --n. 1 a mark used at Goldsmiths' Hall (and by the UK
assay offices) for marking the standard of gold, silver, and
platinum. 2 any distinctive feature esp. of excellence.
--v.tr. 1 stamp with a hallmark. 2 designate as excellent.
hallo var. of HELLO.
halloo int., n., & v. --int. 1 inciting dogs to the chase. 2 calling
attention. 3 expressing surprise. --n. the cry 'halloo'. --v.
(halloos, hallooed) 1 intr. cry 'halloo', esp. to dogs. 2 intr.
shout to attract attention. 3 tr. urge on (dogs etc.) with
shouts. [perh. f. hallow pursue with shouts f. OF halloer
hallow v. & n. --v.tr. 1 make holy, consecrate. 2 honour as holy.
--n. archaic a saint or holy person. ЬAll Hallows All Saints'
Day, 1 Nov. [OE halgian, halga f. Gmc]
n. the eve of All Saints' Day, 31 Oct. [HALLOW + EVEN(2)]
Hallstatt adj. of or relating to the early Iron Age in Europe as attested
by archaeological finds at Hallstatt in Upper Austria.
halluces pl. of HALLUX.
v. 1 tr. produce illusions in the mind of (a person). 2 intr.
experience hallucinations. ЬЬhallucinant adj. & n.
hallucinator n. [L (h)allucinari wander in mind f. Gk alusso be
n. the apparent or alleged perception of an object not actually
present. ЬЬhallucinatory adj. [L hallucinatio (as
n. a drug causing hallucinations. ЬЬhallucinogenic adj.
hallux n. (pl. halluces) 1 the big toe. 2 the innermost digit of the
hind foot of vertebrates. [mod.L f. L allex]
hallway n. an entrance-hall or corridor.
halm var. of HAULM.
halma n. a game played by two or four persons on a board of 256
squares, with men advancing from one corner to the opposite
corner by being moved over other men into vacant squares. [Gk,
halo n. & v. --n. (pl. -oes) 1 a disc or circle of light shown
surrounding the head of a sacred person. 2 the glory associated
with an idealized person etc. 3 a circle of white or coloured
light round a luminous body, esp. the sun or moon. 4 a circle
or ring. --v.tr. (-oes, -oed) surround with a halo. [med.L f.
L f. Gk halos threshing-floor, disc of the sun or moon]
halogen n. Chem. any of the group of non-metallic elements: fluorine,
chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine, which form halides
(e.g. sodium chloride) by simple union with a metal.
ЬЬhalogenic adj. [Gk hals halos salt]
n. the introduction of a halogen atom into a molecule.
halon n. Chem. any of various gaseous compounds of carbon, bromine,
and other halogens, used to extinguish fires. [as HALOGEN +
halt(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a stop (usu. temporary); an interruption of
progress (come to a halt). 2 a temporary stoppage on a march or
journey. 3 Brit. a minor stopping-place on a local railway
line, usu. without permanent buildings. --v.intr. & tr. stop;
come or bring to a halt. Ьcall a halt (to) decide to stop.
[orig. in phr. make halt f. G Halt machen f. halten hold,
halt(2) v. & adj. --v.intr. 1 (esp. as halting adj.) lack smooth
progress. 2 hesitate (halt between two opinions). 3 walk
hesitatingly. 4 archaic be lame. --adj. archaic lame or
crippled. ЬЬhaltingly adv. [OE halt, healt, healtian f. Gmc]
halter n. & v. --n. 1 a rope or strap with a noose or headstall for
horses or cattle. 2 a a strap round the back of a woman's neck
holding her dress-top and leaving her shoulders and back bare.
b a dress-top held by this. 3 a a rope with a noose for hanging
a person. b death by hanging. --v.tr. 1 put a halter on (a
horse etc.). 2 hang (a person) with a halter. Ьhalter-break
accustom (a horse) to a halter. [OE h‘lftre: cf. HELVE]
halteres n.pl. the balancing-organs of dipterous insects. [Gk, =
weights used to aid leaping f. hallomai to leap]
halva n. (also halvah) a sweet confection of sesame flour and honey.
[Yiddish f. Turk. helva f. Arab. halwa]
halve v.tr. 1 divide into two halves or parts. 2 reduce by half. 3
share equally (with another person etc.). 4 Golf use the same
number of strokes as one's opponent in (a hole or match). 5 fit
(crossing timbers) together by cutting out half the thickness of
each. [ME halfen f. HALF]
halves pl. of HALF.
halyard n. (also halliard, haulyard) Naut. a rope or tackle for
raising or lowering a sail or yard etc. [ME halier f. HALE(2)
+ -IER, assoc. with YARD(1)]
ham n. & v. --n. 1 a the upper part of a pig's leg salted and
dried or smoked for food. b the meat from this. 2 the back of
the thigh; the thigh and buttock. 3 sl. (often attrib.) an
inexpert or unsubtle actor or piece of acting. 4 (in full radio
ham) colloq. the operator of an amateur radio station.
--v.intr. & (often foll. by up) tr. (hammed, hamming) sl.
overact; act or treat emotionally or sentimentally. [OE ham,
hom f. a Gmc root meaning 'be crooked']
hamadryad n. 1 (in Greek and Roman mythology) a nymph who lives in a tree
and dies when it dies. 2 the king cobra, Naja bungarus. [ME f.
L hamadryas f. Gk hamadruas f. hama with + drus tree]
hamadryas n. a large Arabian baboon, Papio hamadryas, with a silvery-grey
cape of hair over the shoulders, held sacred in ancient Egypt.
hamamelis n. any shrub of the genus Hamamelis, e.g. wych-hazel. [mod.L
f. Gk hamamelis medlar]
hamba int. S.Afr. be off; go away. [Nguni -hambe go]
hamburger n. a cake of minced beef usu. fried or grilled and eaten in a
soft bread roll. [G, = of Hamburg in Germany]
hames n.pl. two curved pieces of iron or wood forming the collar or
part of the collar of a draught-horse, to which the traces are
attached. [ME f. MDu. hame]
adj. colloq. clumsy, heavy-handed, bungling. ЬЬham-fistedly
adv. ham-fistedness n.
adj. colloq. = HAM-FISTED. ЬЬham-handedly adv.
Hamitic n. & adj. --n. a group of African languages including ancient
Egyptian and Berber. --adj. 1 of or relating to this group of
languages. 2 of or relating to the Hamites, a group of peoples
in Egypt and N. Africa, by tradition descended from Noah's son
Ham (Gen. 10:6 ff.).
hamlet n. a small village, esp. one without a church. [ME f. AF
hamelet(t)e, OF hamelet dimin. of hamel dimin. of ham f. MLG
hammer n. & v. --n. 1 a a tool with a heavy metal head at right
angles to the handle, used for breaking, driving nails, etc. b
a machine with a metal block serving the same purpose. c a
similar contrivance, as for exploding the charge in a gun,
striking the strings of a piano, etc. 2 an auctioneer's mallet,
indicating by a rap that an article is sold. 3 a a metal ball
of about 7 kg, attached to a wire for throwing in an athletic
contest. b the sport of throwing the hammer. 4 a bone of the
middle ear; the malleus. --v. 1 a tr. & intr. hit or beat with
or as with a hammer. b intr. strike loudly; knock violently
(esp. on a door). 2 tr. a drive in (nails) with a hammer. b
fasten or secure by hammering (hammered the lid down). 3 tr.
(often foll. by in) inculcate (ideas, knowledge, etc.)
forcefully or repeatedly. 4 tr. colloq. utterly defeat;
inflict heavy damage on. 5 intr. (foll. by at, away at) work
hard or persistently at. 6 tr. Stock Exch. declare (a person
or a firm) a defaulter. Ьcome under the hammer be sold at an
auction. hammer and sickle the symbols of the industrial worker
and the peasant used as the emblem of the USSR and of
international communism. hammer and tongs colloq. with great
vigour and commotion. hammer out 1 make flat or smooth by
hammering. 2 work out the details of (a plan, agreement, etc.)
laboriously. 3 play (a tune, esp. on the piano) loudly or
clumsily. hammer-toe a deformity in which the toe is bent
permanently downwards. ЬЬhammering n. (esp. in sense 4 of v.).
hammerless adj. [OE hamor, hamer]
n. a wooden beam (often carved) projecting from a wall to
support the principal rafter or the end of an arch.
n. 1 any shark of the family Sphyrinidae, with a flattened head
and eyes in lateral extensions of it. 2 a long-legged African
marsh-bird, Scopus umbretta, with a thick bill and an occipital
n. Wrestling a hold in which the arm is twisted and bent behind
hammock n. a bed of canvas or rope network, suspended by cords at the
ends, used esp. on board ship. [earlier hamaca f. Sp., of Carib
hammy adj. (hammier, hammiest) 1 of or like ham. 2 colloq. (of an
actor or acting) over-theatrical.
hamper(1) n. 1 a large basket usu. with a hinged lid and containing food
(picnic hamper). 2 Brit. a selection of food, drink, etc., for
an occasion. [ME f. obs. hanaper, AF f. OF hanapier case for a
goblet f. hanap goblet]
hamper(2) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 prevent the free movement or activity of. 2
impede, hinder. --n. Naut. necessary but cumbersome equipment
on a ship. [ME: orig. unkn.]
hamsin var. of KHAMSIN.
hamster n. any of various rodents of the subfamily Cricetinae, esp.
Cricetus cricetus, having a short tail and large cheek pouches
for storing food, kept as a pet or laboratory animal. [G f. OHG
hamstring n. & v. Anat. --n. 1 each of five tendons at the back of the
knee in humans. 2 the great tendon at the back of the hock in
quadrupeds. --v.tr. (past and past part. hamstrung or
hamstringed) 1 cripple by cutting the hamstrings of (a person or
animal). 2 prevent the activity or efficiency of (a person or
hamulus n. (pl. hamuli) Anat., Zool., & Bot. a hooklike process. [L,
dimin. of hamus hook]
hand n. & v. --n. 1 a the end part of the human arm beyond the
wrist, including the fingers and thumb. b in other primates,
the end part of a forelimb, also used as a foot. 2 a (often in
pl.) control, management, custody, disposal (is in good hands).
b agency or influence (suffered at their hands). c a share in
an action; active support. 3 a thing compared with a hand or
its functions, esp. the pointer of a clock or watch. 4 the
right or left side or direction relative to a person or thing.
5 a a skill, esp. in something practical (a hand for making
pastry). b a person skilful in some respect. 6 a person who
does or makes something, esp. distinctively (a picture by the
same hand). 7 an individual's writing or the style of this; a
signature (a legible hand; in one's own hand; witness the hand
of ...). 8 a person etc. as the source of information etc. (at
first hand). 9 a pledge of marriage. 10 a person as a source
of manual labour esp. in a factory, on a farm, or on board ship.
11 a the playing-cards dealt to a player. b the player holding
these. c a round of play. 12 colloq. applause (got a big
hand). 13 the unit of measure of a horse's height, equal to 4
inches (10.16 cm). 14 a forehock of pork. 15 a bunch of
bananas. 16 (attrib.) a operated or held in the hand
(hand-drill; hand-luggage). b done by hand and not by machine
(hand-knitted). --v.tr. 1 (foll. by in, to, over, etc.)
deliver; transfer by hand or otherwise. 2 convey verbally
(handed me a lot of abuse). 3 colloq. give away too readily
(handed them the advantage). Ьall hands 1 the entire crew of a
ship. 2 the entire workforce. at hand 1 close by. 2 about to
happen. by hand 1 by a person and not a machine. 2 delivered
privately and not by the public post. from hand to mouth
satisfying only one's immediate needs (also attrib.: a
hand-to-mouth existence). get (or have or keep) one's hand in
become (or be or remain) practised in something. give (or lend)
a hand assist in an action or enterprise. hand and foot
completely; satisfying all demands (waited on them hand and
foot). hand cream an emollient for the hands. hand down 1 pass
the ownership or use of to another. 2 a transmit (a decision)
from a higher court etc. b US express (an opinion or verdict).
hand-grenade see GRENADE. hand in glove in collusion or
association. hand in hand in close association. hand it to
colloq. acknowledge the merit of (a person). hand-me-down an
article of clothing etc. passed on from another person. hand
off Rugby Football push off (a tackling opponent) with the hand.
hand on pass (a thing) to the next in a series or succession.
hand out 1 serve, distribute. 2 award, allocate (the judges
handed out stiff sentences). hand-out 1 something given free to
a needy person. 2 a statement given to the press etc. hand
over deliver; surrender possession of. hand-over n. the act or
an instance of handing over. hand-over-fist colloq. with rapid
progress. hand-pick choose carefully or personally.
hand-picked carefully or personally chosen. hand round
distribute. hands down (esp. of winning) with no difficulty.
hands off 1 a warning not to touch or interfere with something.
2 Computing etc. not requiring manual use of controls. hands on
Computing of or requiring personal operation at a keyboard.
hands up! an instruction to raise one's hands in surrender or
to signify assent or participation. hand-to-hand (of fighting)
at close quarters. have (or take) a hand in share or take part
in. have one's hands full be fully occupied. have one's hands
tied colloq. be unable to act. hold one's hand = stay one's
hand (see HAND). in hand 1 receiving attention. 2 in reserve;
at one's disposal. 3 under one's control. lay (or put) one's
hands on see LAY(1). off one's hands no longer one's
responsibility. on every hand (or all hands) to or from all
directions. on hand available. on one's hands resting on one
as a responsibility. on the one (or the other) hand from one
(or another) point of view. out of hand 1 out of control. 2
peremptorily (refused out of hand). put (or set) one's hand to
start work on; engage in. stay one's hand archaic or literary
refrain from action. to hand 1 within easy reach. 2 (of a
letter) received. turn one's hand to undertake (as a new
activity). ЬЬhanded adj. handless adj. [OE hand, hond]
handbag n. & v. --n. a small bag for a purse etc., carried esp. by a
woman. --v.tr. (of a woman politician) treat (a person, idea,
etc.) ruthlessly or insensitively.
handball n. 1 a game with a ball thrown by hand among players or against
a wall. 2 Football intentional touching of the ball with the
hand or arm by a player other than the goalkeeper in the goal
area, constituting a foul.
handbell n. a small bell, usu. tuned to a particular note and rung by
hand, esp. one of a set giving a range of notes.
handbill n. a printed notice distributed by hand.
handbook n. a short manual or guidebook.
handbrake n. a brake operated by hand.
h. & c. abbr. hot and cold (water).
handcart n. a small cart pushed or drawn by hand.
handclap n. a clapping of the hands.
handcraft n. & v. --n. = HANDICRAFT. --v.tr. make by handicraft.
handcuff n. & v. --n. (in pl.) a pair of lockable linked metal rings for
securing a prisoner's wrists. --v.tr. put handcuffs on.
-handed adj. (in comb.) 1 for or involving a specified number of hands
(in various senses) (two-handed). 2 using chiefly the hand
specified (left-handed). ЬЬ-handedly adv. -handedness n. (both
in sense 2).
handful n. (pl. -fuls) 1 a quantity that fills the hand. 2 a small
number or amount. 3 colloq. a troublesome person or task.
handglass n. 1 a magnifying glass held in the hand. 2 a small mirror
with a handle.
handgrip n. 1 a grasp with the hand. 2 a handle designed for easy
handgun n. a small firearm held in and fired with one hand.
handhold n. something for the hands to grip on (in climbing, sailing,
handicap n. & v. --n. 1 a a disadvantage imposed on a superior
competitor in order to make the chances more equal. b a race or
contest in which this is imposed. 2 the number of strokes by
which a golfer normally exceeds par for the course. 3 a thing
that makes progress or success difficult. 4 a physical or
mental disability. --v.tr. (handicapped, handicapping) 1
impose a handicap on. 2 place (a person) at a disadvantage.
ЬЬhandicapper n. [prob. from the phrase hand i' (= in) cap
describing a kind of sporting lottery]
adj. suffering from a physical or mental disability.
n. work that requires both manual and artistic skill. [ME,
alt. of earlier HANDCRAFT after HANDIWORK]
handiwork n. work done or a thing made by hand, or by a particular
person. [OE handgeweorc]
n. (pl. handkerchiefs or -chieves) a square of cotton, linen,
silk, etc., usu. carried in the pocket for wiping one's nose,
handle n. & v. --n. 1 the part by which a thing is held, carried, or
controlled. 2 a fact that may be taken advantage of (gave a
handle to his critics). 3 colloq. a personal title. 4 the feel
of goods, esp. textiles, when handled. --v.tr. 1 touch, feel,
operate, or move with the hands. 2 manage or deal with; treat
in a particular or correct way (knows how to handle people;
unable to handle the situation). 3 deal in (goods). 4 discuss
or write about (a subject). Ьget a handle on colloq.
understand the basis of or reason for a situation, circumstance,
etc. ЬЬhandleable adj. handleability n. handled adj. (also in
comb.). [OE handle, handlian (as HAND)]
handlebar n. (often in pl.) the steering bar of a bicycle etc., with a
handgrip at each end. Ьhandlebar moustache a thick moustache
with curved ends.
handler n. 1 a person who handles or deals in certain commodities. 2 a
person who trains and looks after an animal (esp. a police dog).
handlist n. a short list of essential reading, reference books, etc.
handmade adj. made by hand and not by machine, esp. as designating
handmaid n. (also handmaiden) archaic a female servant or helper.
handrail n. a narrow rail for holding as a support on stairs etc.
handsaw n. a saw worked by one hand.
handsel n. & v. (also hansel) --n. 1 a gift at the beginning of the
new year, or on coming into new circumstances. 2 = EARNEST(2)
1. 3 a foretaste. --v.tr. (handselled, handselling; US
handseled, handseling) 1 give a handsel to. 2 inaugurate. 3 be
the first to try. [ME, corresp. to OE handselen giving into a
person's hands, ON handsal giving of the hand (esp. in promise),
formed as HAND + OE sellan SELL]
handset n. a telephone mouthpiece and earpiece forming one unit.
handshake n. the shaking of a person's hand with one's own as a greeting
handsome adj. (handsomer, handsomest) 1 (of a person) good-looking. 2
(of a building etc.) imposing, attractive. 3 a generous,
liberal (a handsome present; handsome treatment). b (of a
price, fortune, etc., as assets gained) considerable.
ЬЬhandsomeness n. [ME, = easily handled, f. HAND + -SOME(1)]
handspike n. a wooden rod shod with iron, used on board ship and by
n. a somersault in which one lands first on the hands and then
on the feet.
handstand n. balancing on one's hands with the feet in the air or against
handwork n. work done with the hands, esp. as opposed to machinery.
n. 1 writing with a pen, pencil, etc. 2 a person's particular
style of writing. ЬЬhandwritten adj.
handy adj. (handier, handiest) 1 convenient to handle or use; useful.
2 ready to hand; placed or occurring conveniently. 3 clever
with the hands. ЬЬhandily adv. handiness n.
handyman n. (pl. -men) a person able or employed to do occasional
domestic repairs and minor renovations.
hang v. & n. --v. (past and past part. hung except in sense 7) 1
tr. a secure or cause to be supported from above, esp. with the
lower part free. b (foll. by up, on, on to, etc.) attach
loosely by suspending from the top. 2 tr. set up (a door, gate,
etc.) on its hinges so that it moves freely. 3 tr. place (a
picture) on a wall or in an exhibition. 4 tr. attach
(wallpaper) in vertical strips to a wall. 5 tr. (foll. by on)
colloq. attach the blame for (a thing) to (a person) (you can't
hang that on me). 6 tr. (foll. by with) decorate by hanging
pictures or decorations etc. (a hall hung with tapestries). 7
tr. & intr. (past and past part. hanged) a suspend or be
suspended by the neck with a noosed rope until dead, esp. as a
form of capital punishment. b as a mild oath (hang the expense;
let everything go hang). 8 tr. let droop (hang one's head). 9
tr. suspend (meat or game) from a hook and leave it until dry or
tender or high. 10 intr. be or remain hung (in various senses).
11 intr. remain static in the air. 12 intr. (often foll. by
over) be present or imminent, esp. oppressively or threateningly
(a hush hung over the room). 13 intr. (foll. by on) a be
contingent or dependent on (everything hangs on the
discussions). b listen closely to (hangs on their every word).
--n. 1 the way a thing hangs or falls. 2 a downward droop or
bend. Ьget the hang of colloq. understand the technique or
meaning of. hang about (or around) 1 loiter or dally; not move
away. 2 (foll. by with) associate with (a person etc.). hang
back 1 show reluctance to act or move. 2 remain behind. hang
fire be slow in taking action or in progressing. hang heavily
(or heavy) (of time) pass slowly. hang in US colloq. 1
persist, persevere. 2 linger. hang on colloq. 1 continue or
persevere, esp. with difficulty. 2 (often foll. by to) continue
to hold or grasp. 3 (foll. by to) retain; fail to give back. 4
a wait for a short time. b (in telephoning) continue to listen
during a pause in the conversation. hang out 1 hang from a
window, clothes-line, etc. 2 protrude or cause to protrude
downwards. 3 (foll. by of) lean out of (a window etc.). 4 sl.
reside or be often present. hang-out n. sl. a place one lives
in or frequently visits. hang together 1 make sense. 2 remain
associated. hang up 1 hang from a hook, peg, etc. 2 (often
foll. by on) end a telephone conversation, esp. abruptly (then
he hung up on me). 3 cause delay or difficulty to. 4 (usu. in
passive, foll. by on) sl. be a psychological or emotional
obsession or problem to (is really hung up on her father).
hang-up n. sl. an emotional problem or inhibition. hung-over
colloq. suffering from a hangover. hung parliament a
parliament in which no party has a clear majority. let it all
hang out sl. be uninhibited or relaxed. not care (or give) a
hang colloq. not care at all. [ON hanga (tr.) = OE hon, & f.
OE hangian (intr.), f. Gmc]
hangar n. a building with extensive floor area, for housing aircraft
etc. ЬЬhangarage n. [F, of unkn. orig.]
hangdog adj. having a dejected or guilty appearance; shamefaced.
hanger(1) n. 1 a person or thing that hangs. 2 (in full coat-hanger) a
shaped piece of wood or plastic etc. from which clothes may be
hung. Ьhanger-on (pl. hangers-on) a follower or dependant,
esp. an unwelcome one.
hanger(2) n. Brit. a wood on the side of a steep hill. [OE hangra f.
n. a frame with a fabric aerofoil stretched over it, from which
the operator is suspended and controls flight by body movement.
ЬЬhang-glide v.intr. hang-gliding n.
hanging n. & adj. --n. 1 a the practice or an act of executing by
hanging a person. b (attrib.) meriting or causing this (a
hanging offence). 2 (usu. in pl.) draperies hung on a wall etc.
--adj. that hangs or is hung; suspended. Ьhanging gardens
gardens laid out on a steep slope. hanging valley a valley,
usu. tributary, above the level of the valleys or plains it
hangman n. (pl. -men) 1 an executioner who hangs condemned persons. 2
a word-game for two players, in which the tally of failed
guesses is kept by drawing a representation of a gallows.
hangnail n. = AGNAIL. [alt. of AGNAIL, infl. by HANG and taking nail as
= NAIL(1) 2]
hangover n. 1 a severe headache or other after-effects caused by
drinking an excess of alcohol. 2 a survival from the past.
hank n. 1 a coil or skein of wool or thread etc. 2 any of several
measures of length of cloth or yarn, e.g. 840 yds. for cotton
yarn and 560 yds. for worsted. 3 Naut. a ring of rope, iron,
etc., for securing the staysails to the stays. [ME f. ON h”nk:
cf. Sw. hank string, Da. hank handle]
hanker v.intr. (foll. by for, after, or to + infin.) long for; crave.
ЬЬhankerer n. hankering n. [obs. hank, prob. rel. to HANG]
hanky n. (also hankie) (pl. -ies) colloq. a handkerchief. [abbr.]
n. sl. 1 naughtiness, esp. sexual misbehaviour. 2 dishonest
dealing; trickery. [orig. unkn.]
adj. of or relating to the British sovereigns from George I to
Victoria (1714-1901). [Hanover in Germany, whose Elector became
George I in 1714]
Hansa n. (also Hanse) 1 a a medieval guild of merchants. b the
entrance fee to a guild. 2 (also Hanseatic League) a medieval
political and commercial league of Germanic towns. ЬЬHanseatic
adj. [MHG hanse, OHG, Goth. hansa company]
Hansard n. the official verbatim record of debates in the British
Parliament. [T. C. Hansard, Engl. printer d. 1833, who first
hansel var. of HANDSEL.
n. leprosy. [G. H. A. Hansen, Norw. physician d. 1912]
hansom n. (in full hansom cab) hist. a two-wheeled horse-drawn cab
accommodating two inside, with the driver seated behind. [J. A.
Hansom, Engl. architect d. 1822, who designed it]
Hants abbr. Hampshire. [OE Hantescire]
Hanukkah n. (also Chanukkah) the Jewish festival of lights,
commemorating the purification of the Temple in 165 BC. [Heb.
hanuman n. 1 an Indian langur venerated by Hindus. 2 (Hanuman) (in
Hindu mythology) the monkey-god, a loyal helper of Rama.
hap n. & v. archaic --n. 1 chance, luck. 2 a chance occurrence.
--v.intr. (happed, happing) 1 come about by chance. 2 (foll.
by to + infin.) happen to. [ME f. ON happ]
n. (pl. hapax legomena) a word of which only one instance of
use is recorded. [Gk, = a thing said once]
ha'penny var. of HALFPENNY.
haphazard adj. & adv. --adj. done etc. by chance; random. --adv. at
random. ЬЬhaphazardly adv. haphazardness n. [HAP + HAZARD]
hapless adj. unlucky. ЬЬhaplessly adv. haplessness n. [HAP + -LESS]
n. the accidental omission of letters when these are repeated
in a word (e.g. philogy for philology). [Gk haplous single +
haploid adj. & n. --adj. Biol. (of an organism or cell) with a single
set of chromosomes. --n. a haploid organism or cell. [G f. Gk
haplous single + eidos form]
haplology n. the omission of a sound when this is repeated within a word
(e.g. February pronounced). [Gk haplous + -LOGY]
ha'p'orth Brit. var. of HALFPENNYWORTH.
happen v. & adv. --v.intr. 1 occur (by chance or otherwise). 2
(foll. by to + infin.) have the (good or bad) fortune to (I
happened to meet her). 3 (foll. by to) be the (esp. unwelcome)
fate or experience of (what happened to you?; I hope nothing
happens to them). 4 (foll. by on) encounter or discover by
chance. --adv. N.Engl. dial. perhaps, maybe (happen it'll
rain). Ьas it happens in fact; in reality (as it happens, it
turned out well). [ME f. HAP + -EN(1)]
happening n. 1 an event or occurrence. 2 an improvised or spontaneous
theatrical etc. performance.
n. US a thing that happens by chance. [HAPPEN + CIRCUMSTANCE]
happi n. (pl. happis) (also happi-coat) a loose informal Japanese
happy adj. (happier, happiest) 1 feeling or showing pleasure or
contentment. 2 a fortunate; characterized by happiness. b (of
words, behaviour, etc.) apt, pleasing. 3 colloq. slightly
drunk. 4 (in comb.) colloq. inclined to use excessively or at
random (trigger-happy). Ьhappy as a sandboy see SANDBOY. happy
event colloq. the birth of a child. happy families a card-game
the object of which is to acquire four members of the same
'family'. happy-go-lucky cheerfully casual. happy hour esp.
US a period of the day when drinks are sold at reduced prices in
bars, hotels, etc. happy hunting-ground a place where success
or enjoyment is obtained. happy medium a compromise; the
avoidance of extremes. ЬЬhappily adv. happiness n. [ME f.
HAP + -Y(1)]
haptic adj. relating to the sense of touch. [Gk haptikos able to
touch f. hapto fasten]
hara-kiri n. ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword, formerly
practised by Samurai to avoid dishonour. [colloq. Jap. f. hara
belly + kiri cutting]
harangue n. & v. --n. a lengthy and earnest speech. --v.tr. lecture or
make a harangue to. ЬЬharanguer n. [ME f. F f. OF arenge f.
med.L harenga, perh. f. Gmc]
harass disp. v.tr. 1 trouble and annoy continually or repeatedly. 2
make repeated attacks on (an enemy or opponent). ЬЬharasser n.
harassingly adv. harassment n. [F harasser f. OF harer set a
harbinger n. 1 a person or thing that announces or signals the approach
of another. 2 a forerunner. [earlier = 'one who provides
lodging': ME herbergere f. OF f. herberge lodging f. Gmc]
harbour n. & v. (US harbor) --n. 1 a place of shelter for ships. 2 a
shelter; a place of refuge or protection. --v. 1 tr. give
shelter to (esp. a criminal or wanted person). 2 tr. keep in
one's mind, esp. resentfully (harbour a grudge). 3 intr. come
to anchor in a harbour. Ьharbour-master an official in charge
of a harbour. ЬЬharbourless adj. [OE herebeorg perh. f. ON,
rel. to HARBINGER]
n. (US harborage) a shelter or place of shelter, esp. for
hard adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 (of a substance, material, etc.)
firm and solid; unyielding to pressure; not easily cut. 2 a
difficult to understand or explain (a hard problem). b
difficult to accomplish (a hard decision). c (foll. by to +
infin.) not easy to (hard to believe; hard to please). 3
difficult to bear; entailing suffering (a hard life). 4 (of a
person) unfeeling; severely critical. 5 (of a season or the
weather) severe, harsh (a hard winter; a hard frost). 6 harsh
or unpleasant to the senses (a hard voice; hard colours). 7 a
strenuous, enthusiastic, intense (a hard worker; a hard fight).
b severe, uncompromising (a hard blow; a hard bargain; hard
words). c Polit. extreme; most radical (the hard right). 8 a
(of liquor) strongly alcoholic. b (of drugs) potent and
addictive. c (of radiation) highly penetrating. d (of
pornography) highly suggestive and explicit. 9 (of water)
containing mineral salts that make lathering difficult. 10
established; not disputable; reliable (hard facts; hard data).
11 Stock Exch. (of currency, prices, etc.) high; not likely to
fall in value. 12 Phonet. (of a consonant) guttural (as c in
cat, g in go). --adv. 1 strenuously, intensely, copiously;
with one's full effort (try hard; look hard at; is raining hard;
hard-working). 2 with difficulty or effort (hard-earned). 3 so
as to be hard or firm (hard-baked; the jelly set hard). --n.
Brit. 1 a sloping roadway across a foreshore. 2 sl. = hard
labour (got two years hard). Ьbe hard on 1 be difficult for. 2
be severe in one's treatment or criticism of. 3 be unpleasant
to (the senses). be hard put to it (usu. foll. by to + infin.)
find it difficult. go hard with turn out to (a person's)
disadvantage. hard and fast (of a rule or a distinction made)
definite, unalterable, strict. hard at it colloq. busily
working or occupied. hard-boiled 1 (of an egg) boiled until the
white and the yolk are solid. 2 (of a person) tough, shrewd.
hard by near; close by. a hard case 1 colloq. a an intractable
person. b Austral. & NZ an amusing or eccentric person. 2 a
case of hardship. hard cash negotiable coins and banknotes.
hard coal anthracite. hard copy printed material produced by
computer, usu. on paper, suitable for ordinary reading. hard
core 1 an irreducible nucleus. 2 colloq. a the most active or
committed members of a society etc. b a conservative or
reactionary minority. 3 Brit. solid material, esp. rubble,
forming the foundation of a road etc. hard-core adj. blatant,
uncompromising, esp.: 1 (of pornography) explicit, obscene. 2
(of drug addiction) relating to 'hard' drugs, esp. heroin.
hard disk Computing a large-capacity rigid usu. magnetic storage
disk. hard-done-by harshly or unfairly treated. hard error
Computing a permanent error. hard feelings feelings of
resentment. hard hat colloq. 1 protective headgear worn on
building-sites etc. 2 a reactionary person. hard hit badly
affected. hard-hitting aggressively critical. hard labour
heavy manual work as a punishment, esp. in a prison. hard
landing 1 a clumsy or rough landing of an aircraft. 2 an
uncontrolled landing in which a spacecraft is destroyed. hard
line unyielding adherence to a firm policy. hard-liner a person
who adheres rigidly to a policy. hard lines Brit. colloq. =
hard luck. hard luck worse fortune than one deserves.
hard-nosed colloq. realistic, uncompromising. hard nut sl. a
tough, aggressive person. a hard nut to crack colloq. 1 a
difficult problem. 2 a person or thing not easily understood or
influenced. hard of hearing somewhat deaf. hard on (or upon)
close to in pursuit etc. hard-on n. coarse sl. an erection of
the penis. hard pad a form of distemper in dogs etc. hard
palate the front part of the palate. hard-paste denoting a
Chinese or 'true' porcelain made of fusible and infusible
materials (usu. clay and stone) and fired at a high temperature.
hard-pressed 1 closely pursued. 2 burdened with urgent
business. hard rock colloq. rock music with a heavy beat.
hard roe see ROE(1). hard sauce a sauce of butter and sugar,
often with brandy etc. added. hard sell aggressive salesmanship
or advertising. hard shoulder Brit. a hardened strip alongside
a motorway for stopping on in an emergency. hard stuff sl.
strong alcoholic drink, esp. whisky. hard tack a ship's
biscuit. hard up 1 short of money. 2 (foll. by for) at a loss
for; lacking. hard-wearing able to stand much wear. hard wheat
wheat with a hard grain rich in gluten. hard-wired involving or
achieved by permanently connected circuits designed to perform a
specific function. hard-working diligent. put the hard word on
Austral. & NZ sl. ask a favour (esp. sexual or financial) of.
ЬЬhardish adj. hardness n. [OE hard, heard f. Gmc]
hardback adj. & n. --adj. (of a book) bound in stiff covers. --n. a
hardball n. & v. US --n. 1 = BASEBALL. 2 sl. uncompromising methods or
dealings, esp. in politics (play hardball). --v.tr. sl.
pressure or coerce politically.
adj. colloq. tough and cynical.
hardboard n. stiff board made of compressed and treated wood pulp.
harden v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become hard or harder. 2 intr. & tr.
become, or make (one's attitude etc.), uncompromising or less
sympathetic. 3 intr. (of prices etc.) cease to fall or
fluctuate. Ьharden off inure (a plant) to cold by gradual
increase of its exposure. ЬЬhardener n.
hardening n. 1 the process or an instance of becoming hard. 2 (in full
hardening of the arteries) Med. = ARTERIOSCLEROSIS.
adj. practical, realistic; not sentimental. ЬЬhard-headedly
adv. hard-headedness n.
adj. unfeeling, unsympathetic. ЬЬhard-heartedly adv.
hardihood n. boldness, daring.
hardly adv. 1 scarcely; only just (we hardly knew them). 2 only with
difficulty (could hardly speak). 3 harshly.
hardpan n. Geol. a hardened layer of clay occurring in or below the
hardshell adj. 1 having a hard shell. 2 esp. US rigid, orthodox,
hardship n. 1 severe suffering or privation. 2 the circumstance causing
hardtop n. a motor car with a rigid (usu. detachable) roof.
hardware n. 1 tools and household articles of metal etc. 2 heavy
machinery or armaments. 3 the mechanical and electronic
components of a computer etc. (cf. SOFTWARE).
hardwood n. the wood from a deciduous broad-leaved tree as distinguished
from that of conifers.
hardy adj. (hardier, hardiest) 1 robust; capable of enduring
difficult conditions. 2 (of a plant) able to grow in the open
air all the year. Ьhardy annual 1 an annual plant that may be
sown in the open. 2 joc. a subject that comes up at regular
intervals. ЬЬhardily adv. hardiness n. [ME f. OF hardi past
part. of hardir become bold, f. Gmc, rel. to HARD]
hare n. & v. --n. 1 any of various mammals of the family Leporidae,
esp. Lepus europaeus, like a large rabbit, with tawny fur, long
ears, short tail, and hind legs longer than forelegs, inhabiting
fields, hills, etc. 2 (in full electric hare) a dummy hare
propelled by electricity, used in greyhound racing. --v.intr.
run with great speed. Ьhare and hounds a paperchase.
hare-brained rash, wild. hare's-foot (in full hare's-foot
clover) a clover, Trifolium arvense, with soft hair around the
flowers. run with the hare and hunt with the hounds try to
remain on good terms with both sides. start a hare raise a
topic of conversation. [OE hara f. Gmc]
harebell n. 1 a plant, Campanula rotundifolia, with slender stems and
pale-blue bell-shaped flowers. 2 = BLUEBELL 2.
n. 1 a sect devoted to the worship of the Hindu deity Krishna
(an incarnation of Vishnu). 2 (pl. Hare Krishnas) a member of
this sect. [the title of a mantra based on the name Krishna, f.
Skr. O Hari! an epithet of Krishna]
harelip n. a congenital fissure of the upper lip. ЬЬharelipped adj.
harem n. 1 a the women of a Muslim household, living in a separate
part of the house. b their quarters. 2 a group of female
animals sharing a mate. [Arab. haram, harim, orig. =
prohibited, prohibited place, f. harama prohibit]
harewood n. stained sycamore-wood used for making furniture. [G dial.
Ehre f. L acer maple + WOOD]
haricot n. 1 (in full haricot bean) a variety of French bean with small
white seeds. 2 the dried seed of this used as a vegetable. [F]
Harijan n. a member of the class of untouchables in India. [Skr., = a
person dedicated to Vishnu, f. Hari Vishnu, jana person]
hark v.intr. (usu. in imper.) archaic listen attentively. Ьhark
back revert to a topic discussed earlier. [ME herkien f. OE
heorcian (unrecorded): cf. HEARKEN: hark back was orig. a
hunting call to retrace steps]
harken var. of HEARKEN.
harl n. (also harle, herl) fibre of flax or hemp. [MLG herle, harle
fibre of flax or hemp]
harlequin n. & adj. --n. 1 (Harlequin) a a mute character in pantomime,
usu. masked and dressed in a diamond-patterned costume. b hist.
a stock comic character in Italian commedia dell' arte. 2 (in
full harlequin duck) an Icelandic duck, Histrionicus
histrionicus, with variegated plumage. --adj. in varied
colours; variegated. [F f. earlier Herlequin leader of a
legendary troup of demon horsemen]
n. 1 the part of a pantomime featuring Harlequin. 2 a piece of
buffoonery. [F arlequinade (as HARLEQUIN)]
harlot n. archaic a prostitute. ЬЬharlotry n. [ME f. OF harlot,
herlot lad, knave, vagabond]
harm n. & v. --n. hurt, damage. --v.tr. cause harm to. Ьout of
harm's way in safety. [OE hearm, hearmian f. Gmc]
harmattan n. a parching dusty land-wind of the W. African coast occurring
from December to February. [Fanti or Twi haramata]
harmful adj. causing or likely to cause harm. ЬЬharmfully adv.
harmless adj. 1 not able or likely to cause harm. 2 inoffensive.
ЬЬharmlessly adv. harmlessness n.
harmonic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or characterized by harmony; harmonious.
2 Mus. a of or relating to harmony. b (of a tone) produced by
vibration of a string etc. in an exact fraction of its length.
3 Math. of or relating to quantities whose reciprocals are in
arithmetical progression (harmonic progression). --n. 1 Mus.
an overtone accompanying at a fixed interval (and forming a note
with) a fundamental. 2 Physics a component frequency of wave
motion. Ьharmonic motion (in full simple harmonic motion)
oscillatory motion under a retarding force proportional to the
amount of displacement from an equilibrium position. harmonic
progression (or series) Math. a series of quantities whose
reciprocals are in arithmetical progression. ЬЬharmonically
adv. [L harmonicus f. Gk harmonikos (as HARMONY)]
harmonica n. a small rectangular wind instrument with a row of metal
reeds along its length, held against the lips and moved from
side to side to produce different notes by blowing or sucking.
[L, fem. sing. or neut. pl. of harmonicus: see HARMONIC]
adj. 1 sweet-sounding, tuneful. 2 forming a pleasing or
consistent whole; concordant. 3 free from disagreement or
dissent. ЬЬharmoniously adv. harmoniousness n.
harmonist n. a person skilled in musical harmony, a harmonizer.
harmonium n. a keyboard instrument in which the notes are produced by air
driven through metal reeds by bellows operated by the feet. [F
f. L (as HARMONY)]
harmonize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. add notes to (a melody) to produce
harmony. 2 tr. & intr. (often foll. by with) bring into or be
in harmony. 3 intr. make or form a pleasing or consistent
whole. ЬЬharmonization n. [f. F harmoniser (as HARMONY)]
harmony n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a combination of simultaneously sounded
musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions, esp. as
having a pleasing effect. b the study of this. 2 a an apt or
aesthetic arrangement of parts. b the pleasing effect of this.
3 agreement, concord. 4 a collation of parallel narratives,
esp. of the Gospels. Ьin harmony 1 (of singing etc.) producing
chords; not discordant. 2 (often foll. by with) in agreement.
harmony of the spheres see SPHERE. [ME f. OF harmonie f. L
harmonia f. Gk harmonia joining, concord, f. harmos joint]
harness n. & v. --n. 1 the equipment of straps and fittings by which a
horse is fastened to a cart etc. and controlled. 2 a similar
arrangement for fastening a thing to a person's body, for
restraining a young child, etc. --v.tr. 1 a put a harness on
(esp. a horse). b (foll. by to) attach by a harness. 2 make
use of (natural resources) esp. to produce energy. Ьin harness
in the routine of daily work. ЬЬharnesser n. [ME f. OF harneis
military equipment f. ON hernest (unrecorded) f. herr army +
harp n. & v. --n. a large upright roughly triangular musical
instrument consisting of a frame housing a graduated series of
vertical strings, played by plucking with the fingers.
--v.intr. 1 (foll. by on, on about) talk repeatedly and
tediously about. 2 play on a harp. Ьharp-seal a Greenland
seal, Phoca groenlandica, with a harp-shaped dark mark on its
back. ЬЬharper n. harpist n. [OE hearpe f. Gmc]
harpoon n. & v. --n. a barbed spearlike missile with a rope attached,
for catching whales etc. --v.tr. spear with a harpoon.
Ьharpoon-gun a gun for firing a harpoon. ЬЬharpooner n. [F
harpon f. harpe clamp f. L harpa f. Gk harpe sickle]
n. a keyboard instrument with horizontal strings which are
plucked mechanically. ЬЬharpsichordist n. [obs. F harpechorde
f. LL harpa harp, + chorda string, the - s- being unexplained]
harpy n. (pl. -ies) 1 (in Greek and Roman mythology) a monster with
a woman's head and body and bird's wings and claws. 2 a
grasping unscrupulous person. Ьharpy eagle a S. American
crested bird of prey, Harpia harpyja, one of the largest of
eagles. [F harpie or L harpyia f. Gk harpuiai snatchers (cf.
harquebus n. (also arquebus) hist. an early type of portable gun
supported on a tripod or on a forked rest. [F (h)arquebuse ult.
f. MLG hakebusse or MHG hakenbЃhse, f. haken hook + busse gun]
harridan n. a bad-tempered old woman. [17th-c. cant, perhaps f. F
haridelle old horse]
n. a person who harries or lays waste.
n. 1 a a hound used for hunting hares. b (in pl.) a pack of
these with huntsmen. 2 a group of cross-country runners. [HARE
+ -IER, assim. to HARRIER(1)]
n. any bird of prey of the genus Circus, with long wings for
swooping over the ground. [harrower f. harrow harry, rob,
assim. to HARRIER(1)]
n. a kind of tweed woven by hand in Harris in the Outer
harrow n. & v. --n. a heavy frame with iron teeth dragged over
ploughed land to break up clods, remove weeds, cover seed, etc.
--v.tr. 1 draw a harrow over (land). 2 (usu. as harrowing
adj.) distress greatly. ЬЬharrower n. harrowingly adv. [ME f.
harrumph v.intr. US clear the throat or make a similar sound, esp.
harry v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 ravage or despoil. 2 harass, worry. [OE
herian, hergian f. Gmc, rel. to OE here army]
harsh adj. 1 unpleasantly rough or sharp, esp. to the senses. 2
severe, cruel. ЬЬharshen v.tr. & intr. harshly adv. harshness
n. [MLG harsch rough, lit. 'hairy', f. haer HAIR]
harslet var. of HASLET.
hart n. the male of the deer (esp. the red deer) usu. over five
years old. Ьhart's tongue a fern, Phyllitis scolopendrium, with
narrow undivided fronds. [OE heor(o)t f. Gmc]
hartal n. the closing of shops and offices in India as a mark of
protest or sorrow. [Hind. hartal, hattal f. Skr. hatta shop +
n. any large African antelope of the genus Alcelaphus, with
ringed horns bent back at the tips. [Afrik. f. Du. hert HART +
hartshorn n. archaic 1 an ammonious substance got from the horns of a
hart. 2 (in full spirit of hartshorn) an aqueous solution of
ammonia. [OE (as HART, HORN(1))]
adj. & n. colloq. --adj. wild and reckless. --n. such a
person. [rhyming form. on HARE, SCARE]
haruspex n. (pl. haruspices) a Roman religious official who interpreted
omens from the inspection of animals' entrails. ЬЬharuspicy n.
harvest n. & v. --n. 1 a the process of gathering in crops etc. b the
season when this takes place. 2 the season's yield or crop. 3
the product or result of any action. --v.tr. 1 gather as a
harvest, reap. 2 experience (consequences). Ьharvest festival
a thanksgiving festival in church for the harvest. harvest home
the close of harvesting or the festival to mark this. harvest
mite any arachnid larvae of the genus Trombicula, a chigger.
harvest moon the full moon nearest to the autumn equinox (22 or
23 Sept.). harvest mouse a small rodent, Micromys minutus, that
nests in the stalks of growing grain. ЬЬharvestable adj. [OE
h‘rfest f. Gmc]
harvester n. 1 a reaper. 2 a reaping-machine, esp. with sheaf-binding.
n. (pl. -men) any of various arachnids of the family
Opilionidae, with very long thin legs, found in humus and on
has 3rd sing. present of HAVE.
has-been n. colloq. a person or thing that has lost a former importance
hash(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a dish of cooked meat cut into small pieces and
recooked. 2 a a mixture; a jumble. b a mess. 3 re-used or
recycled material. --v.tr. (often foll. by up) 1 make (meat
etc.) into a hash. 2 recycle (old material). Ьmake a hash of
colloq. make a mess of; bungle. settle a person's hash colloq.
deal with and subdue a person. [F hacher f. hache HATCHET]
hash(2) n. colloq. hashish. [abbr.]
hashish n. a resinous product of the top leaves and tender parts of
hemp, smoked or chewed for its narcotic effects. [f. Arab.
hasis dry herb; powdered hemp leaves]
Hasid (pl. Hasidim) a member of any of several mystical Jewish sects
esp. one founded in the 18th c. ЬЬHasidic adj. [Heb. hasЊd
haslet n. (also harslet) pieces of (esp. pig's) offal cooked together
and usu. compressed into a meat loaf. [ME f. OF hastelet dimin.
of haste roast meat, spit, f. OLG, OHG harst roast]
hasn't contr. has not.
hasp n. & v. --n. a hinged metal clasp that fits over a staple and
can be secured by a padlock. --v.tr. fasten with a hasp. [OE
hassle n. & v. colloq. --n. 1 a prolonged trouble or inconvenience.
2 an argument or involved struggle. --v. 1 tr. harass, annoy;
cause trouble to. 2 intr. argue, quarrel. [20th c.: orig.
hassock n. 1 a thick firm cushion for kneeling on, esp. in church. 2 a
tuft of matted grass etc. [OE hassuc]
hast archaic 2nd sing. present of HAVE.
hastate adj. Bot. triangular like the head of a spear. [L hastatus f.
haste n. & v. --n. 1 urgency of movement or action. 2 excessive
hurry. --v.intr. archaic = HASTEN. Ьin haste quickly,
hurriedly. make haste hurry; be quick. [ME f. OF haste, haster
hasten v. 1 intr. (often foll. by to + infin.) make haste; hurry. 2
tr. cause to occur or be ready or be done sooner.
hasty adj. (hastier, hastiest) 1 hurried; acting too quickly or
hurriedly. 2 said, made, or done too quickly or too soon; rash,
unconsidered. 3 quick-tempered. ЬЬhastily adv. hastiness n.
[ME f. OF hasti, hastif (as HASTE, -IVE)]
hat n. & v. --n. 1 a covering for the head, often with a brim and
worn out of doors. 2 colloq. a person's occupation or capacity,
esp. one of several (wearing his managerial hat). --v.tr.
(hatted, hatting) cover or provide with a hat. Ьhat trick 1
Cricket the taking of three wickets by the same bowler with
three successive balls. 2 the scoring of three goals, points,
etc. in other sports. keep it under one's hat colloq. keep it
secret. out of a hat by random selection. pass the hat round
collect contributions of money. take off one's hat to colloq.
acknowledge admiration for. throw one's hat in the ring take up
a challenge. ЬЬhatful n. (pl. -fuls). hatless adj. [OE h‘tt
hatband n. a band of ribbon etc. round a hat above the brim.
hatbox n. a box to hold a hat, esp. for travelling.
hatch(1) n. 1 an opening between two rooms, e.g. between a kitchen and a
dining-room for serving food. 2 an opening or door in an
aircraft, spacecraft, etc. 3 Naut. a = HATCHWAY. b a trapdoor
or cover for this (often in pl.: batten the hatches). 4 a
floodgate. Ьdown the hatch sl. (as a drinking toast) drink up,
cheers! under hatches 1 below deck. 2 a down out of sight. b
brought low; dead. [OE h‘cc f. Gmc]
hatch(2) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a (often foll. by out) (of a young bird
or fish etc.) emerge from the egg. b (of an egg) produce a
young animal. 2 tr. incubate (an egg). 3 tr. (also foll. by
up) devise (a plot etc.). --n. 1 the act or an instance of
hatching. 2 a brood hatched. [ME hacche, of unkn. orig.]
hatch(3) v.tr. mark (a surface, e.g. a map or drawing) with close
parallel lines. [ME f. F hacher f. hache HATCHET]
hatchback n. a car with a sloping back hinged at the top to form a door.
hatchery n. (pl. -ies) a place for hatching eggs, esp. of fish or
hatchet n. a light short-handled axe. Ьhatchet-faced colloq.
sharp-featured or grim-looking. hatchet job colloq. a fierce
verbal attack on a person, esp. in print. hatchet man colloq.
1 a hired killer. 2 a person employed to carry out a hatchet
job. [ME f. OF hachette dimin. of hache axe f. med.L hapia f.
hatching n. Art & Archit. close parallel lines forming shading esp. on
a map or an architectural drawing.
hatchling n. a bird or fish that has just hatched.
hatchment n. a large usu. diamond-shaped tablet with a deceased person's
armorial bearings, affixed to that person's house, tomb, etc.
[contr. of ACHIEVEMENT]
hatchway n. an opening in a ship's deck for lowering cargo into the
hate v. & n. --v.tr. 1 dislike intensely; feel hatred towards. 2
colloq. a dislike. b (foll. by verbal noun or to + infin.) be
reluctant (to do something) (I hate to disturb you). --n. 1
hatred. 2 colloq. a hated person or thing. ЬЬhatable adj.
(also hateable). hater n. [OE hatian f. Gmc]
hateful adj. arousing hatred. ЬЬhatefully adv. hatefulness n.
hath archaic 3rd sing. present of HAVE.
n. a system of physical exercises and breathing control used in
yoga. [Skr. hatha force: see YOGA]
hatpin n. a long pin, often decorative, for securing a hat to the
hatred n. intense dislike or ill will. [ME f. HATE + -red f. OE
hatstand n. a stand with hooks on which to hang hats.
hatter n. 1 a maker or seller of hats. 2 Austral. & NZ a person (esp.
a miner or bushman) who lives alone.
hauberk n. hist. a coat of mail. [ME f. OF hau(s)berc f. Frank., =
neck protection, f. hals neck + berg- f. beorg protection]
haughty adj. (haughtier, haughtiest) arrogantly self-admiring and
disdainful. ЬЬhaughtily adv. haughtiness n. [extension of
haught (adj.), earlier haut f. OF haut f. L altus high]
haul v. & n. --v. 1 tr. pull or drag forcibly. 2 tr. transport by
lorry, cart, etc. 3 intr. turn a ship's course. 4 tr. colloq.
(usu. foll. by up) bring for reprimand or trial. --n. 1 the
act or an instance of hauling. 2 an amount gained or acquired.
3 a distance to be traversed (a short haul). Ьhaul over the
coals see COAL. [var. of HALE(2)]
haulage n. 1 the commercial transport of goods. 2 a charge for this.
hauler n. 1 a person or thing that hauls. 2 a miner who takes coal
from the workface to the bottom of the shaft. 3 a person or
firm engaged in the transport of goods.
haulier n. Brit. = HAULER.
haulm n. (also halm) 1 a stalk or stem. 2 the stalks or stems
collectively of peas, beans, potatoes, etc., without the pods
etc. [OE h(e)alm f. Gmc]
haulyard var. of HALYARD.
haunch n. 1 the fleshy part of the buttock with the thigh, esp. in
animals. 2 the leg and loin of a deer etc. as food. 3 the side
of an arch between the crown and the pier. [ME f. OF hanche, of
Gmc orig.: cf. LG hanke hind leg of a horse]
haunt v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (of a ghost) visit (a place) regularly,
usu. reputedly giving signs of its presence. 2 tr. (of a person
or animal) frequent or be persistently in (a place). 3 tr. (of
a memory etc.) be persistently in the mind of. 4 intr. (foll.
by with, in) stay habitually. --n. 1 (often in pl.) a place
frequented by a person. 2 a place frequented by animals, esp.
for food and drink. ЬЬhaunter n. [ME f. OF hanter f. Gmc]
Hausa n. & adj. --n. (pl. same or Hausas) 1 a a people of W. Africa
and the Sudan. b a member of this people. 2 the Hamitic
language of this people, widely used in W. Africa. --adj. of or
relating to this people or language. [native name]
hausfrau n. a German housewife. [G f. Haus house + Frau woman]
hautboy archaic var. of OBOE.
n. high fashion; the leading fashion houses or their products.
[F, lit. = high dressmaking]
n. cookery of a high standard, esp. of the French traditional
school. [F, lit. = high cookery]
n. the art or practice of advanced classical dressage. [F, =
hauteur n. haughtiness of manner. [F f. haut high]
n. fashionable society. [F, lit. = high world]
Havana n. a cigar made at Havana or elsewhere in Cuba.
have v. & n. --v. (3rd sing. present has; past and past part. had)
--v.tr. 1 hold in possession as one's property or at one's
disposal; be provided with (has a car; had no time to read; has
nothing to wear). 2 hold in a certain relationship (has a
sister; had no equals). 3 contain as a part or quality (house
has two floors; has green eyes). 4 a undergo, experience,
enjoy, suffer (had a good time; had a shock; has a headache). b
be subjected to a specified state (had my car stolen; the book
has a page missing). c cause, instruct, or invite (a person or
thing) to be in a particular state or take a particular action
(had him dismissed; had us worried; had my hair cut; had a copy
made; had them to stay). 5 a engage in (an activity) (had an
argument; had sex). b hold (a meeting, party, etc.). 6 eat or
drink (had a beer). 7 (usu. in neg.) accept or tolerate; permit
to (I won't have it; will not have you say such things). 8 a
let (a feeling etc.) be present (have no doubt; has a lot of
sympathy for me; have nothing against them). b show or feel
(mercy, pity, etc.) towards another person (have pity on him;
have mercy!). c (foll. by to + infin.) show by action that one
is influenced by (a feeling, quality, etc.) (have the goodness
to leave now). 9 a give birth to (offspring). b conceive
mentally (an idea etc.). 10 receive, obtain (had a letter from
him; not a ticket to be had). 11 be burdened with or committed
to (has a job to do; have my garden to attend to). 12 a have
obtained (a qualification) (has six O levels). b know (a
language) (has no Latin). 13 sl. a get the better of (I had
him there). b (usu. in passive) Brit. cheat, deceive (you were
had). 14 coarse sl. have sexual intercourse with. --v.aux.
(with past part. or ellipt., to form the perfect, pluperfect,
and future perfect tenses, and the conditional mood) (have
worked; had seen; will have been; had I known, I would have
gone; have you met her? yes, I have). --n. 1 (usu. in pl.)
colloq. a person who has wealth or resources. 2 sl. a swindle.
Ьhad best see BEST. had better would find it prudent to. had
rather see RATHER. have a care see CARE. have done, have done
with see DONE. have an eye for, have eyes for, have an eye to
see EYE. have a good mind to see MIND. have got to colloq. =
have to. have had it colloq. 1 have missed one's chance. 2
have passed one's prime. 3 have been killed, defeated, etc.
have it 1 (foll. by that + clause) express the view that. 2 win
a decision in a vote etc. 3 colloq. have found the answer etc.
have it away (or off) Brit. coarse sl. have sexual
intercourse. have it both ways see BOTH. have it in for
colloq. be hostile or ill-disposed towards. have it out (often
foll. by with) colloq. attempt to settle a dispute by
discussion or argument. have it one's own way see WAY.
have-not (usu. in pl.) colloq. a person lacking wealth or
resources. have nothing to do with see DO(1). have on 1 be
wearing (clothes). 2 be committed to (an engagement). 3
colloq. tease, play a trick on. have out get (a tooth etc.)
extracted (had her tonsils out). have something (or nothing) on
a person 1 know something (or nothing) discreditable or
incriminating about a person. 2 have an (or no) advantage or
superiority over a person. have to be obliged to, must. have
to do with see DO(1). have up Brit. colloq. bring (a person)
before a court of justice, interviewer, etc. [OE habban f. Gmc,
prob. rel. to HEAVE]
haven n. 1 a harbour or port. 2 a place of refuge. [OE h‘fen f. ON
haven't contr. have not.
haver v. & n. --v.intr. Brit. 1 talk foolishly; babble. 2
vacillate, hesitate. --n. (usu. in pl.) Sc. foolish talk;
nonsense. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
haversack n. a stout bag for provisions etc., carried on the back or over
the shoulder. [F havresac f. G Habersack f. Haber oats + Sack
haversine n. (also haversin) Math. half of a versed sine. [contr.]
havildar n. an Indian NCO corresponding to an army sergeant. [Hind.
havildar f. Pers. hawaldar trust-holder]
havoc n. & v. --n. widespread destruction; great confusion or
disorder. --v.tr. (havocked, havocking) devastate. Ьplay
havoc with colloq. cause great confusion or difficulty to. [ME
f. AF havok f. OF havo(t), of unkn. orig.]
haw(1) n. the hawthorn or its fruit. [OE haga f. Gmc, rel. to HEDGE]
haw(2) n. the nictitating membrane of a horse, dog, etc., esp. when
inflamed. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
haw(3) int. & v. --int. expressing hesitation. --v.intr. (in hum and
haw: see HUM(1)) [imit.: cf. HA]
Hawaiian n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native of Hawaii, an island or
island-group in the N. Pacific. b a person of Hawaiian
descent. 2 the Malayo-Polynesian language of Hawaii. --adj. of
or relating to Hawaii or its people or language.
hawfinch n. any large stout finch of the genus Coccothraustes, with a
thick beak for cracking seeds. [HAW(1) + FINCH]
hawk(1) n. & v. --n. 1 any of various diurnal birds of prey of the
family Accipitridae, having a characteristic curved beak,
rounded short wings, and a long tail. 2 Polit. a person who
advocates an aggressive or warlike policy, esp. in foreign
affairs. 3 a rapacious person. --v. 1 intr. hunt game with a
hawk. 2 intr. (often foll. by at) & tr. attack, as a hawk does.
3 intr. (of a bird) hunt on the wing for food. Ьhawk-eyed
keen-sighted. hawk moth any darting and hovering moth of the
family Sphingidae, having narrow forewings and a stout body.
hawk-nosed having an aquiline nose. ЬЬhawkish adj. hawkishness
n. hawklike adj. [OE h(e)afoc, h‘buc f. Gmc]
hawk(2) v.tr. 1 carry about or offer around (goods) for sale. 2 (often
foll. by about) relate (news, gossip, etc.) freely. [back-form.
hawk(3) v. 1 intr. clear the throat noisily. 2 tr. (foll. by up) bring
(phlegm etc.) up from the throat. [prob. imit.]
hawk(4) n. a plasterer's square board with a handle underneath for
carrying plaster or mortar. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
hawker(1) n. a person who travels about selling goods. [16th c.: prob.
f. LG or Du.; cf. HUCKSTER]
hawker(2) n. a falconer. [OE hafocere]
hawksbill n. (in full hawksbill turtle) a small turtle, Eretmochelys
imbricata, yielding tortoiseshell.
hawkweed n. any composite plant of the genus Hieracium, with yellow
hawse n. 1 the part of a ship's bows in which hawse-holes or
hawse-pipes are placed. 2 the space between the head of an
anchored vessel and the anchors. 3 the arrangement of cables
when a ship is moored with port and starboard forward anchors.
Ьhawse-hole a hole in the side of a ship through which a cable
or anchor-rope passes. hawse-pipe a metal pipe lining a
hawse-hole. [ME halse, prob. f. ON h ls neck, ship's bow]
hawser n. Naut. a thick rope or cable for mooring or towing a ship.
[ME f. AF haucer, hauceour f. OF haucier hoist ult. f. L altus
hawthorn n. any thorny shrub or tree of the genus Crataegus, esp. C.
monogyna, with white, red, or pink blossom and small dark-red
fruit or haws. [OE hagathorn (as HAW(1), THORN)]
hay(1) n. & v. --n. grass mown and dried for fodder. --v. 1 intr.
make hay. 2 tr. put (land) under grass for hay. 3 tr. make
into hay. Ьhay fever an allergy with catarrhal and other
asthmatic symptoms, caused by pollen or dust. make hay of throw
into confusion. make hay (while the sun shines) seize
opportunities for profit or enjoyment. [OE heg, hieg, hig f.
hay(2) n. (also hey) 1 a country dance with interweaving steps. 2 a
figure in this. [obs. F haie]
haybox n. a box stuffed with hay, in which heated food is left to
haycock n. a conical heap of hay in a field.
hayfield n. a field where hay is being or is to be made.
haymaker n. 1 a person who tosses and spreads hay to dry after mowing.
2 an apparatus for shaking and drying hay. 3 sl. a forceful
blow or punch. ЬЬhaymaking n.
haymow n. hay stored in a stack or barn.
hayrick n. = HAYSTACK.
hayseed n. 1 grass seed obtained from hay. 2 US colloq. a rustic or
haystack n. a packed pile of hay with a pointed or ridged top.
haywire adj. colloq. 1 badly disorganized, out of control. 2 (of a
person) badly disturbed; erratic. [HAY(1) + WIRE, from the use
of hay-baling wire in makeshift repairs]
hazard n. & v. --n. 1 a danger or risk. 2 a source of this. 3
chance. 4 a dice game with a complicated arrangement of
chances. 5 Golf an obstruction in playing a shot, e.g. a
bunker, water, etc. 6 each of the winning openings in a
real-tennis court. --v.tr. 1 venture on (hazard a guess). 2
run the risk of. 3 expose to hazard. [ME f. OF hasard f. Sp.
azar f. Arab. az-zahr chance, luck]
hazardous adj. 1 risky, dangerous. 2 dependent on chance. ЬЬhazardously
adv. hazardousness n. [F hasardeux (as HAZARD)]
haze(1) n. 1 obscuration of the atmosphere near the earth by fine
particles of water, smoke, or dust. 2 mental obscurity or
confusion. [prob. back-form. f. HAZY]
haze(2) v.tr. 1 Naut. harass with overwork. 2 US bully; seek to
disconcert. [orig. uncert.: cf. obs. F haser tease, insult]
hazel n. 1 any shrub or small tree of the genus Corylus, esp. C.
avellana bearing round brown edible nuts. 2 a wood from the
hazel. b a stick made of this. 3 a reddish-brown or
greenish-brown colour (esp. of the eyes). Ьhazel-grouse a
woodland grouse, Tetrastes bonasia. [OE h‘sel f. Gmc]
hazelnut n. the fruit of the hazel.
hazy adj. (hazier, haziest) 1 misty. 2 vague, indistinct. 3
confused, uncertain. ЬЬhazily adv. haziness n. [17th c. in
Naut. use: orig. unkn.]
HE abbr. 1 His or Her Excellency. 2 His Eminence. 3 high
He symb. Chem. the element helium.
he pron. & n. --pron. (obj. him; poss. his; pl. they) 1 the
man or boy or male animal previously named or in question. 2 a
person etc. of unspecified sex, esp. referring to one already
named or identified (if anyone comes he will have to wait).
--n. 1 a male; a man. 2 (in comb.) male (he-goat). 3 a
children's chasing game, with the chaser designated 'he'.
Ьhe-man (pl. -men) a masterful or virile man. [OE f. Gmc]
head n., adj., & v. --n. 1 the upper part of the human body, or the
foremost or upper part of an animal's body, containing the
brain, mouth, and sense-organs. 2 a the head regarded as the
seat of intellect or repository of comprehended information. b
intelligence; imagination (use your head). c mental aptitude or
tolerance (usu. foll. by for: a good head for business; no head
for heights). 3 colloq. a headache, esp. resulting from a blow
or from intoxication. 4 a thing like a head in form or
position, esp.: a the operative part of a tool. b the flattened
top of a nail. c the ornamented top of a pillar. d a mass of
leaves or flowers at the top of a stem. e the flat end of a
drum. f the foam on top of a glass of beer etc. g the upper
horizontal part of a window frame, door frame, etc. 5 life when
regarded as vulnerable (it cost him his head). 6 a a person in
charge; a director or leader (esp. the principal teacher at a
school or college). b a position of leadership or command. 7
the front or forward part of something, e.g. a queue. 8 the
upper end of something, e.g. a table or bed. 9 the top or
highest part of something, e.g. a page, stairs, etc. 10 a
person or individual regarded as a numerical unit (њ10 per
head). 11 (pl. same) a an individual animal as a unit. b (as
pl.) a number of cattle or game as specified (20 head). 12 a
the side of a coin bearing the image of a head. b (usu. in pl.)
this side as a choice when tossing a coin. 13 a the source of a
river or stream etc. b the end of a lake at which a river
enters it. 14 the height or length of a head as a measure. 15
the component of a machine that is in contact with or very close
to what is being processed or worked on, esp.: a the component
on a tape recorder that touches the moving tape in play and
converts the signals. b the part of a record-player that holds
the playing cartridge and stylus. c = PRINTHEAD. 16 a a
confined body of water or steam in an engine etc. b the
pressure exerted by this. 17 a promontory (esp. in place-names)
(Beachy Head). 18 Naut. a the bows of a ship. b (often in
pl.) a ship's latrine. 19 a main topic or category for
consideration or discussion. 20 Journalism = HEADLINE n. 21 a
culmination, climax, or crisis. 22 the fully developed top of a
boil etc. 23 sl. a habitual taker of drugs; a drug addict.
--attrib.adj. chief or principal (head gardener; head office).
--v. 1 tr. be at the head or front of. 2 tr. be in charge of
(headed a small team). 3 tr. a provide with a head or heading.
b (of an inscription, title, etc.) be at the top of, serve as a
heading for. 4 a intr. face or move in a specified direction or
towards a specified result (often foll. by for: is heading for
trouble). b tr. direct in a specified direction. 5 tr.
Football strike (the ball) with the head. 6 a tr. (often foll.
by down) cut the head off (a plant etc.). b intr. (of a plant
etc.) form a head. Ьabove (or over) one's head beyond one's
ability to understand. come to a head reach a crisis. enter
(or come into) one's head colloq. occur to one. from head to
toe (or foot) all over a person's body. get one's head down sl.
1 go to bed. 2 concentrate on the task in hand. give a person
his or her head allow a person to act freely. go out of one's
head go mad. go to one's head 1 (of liquor) make one dizzy or
slightly drunk. 2 (of success) make one conceited. head and
shoulders colloq. by a considerable amount. head back 1 get
ahead of so as to intercept and turn back. 2 return home etc.
head-banger sl. 1 a young person shaking violently to the
rhythm of pop music. 2 a crazy or eccentric person. head-butt
n. a forceful thrust with the top of the head into the chin or
body of another person. --v.tr. attack (another person) with a
head-butt. head-dress an ornamental covering or band for the
head. head first 1 with the head foremost. 2 precipitately.
head in the sand refusal to acknowledge an obvious danger or
difficulty. head off 1 get ahead of so as to intercept and turn
aside. 2 forestall. a head of hair the hair on a person's
head, esp. as a distinctive feature. head-on 1 with the front
foremost (a head-on crash). 2 in direct confrontation. head
over heels 1 turning over completely in forward motion as in a
somersault etc. 2 topsy-turvy. 3 utterly, completely (head
over heels in love). head-shrinker sl. a psychiatrist. head
start an advantage granted or gained at an early stage. heads
will roll colloq. people will be disgraced or dismissed.
head-up (of instrument readings in an aircraft, vehicle, etc.)
shown so as to be visible without lowering the eyes. head-voice
the high register of the voice in speaking or singing. head
wind a wind blowing from directly in front. hold up one's head
be confident or unashamed. in one's head 1 in one's thoughts or
imagination. 2 by mental process without use of physical aids.
keep one's head remain calm. keep one's head above water
colloq. 1 keep out of debt. 2 avoid succumbing to
difficulties. keep one's head down colloq. remain
inconspicuous in difficult or dangerous times. lose one's head
lose self-control; panic. make head or tail of (usu. with neg.
or interrog.) understand at all. off one's head sl. crazy.
off the top of one's head colloq. impromptu; without careful
thought or investigation. on one's (or one's own) head as one's
sole responsibility. out of one's head 1 sl. crazy. 2 from
one's imagination or memory. over one's head 1 beyond one's
ability to understand. 2 without one's knowledge or
involvement, esp. when one has a right to this. 3 with
disregard for one's own (stronger) claim (was promoted over
their heads). put heads together consult together. put into a
person's head suggest to a person. take (or get) it into one's
head (foll. by that + clause or to + infin.) form a definite
idea or plan. turn a person's head make a person conceited.
with one's head in the clouds see CLOUD. ЬЬheaded adj. (also in
comb.). headless adj. headward adj. & adv. [OE heafod f. Gmc]
headache n. 1 a continuous pain in the head. 2 colloq. a a worrying
problem. b a troublesome person. ЬЬheadachy adj.
headband n. a band worn round the head as decoration or to keep the hair
off the face.
headboard n. an upright panel placed behind the head of a bed.
headcount n. 1 a counting of individual people. 2 a total number of
people, esp. the number of people employed in a particular
header n. 1 Football a shot or pass made with the head. 2 colloq. a
headlong fall or dive. 3 a brick or stone laid at right angles
to the face of a wall. 4 (in full header-tank) a tank of water
etc. maintaining pressure in a plumbing system.
headgear n. a hat or head-dress.
n. 1 the practice among some peoples of collecting the heads of
dead enemies as trophies. 2 the practice of filling a (usu.
senior) business position by approaching a suitable person
employed elsewhere. ЬЬhead-hunt v.tr. (also absol.).
heading n. 1 a a title at the head of a page or section of a book etc.
b a division or section of a subject of discourse etc. 2 a a
horizontal passage made in preparation for building a tunnel. b
Mining = DRIFT n. 6. 3 material for making cask-heads. 4 the
extension of the top of a curtain above the tape that carries
the hooks or the pocket for a wire.
headlamp n. = HEADLIGHT.
headland n. 1 a promontory. 2 a strip left unploughed at the end of a
field, for machinery to pass along.
headlight n. 1 a strong light at the front of a motor vehicle or railway
engine. 2 the beam from this.
headline n. & v. --n. 1 a heading at the top of an article or page,
esp. in a newspaper. 2 (in pl.) the most important items of
news in a newspaper or broadcast news bulletin. --v.tr. give a
headline to. Ьhit (or make) the headlines colloq. be given
prominent attention as news.
headliner n. US a star performer.
headlock n. Wrestling a hold with an arm round the opponent's head.
headlong adv. & adj. 1 with head foremost. 2 in a rush. [ME headling
(as HEAD, -LING(2)), assim. to -LONG]
headman n. (pl. -men) the chief man of a tribe etc.
n. (fem. headmistress) the principal teacher in charge of a
headmost adj. (esp. of a ship) foremost.
headphone n. (usu. in pl.) a pair of earphones joined by a band placed
over the head, for listening to audio equipment etc.
headpiece n. 1 an ornamental engraving at the head of a chapter etc. 2 a
helmet. 3 archaic intellect.
n. (as sing. or pl.) 1 the administrative centre of an
organization. 2 the premises occupied by a military commander
and the commander's staff.
headrest n. a support for the head, esp. on a seat or chair.
headroom n. 1 the space or clearance between the top of a vehicle and
the underside of a bridge etc. which it passes under. 2 the
space above a driver's or passenger's head in a vehicle.
headscarf n. a scarf worn round the head and tied under the chin, instead
of a hat.
headset n. a set of headphones, often with a microphone attached, used
esp. in telephony and radio communications.
headship n. the position of chief or leader, esp. of a headmaster or
headsman n. (pl. -men) 1 hist. an executioner who beheads. 2 a person
in command of a whaling boat.
n. 1 the main source of a stream. 2 a principal source of
n. a rectangular scarf for wearing on the head.
headstall n. the part of a halter or bridle that fits round a horse's
headstock n. a set of bearings in a machine, supporting a revolving part.
headstone n. a (usu. inscribed) stone set up at the head of a grave.
adj. self-willed and obstinate. ЬЬheadstrongly adv.
headwater n. (in sing. or pl.) streams flowing from the sources of a
headway n. 1 progress. 2 the rate of progress of a ship. 3 = HEADROOM
headword n. a word forming a heading, e.g. of an entry in a dictionary
headwork n. mental work or effort.
heady adj. (headier, headiest) 1 (of liquor) potent, intoxicating. 2
(of success etc.) likely to cause conceit. 3 (of a person,
thing, or action) impetuous, violent. ЬЬheadily adv. headiness
heal v. 1 intr. (often foll. by up) (of a wound or injury) become
sound or healthy again. 2 tr. cause (a wound, disease, or
person) to heal or be healed. 3 tr. put right (differences
etc.). 4 tr. alleviate (sorrow etc.). Ьheal-all 1 a universal
remedy, a panacea. 2 a popular name of various medicinal
plants. ЬЬhealable adj. healer n. [OE h‘lan f. Gmc, rel. to
heald n. = HEDDLE. [app. f. OE hefel, hefeld, f. Gmc]
health n. 1 the state of being well in body or mind. 2 a person's
mental or physical condition (has poor health). 3 soundness,
esp. financial or moral (the health of the nation). 4 a toast
drunk in someone's honour. Ьhealth centre the headquarters of a
group of local medical services. health certificate a
certificate stating a person's fitness for work etc. health
farm a residential establishment where people seek improved
health by a regime of dieting, exercise, etc. health food
natural food thought to have health-giving qualities. health
service a public service providing medical care. health visitor
Brit. a trained nurse who visits those in need of medical
attention in their homes. [OE h‘lth f. Gmc]
healthful adj. conducive to good health; beneficial. ЬЬhealthfully adv.
healthy adj. (healthier, healthiest) 1 having, showing, or promoting
good health. 2 beneficial, helpful (a healthy respect for
experience). ЬЬhealthily adv. healthiness n.
heap n. & v. --n. 1 a collection of things lying haphazardly one on
another. 2 (esp. in pl.) colloq. a large number or amount
(there's heaps of time; is heaps better). 3 sl. an old or
dilapidated thing, esp. a motor vehicle or building. --v. 1
tr. & intr. (foll. by up, together, etc.) collect or be
collected in a heap. 2 tr. (foll. by with) load copiously or to
excess. 3 tr. (foll. by on, upon) accord or offer copiously to
(heaped insults on them). 4 tr. (as heaped adj.) (of a spoonful
etc.) with the contents piled above the brim. Ьheap coals of
fire on a person's head cause a person remorse by returning good
for evil. [OE heap, heapian f. Gmc]
hear v. (past and past part. heard) 1 tr. (also absol.) perceive
(sound etc.) with the ear. 2 tr. listen to (heard them on the
radio). 3 tr. listen judicially to and judge (a case,
plaintiff, etc.). 4 intr. (foll. by about, of, or that +
clause) be told or informed. 5 intr. (foll. by from) be
contacted by, esp. by letter or telephone. 6 tr. be ready to
obey (an order). 7 tr. grant (a prayer). Ьhave heard of be
aware of; know of the existence of. hear! hear! int.
expressing agreement (esp. with something said in a speech).
hear a person out listen to all that a person says. hear say
(or tell) (usu. foll. by of, or that + clause) be informed.
will not hear of will not allow or agree to. ЬЬhearable adj.
hearer n. [OE hieran f. Gmc]
hearing n. 1 the faculty of perceiving sounds. 2 the range within
which sounds may be heard; earshot (within hearing; in my
hearing). 3 an opportunity to state one's case (give them a
fair hearing). 4 the listening to evidence and pleadings in a
law court. Ьhearing-aid a small device to amplify sound, worn
by a partially deaf person.
hearken v.intr. (also harken) archaic or literary (often foll. by to)
listen. [OE heorcnian (as HARK)]
hearsay n. rumour, gossip. Ьhearsay evidence Law evidence given by a
witness based on information received from others rather than
hearse n. a vehicle for conveying the coffin at a funeral. [ME f. OF
herse harrow f. med.L herpica ult. f. L hirpex -icis large rake]
heart n. 1 a hollow muscular organ maintaining the circulation of
blood by rhythmic contraction and dilation. 2 the region of the
heart; the breast. 3 a the heart regarded as the centre of
thought, feeling, and emotion (esp. love). b a person's
capacity for feeling emotion (has no heart). 4 a courage or
enthusiasm (take heart; lose heart). b one's mood or feeling
(change of heart). 5 a the central or innermost part of
something. b the vital part or essence (the heart of the
matter). 6 the close compact head of a cabbage, lettuce, etc.
7 a a heart-shaped thing. b a conventional representation of a
heart with two equal curves meeting at a point at the bottom and
a cusp at the top. 8 a a playing-card of a suit denoted by a
red figure of a heart. b (in pl.) this suit. c (in pl.) a
card-game in which players avoid taking tricks containing a card
of this suit. 9 condition of land as regards fertility (in good
heart). Ьafter one's own heart such as one likes or desires.
at heart 1 in one's inmost feelings. 2 basically, essentially.
break a person's heart overwhelm a person with sorrow. by heart
in or from memory. close to (or near) one's heart 1 dear to
one. 2 affecting one deeply. from the heart (or the bottom of
one's heart) sincerely, profoundly. give (or lose) one's heart
(often foll. by to) fall in love (with). have a heart be
merciful. have the heart (usu. with neg.; foll. by to + infin.)
be insensitive or hard-hearted enough (didn't have the heart to
ask him). have (or put) one's heart in be keenly involved in or
committed to (an enterprise etc.). have one's heart in one's
mouth be greatly alarmed or apprehensive. have one's heart in
the right place be sincere or well-intentioned. heart attack a
sudden occurrence of coronary thrombosis usu. resulting in the
death of part of a heart muscle. heart failure a gradual
failure of the heart to function properly, resulting in
breathlessness, oedema, etc. heart-lung machine a machine that
temporarily takes over the functions of the heart and lungs,
esp. in surgery. heart of gold a generous nature. heart of oak
a courageous nature. heart of stone a stern or cruel nature.
heart-rending very distressing. heart-rendingly in a
heart-rending way. heart's-blood lifeblood, life.
heart-searching the thorough examination of one's own feelings
and motives. heart to heart candidly, intimately.
heart-to-heart adj. (of a conversation etc.) candid, intimate.
--n. a candid or personal conversation. heart-warming
emotionally rewarding or uplifting. in heart in good spirits.
in one's heart of hearts in one's inmost feelings. out of heart
in low spirits. take to heart be much affected or distressed
by. to one's heart's content see CONTENT(1). wear one's heart
on one's sleeve make one's feelings apparent. with all one's
heart sincerely; with all goodwill. with one's whole heart with
enthusiasm; without doubts or reservations. ЬЬ-hearted adj.
[OE heorte f. Gmc]
heartache n. mental anguish or grief.
heartbeat n. a pulsation of the heart.
n. overwhelming distress. ЬЬheartbreaker n. heartbreaking
adj. heartbroken adj.
heartburn n. a burning sensation in the chest resulting from indigestion;
hearten v.tr. & intr. make or become more cheerful. ЬЬhearteningly
heartfelt adj. sincere; deeply felt.
hearth n. 1 a the floor of a fireplace. b the area in front of a
fireplace. 2 this symbolizing the home. 3 the bottom of a
blast-furnace where molten metal collects. [OE heorth f. WG]
hearthrug n. a rug laid before a fireplace.
n. 1 a flat stone forming a hearth. 2 a soft stone used to
whiten hearths, doorsteps, etc.
heartily adv. 1 in a hearty manner; with goodwill, appetite, or courage.
2 very; to a great degree (esp. with ref. to personal feelings)
(am heartily sick of it; disliked him heartily).
heartland n. the central or most important part of an area.
heartless adj. unfeeling, pitiless. ЬЬheartlessly adv. heartlessness n.
n. (also heart's-ease) a pansy.
heartsick adj. very despondent. ЬЬheartsickness n.
heartsore adj. grieving, heartsick.
n.pl. one's deepest feelings or emotions.
n. 1 beating of the heart. 2 colloq. a person for whom one has
(esp. immature) romantic feelings.
heartwood n. the dense inner part of a tree-trunk yielding the hardest
hearty adj. & n. --adj. (heartier, heartiest) 1 strong, vigorous. 2
spirited. 3 (of a meal or appetite) large. 4 warm, friendly.
--n. 1 a hearty person, esp. one ostentatiously so. 2 (usu. in
pl.) (as a form of address) fellows, esp. fellow sailors.
heat n. & v. --n. 1 a the condition of being hot. b the sensation
or perception of this. c high temperature of the body. 2
Physics a a form of energy arising from the random motion of the
molecules of bodies, which may be transferred by conduction,
convection, or radiation. b the amount of this needed to cause
a specific process, or evolved in a process (heat of formation;
heat of solution). 3 hot weather (succumbed to the heat). 4 a
warmth of feeling. b anger or excitement (the heat of the
argument). 5 (foll. by of) the most intense part or period of
an activity (in the heat of the battle). 6 a (usu. preliminary
or trial) round in a race or contest. 7 the receptive period of
the sexual cycle, esp. in female mammals. 8 redness of the skin
with a sensation of heat (prickly heat). 9 pungency of flavour.
10 sl. intensive pursuit, e.g. by the police. --v. 1 tr. &
intr. make or become hot or warm. 2 tr. inflame; excite or
intensify. Ьheat barrier the limitation of the speed of an
aircraft etc. by heat resulting from air friction. heat
capacity thermal capacity. heat death Physics a state of
uniform distribution of energy to which the universe is thought
to be tending. heat engine a device for producing motive power
from heat. heat-exchanger a device for the transfer of heat
from one medium to another. heat pump a device for the transfer
of heat from a colder area to a hotter area by using mechanical
energy. heat-resistant = HEATPROOF. heat-seeking (of a missile
etc.) able to detect infrared radiation to guide it to its
target. heat shield a device for protection from excessive
heat, esp. fitted to a spacecraft. heat sink a device or
substance for absorbing excessive or unwanted heat. heat-treat
subject to heat treatment. heat treatment the use of heat to
modify the properties of a metal etc. heat wave a period of
very hot weather. in the heat of the moment during or resulting
from intense activity, without pause for thought. on heat (of
mammals, esp. females) sexually receptive. turn the heat on
colloq. concentrate an attack or criticism on (a person). [OE
h‘tu f. Gmc]
heated adj. 1 (of a person, discussions, etc.) angry; inflamed with
passion or excitement. 2 made hot. ЬЬheatedly adv.
heater n. 1 a device for supplying heat to its environment. 2 a
container with an element etc. for heating the contents
(water-heater). 3 sl. a gun.
heath n. 1 an area of flattish uncultivated land with low shrubs. 2
a plant growing on a heath, esp. of the genus Erica or Calluna
(e.g. heather). ЬЬheathless adj. heathlike adj. heathy adj.
[OE h‘th f. Gmc]
heathen n. & adj. --n. 1 a person who does not belong to a widely-held
religion (esp. who is not Christian, Jew, or Muslim) as
regarded by those that do. 2 an unenlightened person; a person
regarded as lacking culture or moral principles. 3 (the
heathen) heathen people collectively. 4 Bibl. a Gentile.
--adj. 1 of or relating to heathens. 2 having no religion.
ЬЬheathendom n. heathenism n. [OE h‘then f. Gmc]
heather n. 1 an evergreen shrub, Calluna vulgaris, with purple
bell-shaped flowers. 2 any of various shrubs of the genus Erica
or Daboecia, growing esp. on moors and heaths. Ьheather mixture
1 a fabric of mixed hues supposed to resemble heather. 2 the
colour of this. ЬЬheathery adj. [ME, Sc., & N.Engl. hathir
etc., of unkn. orig.: assim. to heath]
adj. absurdly ingenious and impracticable in design or
construction. [W. Heath Robinson, Engl. cartoonist d. 1944 who
drew such contrivances]
heating n. 1 the imparting or generation of heat. 2 equipment or
devices used to provide heat, esp. to a building.
heatproof adj. & v. --adj. able to resist great heat. --v.tr. make
n. a feverish condition caused by excessive exposure to high
heatwave n. a prolonged period of abnormally hot weather.
heave v. & n. --v. (past and past part. heaved or esp. Naut.
hove) 1 tr. lift or haul (a heavy thing) with great effort. 2
tr. utter with effort or resignation (heaved a sigh). 3 tr.
colloq. throw. 4 intr. rise and fall rhythmically or
spasmodically. 5 tr. Naut. haul by rope. 6 intr. retch. --n.
1 an instance of heaving. 2 Geol. a sideways displacement in a
fault. 3 (in pl.) a disease of horses, with laboured breathing.
Ьheave-ho a sailors' cry, esp. on raising the anchor. heave in
sight Naut. or colloq. come into view. heave to esp. Naut.
bring or be brought to a standstill. ЬЬheaver n. [OE hebban f.
Gmc, rel. to L capere take]
heaven n. 1 a place regarded in some religions as the abode of God and
the angels, and of the good after death, often characterized as
above the sky. 2 a place or state of supreme bliss. 3 colloq.
something delightful. 4 (usu. Heaven) God, Providence (often,
in sing. or pl. as an exclam. or mild oath: by Heaven). 5 (the
heavens) esp. poet. the sky as the abode of the sun, moon, and
stars and regarded from earth. Ьheaven-sent providential;
wonderfully opportune. in seventh heaven in a state of ecstasy.
move heaven and earth (foll. by to + infin.) make extraordinary
efforts. ЬЬheavenward adj. & adv. heavenwards adv. [OE
heavenly adj. 1 of heaven; divine. 2 of the heavens or sky. 3 colloq.
very pleasing; wonderful. Ьheavenly bodies the sun, stars,
planets, etc. ЬЬheavenliness n. [OE heofonlic (as HEAVEN)]
n. (in full Heaviside-Kennelly layer) = E-LAYER. [O.
Heaviside, Engl. physicist d. 1925, and A. E. Kennelly, US
physicist d. 1939]
heavy adj., n., & adv. --adj. (heavier, heaviest) 1 of great or
exceptionally high weight; difficult to lift. 2 a of great
density. b Physics having a greater than the usual mass (esp.
of isotopes and compounds containing them). 3 abundant,
considerable (a heavy crop). 4 severe, intense, extensive,
excessive (heavy fighting; a heavy sleep). 5 doing something to
excess (a heavy drinker). 6 a striking or falling with force
(heavy blows; heavy rain). b (of the sea) having large powerful
waves. 7 (of machinery, artillery, etc.) very large of its
kind; large in calibre etc. 8 causing a strong impact (a heavy
fall). 9 needing much physical effort (heavy work). 10 (foll.
by with) laden. 11 carrying heavy weapons (the heavy brigade).
12 (of a person, writing, music, etc.) serious or sombre in tone
or attitude; dull, tedious. 13 a (of food) hard to digest. b
(of a literary work etc.) hard to read or understand. 14 a (of
temperament) dignified, stern. b intellectually slow. 15 (of
bread etc.) too dense from not having risen. 16 (of ground)
difficult to traverse or work. 17 oppressive; hard to endure (a
heavy fate; heavy demands). 18 a coarse, ungraceful (heavy
features). b unwieldy. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 colloq. a large
violent person; a thug. 2 a villainous or tragic role or actor
in a play etc. (usu. in pl.). 3 colloq. a serious newspaper. 4
anything large or heavy of its kind, e.g. a vehicle. --adv.
heavily (esp. in comb.: heavy-laden). Ьheavier-than-air (of an
aircraft) weighing more than the air it displaces. heavy
chemicals see CHEMICAL. heavy-duty adj. intended to withstand
hard use. heavy-footed awkward, ponderous. heavy going slow or
difficult progress. heavy-hearted sad, doleful. heavy hydrogen
= DEUTERIUM. heavy industry industry producing metal,
machinery, etc. heavy metal 1 heavy guns. 2 metal of high
density. 3 colloq. (often attrib.) a type of highly-amplified
rock music with a strong beat. heavy petting erotic fondling
between two people, stopping short of intercourse. heavy
sleeper a person who sleeps deeply. heavy water a substance
composed entirely or mainly of deuterium oxide. make heavy
weather of see WEATHER. ЬЬheavily adv. heaviness n. heavyish
adj. [OE hefig f. Gmc, rel. to HEAVE]
n. 1 a a weight in certain sports, in the amateur boxing scale
over 81 kg but differing for professional boxers, wrestlers, and
weightlifters. b a sportsman of this weight. 2 a person,
animal, or thing of above average weight. 3 colloq. a person of
influence or importance. Ьlight heavyweight 1 the weight in
some sports between middleweight and heavyweight, in the amateur
boxing scale 75-81 kg: also called CRUISERWEIGHT. 2 a sportsman
of this weight.
Heb. abbr. 1 Hebrew. 2 Hebrews (New Testament).
adj. formal weekly, esp. meeting weekly. [LL hebdomadalis f.
Gk hebdomas, - ados f. hepta seven]
hebe n. any flowering shrub of the genus Hebe, with usu. overlapping
scale-like leaves. [mod.L after the Gk goddess Hebe]
hebetude n. literary dullness. [LL hebetudo f. hebes, -etis blunt]
Hebraic adj. of Hebrew or the Hebrews. ЬЬHebraically adv. [LL f. Gk
Hebraikos (as HEBREW)]
Hebraism n. 1 a Hebrew idiom or expression, esp. in the Greek of the
Bible. 2 an attribute of the Hebrews. 3 the Hebrew system of
thought or religion. ЬЬHebraistic adj. Hebraize v.tr. & intr.
(also -ise). [F h‚bra‹sme or mod.L Hebraismus f. late Gk
Hebra‹smos (as HEBREW)]
Hebraist n. an expert in Hebrew.
Hebrew n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of a Semitic people orig. centred in
ancient Palestine. 2 a the language of this people. b a modern
form of this used esp. in Israel. --adj. 1 of or in Hebrew. 2
of the Hebrews or the Jews. [ME f. OF Ebreu f. med.L Ebreus f.
L hebraeus f. Gk Hebraios f. Aram. ' ibray f. Heb. ' ibrЊ one
from the other side (of the river)]
Hebridean adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Hebrides, an island
group off the W. coast of Scotland. --n. a native of the
hecatomb n. 1 (in ancient Greece or Rome) a great public sacrifice,
orig. of 100 oxen. 2 any extensive sacrifice. [L hecatombe f.
Gk hekatombe f. hekaton hundred + bous ox]
heck int. colloq. a mild exclamation of surprise or dismay. [alt.
n. Mus. a bass oboe. [G Heckelphon f. W. Heckel, 20th-c.
heckle v.tr. 1 interrupt and harass (a public speaker). 2 dress (flax
or hemp). ЬЬheckler n. [ME, northern and eastern form of
hectare n. a metric unit of square measure, equal to 100 ares (2.471
acres or 10,000 square metres). ЬЬhectarage n. [F (as HECTO-,
hectic adj. & n. --adj. 1 busy and confused; excited. 2 having a
hectic fever; morbidly flushed. --n. 1 a hectic fever or
flush. 2 a patient suffering from this. Ьhectic fever (or
flush) hist. a fever which accompanies consumption and similar
diseases, with flushed cheeks and hot dry skin. ЬЬhectically
adv. [ME etik f. OF etique f. LL hecticus f. Gk hektikos
habitual f. hexis habit, assim. to F hectique or LL]
hecto- comb. form a hundred, esp. of a unit in the metric system.
°Abbr.: ha. [F, irreg. f. Gk hekaton hundred]
hectogram n. (also hectogramme) a metric unit of mass, equal to one
n. an apparatus for copying documents by the use of a gelatin
plate which receives an impression of the master copy.
n. (US hectoliter) a metric unit of capacity, equal to one
n. (US hectometer) a metric unit of length, equal to one
hector v. & n. --v.tr. bully, intimidate. --n. a bully.
ЬЬhectoringly adv. [Hector, L f. Gk Hektor, Trojan hero and son
of Priam in Homer's Iliad, f. its earlier use to mean
he'd contr. 1 he had. 2 he would.
heddle n. one of the sets of small cords or wires between which the
warp is passed in a loom before going through the reed. [app.
f. OE hefeld]
hedge n. & v. --n. 1 a fence or boundary formed by closely growing
bushes or shrubs. 2 a protection against possible loss or
diminution. --v. 1 tr. surround or bound with a hedge. 2 tr.
(foll. by in) enclose. 3 a tr. reduce one's risk of loss on (a
bet or speculation) by compensating transactions on the other
side. b intr. avoid a definite decision or commitment. 4 intr.
make or trim hedges. Ьhedge-hop fly at a very low altitude.
hedge sparrow a common grey and brown bird, Prunella modularis;
the dunnock . ЬЬhedger n. [OE hegg f. Gmc]
hedgehog n. 1 any small nocturnal insect-eating mammal of the genus
Erinaceus, esp. E. europaeus, having a piglike snout and a coat
of spines, and rolling itself up into a ball for defence. 2 a
porcupine or other animal similarly covered with spines.
ЬЬhedgehoggy adj. [ME f. HEDGE (from its habitat) + HOG (from
hedgerow n. a row of bushes etc. forming a hedge.
hedonic adj. 1 of or characterized by pleasure. 2 Psychol. of pleasant
or unpleasant sensations. [Gk hedonikos f. hedone pleasure]
hedonism n. 1 belief in pleasure as the highest good and mankind's
proper aim. 2 behaviour based on this. ЬЬhedonist n.
hedonistic adj. [Gk hedone pleasure]
-hedron comb. form (pl. -hedra) forming nouns denoting geometrical
solids with various numbers or shapes of faces (dodecahedron;
rhombohedron). ЬЬ-hedral comb. form forming adjectives. [Gk
n.pl. (prec. by the) sl. a state of nervous depression or
anxiety. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
heed v. & n. --v.tr. attend to; take notice of. --n. careful
attention. ЬЬheedful adj. heedfully adv. heedfulness n.
heedless adj. heedlessly adv. heedlessness n. [OE hedan f.
hee-haw n. & v. --n. the bray of a donkey. --v.intr. (of or like a
donkey) emit a braying sound. [imit.]
heel(1) n. & v. --n. 1 the back part of the foot below the ankle. 2
the corresponding part in vertebrate animals. 3 a the part of a
sock etc. covering the heel. b the part of a shoe or boot
supporting the heel. 4 a thing like a heel in form or position,
e.g. the part of the palm next to the wrist, the end of a violin
bow at which it is held, or the part of a golf club near where
the head joins the shaft. 5 the crust end of a loaf of bread.
6 colloq. a person regarded with contempt or disapproval. 7 (as
int.) a command to a dog to walk close to its owner's heel.
--v. 1 tr. fit or renew a heel on (a shoe or boot). 2 intr.
touch the ground with the heel as in dancing. 3 intr. (foll. by
out) Rugby Football pass the ball with the heel. 4 tr. Golf
strike (the ball) with the heel of the club. Ьat heel 1 (of a
dog) close behind. 2 (of a person etc.) under control. at (or
on) the heels of following closely after (a person or event).
cool (or kick) one's heels be kept waiting. down at heel 1 (of
a shoe) with the heel worn down. 2 (of a person) shabby. take
to one's heels run away. to heel 1 (of a dog) close behind. 2
(of a person etc.) under control. turn on one's heel turn
sharply round. well-heeled colloq. wealthy. ЬЬheelless adj.
[OE hela, h‘la f. Gmc]
heel(2) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (of a ship etc.) lean over owing to the
pressure of wind or an uneven load (cf. LIST(2)). 2 tr. cause
(a ship etc.) to do this. --n. the act or amount of heeling.
[prob. f. obs. heeld, hield incline, f. OE hieldan, OS -heldian
heel(3) var. of HELE.
heelball n. 1 a mixture of hard wax and lampblack used by shoemakers for
polishing. 2 this or a similar mixture used in brass-rubbing.
heeltap n. 1 a layer of leather in a shoe heel. 2 liquor left at the
bottom of a glass after drinking.
heft v. & n. --v.tr. lift (something heavy), esp. to judge its
weight. --n. dial. or US weight, heaviness. [prob. f. HEAVE
after cleft, weft]
hefty adj. (heftier, heftiest) 1 (of a person) big and strong. 2 (of
a thing) large, heavy, powerful. ЬЬheftily adv. heftiness n.
Hegelian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the German philosopher G. W.
F. Hegel (d. 1831) or his philosophy of objective idealism.
--n. an adherent of Hegel or his philosophy. ЬЬHegelianism n.
hegemony n. leadership esp. by one State of a confederacy. [Gk
hegemonia f. hegemon leader f. hegeomai lead]
hegira n. (also hejira, hijra) 1 (Hegira) a Muhammad's departure from
Mecca to Medina in AD 622. b the Muslim era reckoned from this
date. 2 a general exodus or departure. [med.L hegira f. Arab.
hijra departure from one's country f. hajara separate]
heifer n. 1 a a young cow, esp. one that has not had more than one
calf. b a female calf. 2 sl. derog. a woman. [OE heahfore]
heigh int. expressing encouragement or enquiry. Ьheigh-ho expressing
boredom, resignation, etc. [imit.]
height n. 1 the measurement from base to top or (of a standing person)
from head to foot. 2 the elevation above ground or a recognized
level (usu. sea level). 3 any considerable elevation (situated
at a height). 4 a a high place or area. b rising ground. 5
the top of something. 6 Printing the distance from the foot to
the face of type. 7 a the most intense part or period of
anything (the battle was at its height). b an extreme instance
or example (the height of fashion). Ьheight of land US a
watershed. [OE hehthu f. Gmc]
heighten v.tr. & intr. make or become higher or more intense.
heinous adj. (of a crime or criminal) utterly odious or wicked.
ЬЬheinously adv. heinousness n. [ME f. OF ha‹neus ult. f.
ha‹r to hate f. Frank.]
heir n. 1 a person entitled to property or rank as the legal
successor of its former owner (often foll. by to: heir to the
throne). 2 a person deriving or morally entitled to some thing,
quality, etc., from a predecessor. Ьheir apparent an heir whose
claim cannot be set aside by the birth of another heir.
heir-at-law (pl. heirs-at-law) an heir by right of blood, esp.
to the real property of an intestate. heir presumptive an heir
whose claim may be set aside in this way. ЬЬheirdom n.
heirless adj. heirship n. [ME f. OF eir f. LL herem f. L heres
heiress n. a female heir, esp. to wealth or high title.
heirloom n. 1 a piece of personal property that has been in a family for
several generations. 2 a piece of property received as part of
an inheritance. [HEIR + LOOM(1) in the sense 'tool']
Heisenberg uncertainty principle
see uncertainty principle.
heist n. & v. US sl. --n. a robbery. --v.tr. rob. [repr. a local
pronunc. of HOIST]
hei-tiki n. NZ a greenstone neck-ornament worn by Maoris. [Maori f.
hei hang, TIKI]
hejira var. of HEGIRA.
HeLa adj. of a strain of human epithelial cells maintained in tissue
culture. [Henrietta Lacks, whose cervical carcinoma provided
the original cells]
held past and past part. of HOLD.
n. 1 a powerful tenor voice suitable for heroic roles in opera.
2 a singer with this voice. [G f. Held a hero]
hele v.tr. (also heel) (foll. by in) set (a plant) in the ground and
cover its roots. [OE helian f. Gmc]
helenium n. any composite plant of the genus Helenium, with daisy-like
flowers having prominent central discs. [mod.L f. Gk helenion,
possibly commemorating Helen of Troy]
heli- comb. form helicopter (heliport).
heliacal adj. Astron. relating to or near the sun. Ьheliacal rising
(or setting) the first rising (or setting) of a star after (or
before) a period of invisibility due to conjunction with the
sun. [LL heliacus f. Gk heliakos f. helios sun]
n. any evergreen shrub of the genus Helianthemum, with
saucer-shaped flowers. Also called rock rose. [mod.L f. Gk
helios sun + anthemon flower]
n. any plant of the genus Helianthus, including the sunflower
and Jerusalem artichoke. [mod.L f. Gk helios sun + anthos
helical adj. having the form of a helix. ЬЬhelically adv. helicoid
adj. & n.
helices pl. of HELIX.
n. any composite plant of the genus Helichrysum, with flowers
retaining their appearance when dried. [L f. Gk helikhrusos f.
helix spiral + khrusos gold]
helicon n. a large spiral bass tuba played encircling the player's head
and resting on the shoulder. [L f. Gk Helikon mountain sacred
to the Muses: later assoc. with HELIX]
n. & v. --n. a type of aircraft without wings, obtaining lift
and propulsion from horizontally revolving overhead blades or
rotors, and capable of moving vertically and horizontally.
--v.tr. & intr. transport or fly by helicopter. [F h‚licoptЉre
f. Gk helix (see HELIX) + pteron wing]
helio- comb. form the sun. [Gk helios sun]
adj. 1 regarding the sun as centre. 2 considered as viewed
from the sun's centre. ЬЬheliocentrically adv.
heliogram n. a message sent by heliograph.
n. & v. --n. 1 a a signalling apparatus reflecting sunlight in
flashes from a movable mirror. b a message sent by means of
this; a heliogram. 2 an apparatus for photographing the sun. 3
an engraving obtained chemically by exposure to light. --v.tr.
send (a message) by heliograph. ЬЬheliography n.
n. = PHOTOGRAVURE.
adj. (of a civilization) characterized by sun-worship and
n. an instrument used for finding the angular distance between
two stars (orig. used for measuring the diameter of the sun).
heliostat n. an apparatus with a mirror driven by clockwork to reflect
sunlight in a fixed direction. ЬЬheliostatic adj.
n. the use of sunlight in treating disease.
n. 1 a any plant of the genus Heliotropium, with fragrant
purple flowers. b the scent of these. 2 a light purple colour.
3 bloodstone. [L heliotropium f. Gk heliotropion plant turning
its flowers to the sun, f. helios sun + -tropos f. trepo turn]
n. the directional growth of a plant in response to sunlight
(cf. PHOTOTROPISM). ЬЬheliotropic adj.
heliotype n. a picture obtained from a sensitized gelatin film exposed to
heliport n. a place where helicopters take off and land. [HELI-, after
helium n. Chem. a colourless light inert gaseous element occurring in
deposits of natural gas, used in airships and as a refrigerant.
°Symb.: He. [Gk helios sun (having been first identified in the
helix n. (pl. helices) 1 a spiral curve (like a corkscrew) or a
coiled curve (like a watch spring). 2 Geom. a curve that cuts a
line on a solid cone or cylinder, at a constant angle with the
axis. 3 Archit. a spiral ornament. 4 Anat. the rim of the
external ear. [L helix -icis f. Gk helix -ikos]
hell n. 1 a place regarded in some religions as the abode of the
dead, or of condemned sinners and devils. 2 a place or state of
misery or wickedness. 3 colloq. used as an exclamation of
surprise or annoyance (who the hell are you?; a hell of a mess).
4 US colloq. fun; high spirits. Ьbeat (or knock etc.) the hell
out of colloq. beat etc. without restraint. come hell or high
water no matter what the difficulties. for the hell of it
colloq. for fun; on impulse. get (or catch) hell colloq. be
severely scolded or punished. give a person hell colloq. scold
or punish or make things difficult for a person. hell-bent
(foll. by on) recklessly determined. hell-cat a spiteful
violent woman. hell-fire the fire or fires regarded as existing
in hell. hell for leather at full speed. hell-hole an
oppressive or unbearable place. hell-hound a fiend. hell's
angel a member of a gang of male motor-cycle enthusiasts
notorious for outrageous and violent behaviour. like hell
colloq. 1 not at all. 2 recklessly, exceedingly. not a hope
in hell colloq. no chance at all. play hell (or merry hell)
with colloq. be upsetting or disruptive to. what the hell
colloq. it is of no importance. ЬЬhell-like adj. hellward
adv. & adj. [OE hel, hell f. Gmc]
he'll contr. he will; he shall.
Helladic adj. of or belonging to the Bronze Age culture of mainland
Greece. [Gk Helladikos f. Hellas -ados Greece]
hellebore n. 1 any evergreen plant of the genus Helleborus, having large
white, green, or purplish flowers, e.g. the Christmas rose. 2 a
liliaceous plant, Veratrum album. 3 hist. any of various plants
supposed to cure madness. [ME f. OF ellebre, elebore or med.L
eleborus f. L elleborus f. Gk (h)elleboros]
n. any orchid of the genus Epipactis or Cephalanthera. [F or L
helleborine or L f. Gk helleborine plant like hellebore (as
Hellene n. 1 a native of modern Greece. 2 an ancient Greek.
ЬЬHellenic adj. [Gk Hellen a Greek]
Hellenism n. 1 Greek character or culture (esp. of ancient Greece). 2
the study or imitation of Greek culture. ЬЬHellenize v.tr. &
intr. (also -ise). Hellenization n. [Gk hellenismos f.
hellenizo speak Greek, make Greek (as HELLENE)]
Hellenist n. an expert on or admirer of Greek language or culture. [Gk
Hellenistes (as HELLENISM)]
adj. of or relating to Greek history, language, and culture
from the death of Alexander the Great to the time of Augustus
(4th-1st c. BC).
n. US an aquatic larva of an American fly, Corydalus cornutus,
often used as fishing bait. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
hellion n. US colloq. a mischievous or troublesome person, esp. a
child. [perh. f. dial. hallion a worthless fellow, assim. to
hellish adj. & adv. --adj. 1 of or like hell. 2 colloq. extremely
difficult or unpleasant. --adv. Brit. colloq. (as an
intensifier) extremely (hellish expensive). ЬЬhellishly adv.
hello int., n., & v. (also hallo, hullo) --int. 1 a an expression of
informal greeting, or of surprise. b used to begin a telephone
conversation. 2 a cry used to call attention. --n. (pl. -os)
a cry of 'hello'. --v.intr. (-oes, -oed) cry 'hello'. [var.
of earlier HOLLO]
helm(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a tiller or wheel by which a ship's rudder is
controlled. 2 the amount by which this is turned (more helm
needed). --v.tr. steer or guide as if with a helm. Ьat the
helm in control; at the head (of an organization etc.). [OE
helma, prob. related to HELVE]
helm(2) n. archaic helmet. ЬЬhelmed adj. [OE f. Gmc]
helmet n. 1 any of various protective head-coverings worn by soldiers,
policemen, firemen, divers, motor cyclists, etc. 2 Bot. the
arched upper part of the corolla in some flowers. 3 the shell
of a gastropod mollusc of the genus Cassis, used in jewellery.
ЬЬhelmeted adj. [ME f. OF, dimin. of helme f. WG (as HELM(2))]
helminth n. any of various parasitic worms including flukes, tapeworms,
and nematodes. ЬЬhelminthic adj. helminthoid adj.
helminthology n. [Gk helmins -inthos intestinal worm]
n. a disease characterized by the presence of any of several
parasitic worms in the body.
helmsman n. (pl. -men) a steersman.
helot n. a serf ( esp. Helot), of a class in ancient Sparta.
ЬЬhelotism n. helotry n. [L helotes pl. f. Gk heilotes, -otai,
erron. taken as = inhabitants of Helos, a Laconian town]
help v. & n. --v.tr. 1 provide (a person etc.) with the means
towards what is needed or sought (helped me with my work; helped
me (to) pay my debts). 2 (foll. by up, down, etc.) assist or
give support to (a person) in moving etc. as specified (helped
her into the chair; helped him on with his coat). 3 (often
absol.) be of use or service to (a person) (does that help?). 4
contribute to alleviating (a pain or difficulty). 5 prevent or
remedy (it can't be helped). 6 (usu. with neg.) a tr. refrain
from (can't help it; could not help laughing). b refl. refrain
from acting (couldn't help himself). 7 tr. (often foll. by to)
serve (a person with food) (shall I help you to greens?). --n.
1 the act of helping or being helped (we need your help; came to
our help). 2 a person or thing that helps. 3 a domestic
servant or employee, or several collectively. 4 a remedy or
escape (there is no help for it). Ьhelping hand assistance.
help oneself (often foll. by to) 1 serve oneself (with food). 2
take without seeking help or permission. help a person out give
a person help, esp. in difficulty. so help me (or help me God)
(as an invocation or oath) I am speaking the truth. ЬЬhelper n.
[OE helpan f. Gmc]
helpful n. (of a person or thing) giving help; useful. ЬЬhelpfully
adv. helpfulness n.
helping n. a portion of food esp. at a meal.
helpless adj. 1 lacking help or protection; defenceless. 2 unable to
act without help. ЬЬhelplessly adv. helplessness n.
helpline n. a telephone service providing help with problems.
helpmate n. a helpful companion or partner (usu. a husband or wife).
adv., adj., & n. --adv. & adj. in disorderly haste. --n.
Brit. a tall spiral slide round a tower, at a fairground or
funfair. [imit., orig. in a rhyming jingle, perh. f. ME skelte
helve n. the handle of a weapon or a tool. [OE helfe f. WG]
Helvetian adj. & n. --adj. Swiss. --n. a native of Switzerland. [L
hem(1) n. & v. --n. the border of a piece of cloth, esp. a cut edge
turned under and sewn down. --v.tr. (hemmed, hemming) turn
down and sew in the edge of (a piece of cloth etc.). Ьhem in
confine; restrict the movement of. [OE, perh. rel. to dial.
hem(2) int., n., & v. --int. calling attention or expressing
hesitation by a slight cough or clearing of the throat. --n. an
utterance of this. --v.intr. (hemmed, hemming) say hem;
hesitate in speech. Ьhem and haw = hum and haw (see HUM(1)).
US var. of HAEMAL etc.
US var. of HAEMATO- etc.
heme var. of HAEM.
n. = day lily. [L hemerocalles f. Gk hemerokalles a kind of
lily f. hemera day + kallos beauty]
hemi- comb. form half. [Gk hemi- = L semi-: see SEMI-]
-hemia comb. form US var. of -AEMIA.
n. (also hemianopia) blindness over half the field of vision.
n. any of various polysaccharides forming the matrix of plant
cell walls in which cellulose is embedded. [G (as HEMI-,
hemicycle n. a semicircular figure.
n. Mus. a note having the time value of half a demisemiquaver
and represented by a large dot with a four-hooked stem. Also
called sixty-fourth note.
adj. Crystallog. having half the number of planes required for
symmetry of the holohedral form.
n. Med. paralysis of one side of the body. ЬЬhemiplegic n. &
adj. [mod.L f. Gk hemiplegia paralysis (as HEMI-, plege
adj. of the insect order Hemiptera including aphids, bugs, and
cicadas, with piercing or sucking mouthparts. [HEMI- + Gk
n. 1 half of a sphere. 2 a half of the earth, esp. as divided
by the equator (into northern and southern hemisphere) or by a
line passing through the poles (into eastern and western
hemisphere). ЬЬhemispheric adj. hemispherical adj. [OF
emisphere & L hemisphaerium f. Gk hemisphaira (as HEMI, SPHERE)]
hemistich n. half of a line of verse. [LL hemistichium f. Gk
hemistikhion (as HEMI, stikhion f. stikhos line)]
hemline n. the line or level of the lower edge of a skirt, dress, or
hemlock n. 1 a a poisonous umbelliferous plant, Conium maculatum, with
fernlike leaves and small white flowers. b a poisonous potion
obtained from this. 2 (in full hemlock fir or spruce) a any
coniferous tree of the genus Tsuga, having foliage that smells
like hemlock when crushed. b the timber or pitch of these
trees. [OE hymlic(e)]
hemo- comb. form US var. of HAEMO-.
hemp n. 1 (in full Indian hemp) a herbaceous plant, Cannabis sativa,
native to Asia. 2 its fibre extracted from the stem and used to
make rope and stout fabrics. 3 any of several narcotic drugs
made from the hemp plant (cf. CANNABIS, MARIJUANA). 4 any of
several other plants yielding fibre, including Manila hemp and
sunn hemp. Ьhemp agrimony a composite plant, Eupatorium
cannabinum, with pale-purple flowers and hairy leaves.
hemp-nettle any of various nettle-like plants of the genus
Galeopsis. [OE henep, h‘nep f. Gmc, rel. to Gk kannabis]
hempen adj. made from hemp.
hemstitch n. & v. --n. a decorative stitch used in sewing hems. --v.tr.
hem with this stitch.
hen n. 1 a a female bird, esp. of a domestic fowl. b (in pl.)
domestic fowls of either sex. 2 a female lobster or crab or
salmon. Ьhen and chickens any of several plants esp. the
houseleek. hen-coop a coop for keeping fowls in. hen-harrier a
common harrier, Circus cyaneus. hen-house a small shed for
fowls to roost in. hen-party colloq. derog. a social
gathering of women. hen-roost a place where fowls roost at
night. hen-run an enclosure for fowls. [OE henn f. WG]
henbane n. 1 a poisonous herbaceous plant, Hyoscyamus niger, with
sticky hairy leaves and an unpleasant smell. 2 a narcotic drug
obtained from this.
hence adv. 1 from this time (two years hence). 2 for this reason; as
a result of inference (hence we seem to be wrong). 3 archaic
from here; from this place. [ME hens, hennes, henne f. OE
heonan f. the root of HE]
adv. (also henceforward) from this time onwards.
henchman n. (pl. -men) 1 a trusted supporter or attendant. 2 hist. a
squire; a page of honour. 3 the principal attendant of a
Highland chief. [ME henxman, hengestman f. OE hengst male
hendeca- comb. form eleven. [Gk hendeka eleven]
n. a plane figure with eleven sides and angles.
hendiadys n. the expression of an idea by two words connected with 'and',
instead of one modifying the other, e.g. nice and warm for
nicely warm. [med.L f. Gk hen dia duoin one thing by two]
henequen n. 1 a Mexican agave, Agave fourcroydes. 2 the sisal-like
fibre obtained from this. [Sp. jeniquen]
henge n. a prehistoric monument consisting of a circle of massive
stone or wood uprights. [back-form. f. Stonehenge, such a
monument in S. England]
henna n. 1 a tropical shrub, Lawsonia inermis, having small pink,
red, or white flowers. 2 the reddish dye from its shoots and
leaves esp. used to colour hair. [Arab. hinna']
hennaed adj. treated with henna.
n. belief in or adoption of a particular god in a polytheistic
system as the god of a tribe, class, etc. [Gk heis henos one +
henpeck v.tr. (of a woman) constantly harass (a man, esp. her husband).
henry n. (pl. -ies or henrys) Electr. the SI unit of inductance
which gives an electromotive force of one volt in a closed
circuit with a uniform rate of change of current of one ampere
per second. °Abbr.: H. [J. Henry, Amer. physicist d. 1878]
n. the study of Church festivals. [G Heortologie, F
h‚ortologie f. Gk heorte feast]
hep(1) var. of HIP(3).
hep(2) var. of HIP(2).
heparin n. Biochem. a substance produced in liver cells etc. which
inhibits blood coagulation, and is used as an anticoagulant in
the treatment of thrombosis. ЬЬheparinize v.tr. (also -ise).
[L f. Gk hepar liver]
hepatic adj. 1 of or relating to the liver. 2 dark brownish-red;
liver-coloured. [ME f. L hepaticus f. Gk hepatikos f. hepar
hepatica n. any plant of the genus Hepatica, with reddish-brown lobed
leaves resembling the liver. [med.L fem. of hepaticus: see
hepatitis n. inflammation of the liver. [mod.L: see HEPATIC]
n. a light and graceful style of furniture. [G. Hepplewhite,
Engl. cabinet-maker d. 1786]
hepta- comb. form seven. [Gk hepta seven]
heptad n. a group of seven. [Gk heptas -ados set of seven (hepta)]
heptagon n. a plane figure with seven sides and angles. ЬЬheptagonal
adj. [F heptagone or med.L heptagonum f. Gk (as HEPTA-, -GON)]
n. a solid figure with seven faces. ЬЬheptahedral adj.
[HEPTA- + -HEDRON after POLYHEDRON]
n. a line or verse of seven metrical feet. [L heptametrum f.
Gk (as HEPTA-, -METER)]
heptane n. Chem. a liquid hydrocarbon of the alkane series, obtained
from petroleum. °Chem. formula: CH. [HEPTA- + -ANE]
heptarchy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a government by seven rulers. b an instance
of this. 2 hist. the supposed seven kingdoms of the Angles and
the Saxons in Britain in the 7th-8th c. ЬЬheptarchic adj.
heptarchical adj. [HEPTA- after tetrarchy]
n. the first seven books of the Old Testament. [L f. Gk f.
hepta seven + teukhos book, volume]
adj. Chem. having a valency of seven; septivalent.
her pron. & poss.pron. --pron. 1 objective case of SHE (I like
her). 2 colloq. she (it's her all right; am older than her). 3
archaic herself (she fell and hurt her). --poss.pron. (attrib.)
1 of or belonging to her or herself (her house; her own
business). 2 (Her) (in titles) that she is (Her Majesty). [OE
hi(e)re dat. & gen. of hio, heo fem. of HE]
herald n. & v. --n. 1 an official messenger bringing news. 2 a
forerunner (spring is the herald of summer). 3 a hist. an
officer responsible for State ceremonial and etiquette. b Brit.
an official of the Heralds' College. --v.tr. proclaim the
approach of; usher in (the storm heralded trouble). ЬHeralds'
College Brit. colloq. = College of Arms. [ME f. OF herau(l)t,
herauder f. Gmc]
heraldic adj. of or concerning heraldry. ЬЬheraldically adv. [HERALD]
heraldist n. an expert in heraldry. [HERALD]
heraldry n. 1 the science or art of a herald, esp. in dealing with
armorial bearings. 2 heraldic pomp. 3 armorial bearings.
herb n. 1 any non-woody seed-bearing plant which dies down to the
ground after flowering. 2 any plant with leaves, seeds, or
flowers used for flavouring, food, medicine, scent, etc. Ьherb
bennet a common yellow-flowered plant, Geum urbanum. herb
Christopher a white-flowered baneberry, Actaea spicata. herb
Gerard a white-flowered plant, Aegopodium podagraria. herb
Paris a plant, Paris quadrifolia, with a single flower and four
leaves in a cross shape on an unbranched stem. herb Robert a
common cranesbill, Geranium robertianum, with red-stemmed leaves
and pink flowers. herb tea an infusion of herbs. herb tobacco
a mixture of herbs smoked as a substitute for tobacco.
ЬЬherbiferous adj. herblike adj. [ME f. OF erbe f. L herba
grass, green crops, herb; herb bennet prob. f. med.L herba
benedicta blessed herb (thought of as expelling the Devil)]
adj. of or like herbs (see HERB 1). Ьherbaceous border a
garden border containing esp. perennial flowering plants.
herbaceous perennial a plant whose growth dies down annually but
whose roots etc. survive. [L herbaceus grassy (as HERB)]
herbage n. 1 herbs collectively. 2 the succulent part of herbs, esp.
as pasture. 3 Law the right of pasture on another person's
land. [ME f. OF erbage f. med.L herbaticum, herbagium right of
pasture, f. L herba herb]
herbal adj. & n. --adj. of herbs in medicinal and culinary use. --n.
a book with descriptions and accounts of the properties of
these. [med.L herbalis (as HERB)]
herbalist n. 1 a dealer in medicinal herbs. 2 a person skilled in herbs,
esp. an early botanical writer.
herbarium n. (pl. herbaria) 1 a systematically arranged collection of
dried plants. 2 a book, room, or building for these. [LL (as
herbicide n. a substance toxic to plants and used to destroy unwanted
herbivore n. an animal that feeds on plants. ЬЬherbivorous adj. [L
herba herb + -VORE (see -VOROUS)]
herby adj. (herbier, herbiest) 1 abounding in herbs. 2 of the nature
of a culinary or medicinal herb.
Herculean adj. having or requiring great strength or effort. [L
Herculeus (as HERCULES)]
Hercules n. a man of exceptional strength or size. ЬHercules beetle
Zool. a large S. American beetle, Dynastes hercules, with two
horns extending from the head. [ME f. L f. Gk Herakles a hero
noted for his great strength]
Hercynian adj. Geol. of a mountain-forming time in the E. hemisphere in
the late Palaeozoic era. [L Hercynia silva forested mountains
of central Germany]
herd n. & v. --n. 1 a large number of animals, esp. cattle, feeding
or travelling or kept together. 2 (prec. by the) derog. a large
number of people; a mob (prefers not to follow the herd). 3
(esp. in comb.) a keeper of herds; a herdsman (cowherd). --v.
1 intr. & tr. go or cause to go in a herd (herded together for
warmth; herded the cattle into the field). 2 tr. tend (sheep,
cattle, etc.) (he herds the goats). Ьherd-book a book recording
the pedigrees of cattle or pigs. the herd instinct the tendency
of associating or conforming with one's own kind for support
etc. ride herd on US keep watch on. ЬЬherder n. [OE heord,
(in sense 3) hirdi, f. Gmc]
herdsman n. (pl. -men) the owner or keeper of herds (of domesticated
Herdwick n. 1 an animal of a hardy breed of mountain sheep from N.
England. 2 this breed. [obs. herdwick pasture-ground (as
HERD, WICK(2)), perh. because this breed originated in Furness
here adv., n., & int. --adv. 1 in or at or to this place or
position (put it here; has lived here for many years; comes here
every day). 2 indicating a person's presence or a thing offered
(here is your coat; my son here will show you). 3 at this point
in the argument, situation, etc. (here I have a question). --n.
this place (get out of here; lives near here; fill it up to
here). --int. 1 calling attention: short for come here, look
here, etc. (here, where are you going with that?). 2 indicating
one's presence in a roll-call: short for I am here. Ьhere and
now at this very moment; immediately. here and there in various
places. here goes! colloq. an expression indicating the start
of a bold act. here's to I drink to the health of. here we are
colloq. said on arrival at one's destination. here we go again
colloq. the same, usu. undesirable, events are recurring. here
you are said on handing something to somebody. neither here nor
there of no importance or relevance. [OE her f. Gmc: cf. HE]
adv. (also hereabout) near this place.
hereafter adv. & n. --adv. 1 from now on; in the future. 2 in the world
to come (after death). --n. 1 the future. 2 life after death.
hereat adv. archaic as a result of this.
hereby adv. by this means; as a result of this.
adj. that can be inherited. [obs. F h‚r‚ditable or med.L
hereditabilis f. eccl.L hereditare f. L heres -edis heir]
n. Law 1 any property that can be inherited. 2 inheritance.
[med.L hereditamentum (as HEREDITABLE)]
adj. 1 (of disease, instinct, etc.) able to be passed down from
one generation to another. 2 a descending by inheritance. b
holding a position by inheritance. 3 the same as or resembling
what one's parents had (a hereditary hatred). 4 of or relating
to inheritance. ЬЬhereditarily adv. hereditariness n. [L
hereditarius (as HEREDITY)]
heredity n. 1 a the passing on of physical or mental characteristics
genetically from one generation to another. b these
characteristics. 2 the genetic constitution of an individual.
[F h‚r‚dit‚ or L hereditas heirship (as HEIR)]
Hereford n. 1 an animal of a breed of red and white beef cattle. 2 this
breed. [Hereford in England, where it originated]
herein adv. formal in this matter, book, etc.
adv. esp. Law formal in a later part of this document etc.
adv. esp. Law formal in a preceding part of this document etc.
hereof adv. formal of this.
n. the leader or founder of a heresy. [eccl.L haeresiarcha f.
Gk hairesiarkhes (as HERESY + arkhes ruler)]
heresy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a belief or practice contrary to the orthodox
doctrine of the Christian Church. b an instance of this. 2 a
opinion contrary to what is normally accepted or maintained
(it's heresy to suggest that instant coffee is as good as the
real thing). b an instance of this. ЬЬheresiology n. [ME f.
OF (h)eresie, f. eccl.L haeresis, in L = school of thought, f.
Gk hairesis choice, sect f. haireomai choose]
heretic n. 1 the holder of an unorthodox opinion. 2 hist. a person
believing in or practising religious heresy. ЬЬheretical adj.
heretically adv. [ME f. OF heretique f. eccl.L haereticus f. Gk
hairetikos able to choose (as HERESY)]
hereto adv. formal to this matter.
adv. formal before this time.
hereunder adv. formal below (in a book, legal document, etc.).
hereunto adv. archaic to this.
hereupon adv. after this; in consequence of this.
herewith adv. with this (esp. of an enclosure in a letter etc.).
heriot n. Brit. hist. a tribute paid to a lord on the death of a
tenant, consisting of a live animal, a chattel, or, orig., the
return of borrowed equipment. [OE heregeatwa f. here army +
heritable adj. 1 Law a (of property) capable of being inherited by
heirs-at-law (cf. MOVABLE). b capable of inheriting. 2 Biol.
(of a characteristic) transmissible from parent to offspring.
ЬЬheritability n. heritably adv. [ME f. OF f. heriter f.
eccl.L hereditare: see HEREDITABLE]
heritage n. 1 anything that is or may be inherited. 2 inherited
circumstances, benefits, etc. (a heritage of confusion). 3 a
nation's historic buildings, monuments, countryside, etc., esp.
when regarded as worthy of preservation. 4 Bibl. a the ancient
Israelites. b the Church. [ME f. OF (as HERITABLE)]
heritor n. (esp. in Scottish Law) a person who inherits. [ME f. AF
heriter, OF heritier (as HEREDITARY), assim. to words in -OR(1)]
herl var. of HARL.
herm n. Gk Antiq. a squared stone pillar with a head (esp. of
Hermes) on top, used as a boundary-marker etc. (cf. TERMINUS
6). [L Herma f. Gk Hermes messenger of the gods]
n. & adj. --n. 1 a Zool. an animal having both male and female
sexual organs. b Bot. a plant having stamens and pistils in the
same flower. 2 a human being in which both male and female sex
organs are present, or in which the sex organs contain both
ovarian and testicular tissue. 3 a person or thing combining
opposite qualities or characteristics. --adj. 1 combining both
sexes. 2 combining opposite qualities or characteristics.
Ьhermaphrodite brig hist. a two-masted sailing ship rigged on
the foremast as a brig and on the mainmast as a schooner.
ЬЬhermaphroditic adj. hermaphroditical adj. hermaphroditism n.
[L hermaphroditus f. Gk hermaphroditos, orig. the name of a son
of Hermes and Aphrodite in Greek mythology, who became joined in
one body with the nymph Salmacis]
adj. concerning interpretation, esp. of Scripture or literary
texts. ЬЬhermeneutical adj. hermeneutically adv. [Gk
hermeneutikos f. hermeneuo interpret]
n.pl. (also treated as sing.) Bibl. interpretation, esp. of
Scripture or literary texts.
hermetic adj. (also hermetical) 1 with an airtight closure. 2 protected
from outside agencies. 3 a of alchemy or other occult sciences
(hermetic art). b esoteric. Ьhermetic seal an airtight seal
(orig. as used by alchemists). ЬЬhermetically adv. hermetism
n. [mod.L hermeticus irreg. f. Hermes Trismegistus
thrice-greatest Hermes (as the founder of alchemy)]
hermit n. 1 an early Christian recluse. 2 any person living in
solitude. Ьhermit-crab any crab of the family Paguridae that
lives in a cast-off mollusc shell for protection. hermit thrush
a migratory N. American thrush, Catharus guttatus. ЬЬhermitic
adj. [ME f. OF (h)ermite or f. LL eremita f. Gk eremites f.
eremia desert f. eremos solitary]
hermitage n. 1 a hermit's dwelling. 2 a monastery. 3 a solitary
dwelling. [ME f. OF (h)ermitage (as HERMIT)]
hernia n. (pl. hernias or herniae) the displacement and protrusion of
part of an organ through the wall of the cavity containing it,
esp. of the abdomen. ЬЬhernial adj. herniary adj. herniated
hero n. (pl. -oes) 1 a a man noted or admired for nobility,
courage, outstanding achievements, etc. (Newton, a hero of
science). b a great warrior. 2 the chief male character in a
poem, play, story, etc. 3 Gk Antiq. a man of superhuman
qualities, favoured by the gods; a demigod. Ьhero's welcome a
rapturous welcome, like that given to a successful warrior.
hero-worship n. 1 idealization of an admired man. 2 Gk Antiq.
worship of the ancient heroes. --v.tr. (-worshipped,
-worshipping; US -worshiped, -worshiping) worship as a hero;
idolize. hero-worshipper a person engaging in hero-worship.
[ME f. L heros f. Gk heros]
heroic adj. & n. --adj. 1 a (of an act or a quality) of or fit for a
hero. b (of a person) like a hero. 2 a (of language) grand,
high-flown, dramatic. b (of a work of art) heroic in scale or
subject. 3 (of poetry) dealing with the ancient heroes. --n.
(in pl.) 1 a high-flown language or sentiments. b unduly bold
behaviour. 2 = heroic verse. Ьthe heroic age the period in
Greek history before the return from Troy. heroic couplet two
lines of rhyming iambic pentameters. heroic verse a type of
verse used for heroic poetry, esp. the hexameter, the iambic
pentameter, or the alexandrine. ЬЬheroically adv. [F h‚ro‹que
or L heroicus f. Gk heroikos (as HERO)]
adj. (also heroi-comical) combining the heroic with the comic.
[F h‚ro‹-comique (as HERO, COMIC)]
heroin n. a highly addictive white crystalline analgesic drug derived
from morphine, often used as a narcotic. [G (as HERO, from its
effects on the user's self-esteem)]
heroine n. 1 a woman noted or admired for nobility, courage,
outstanding achievements, etc. 2 the chief female character in
a poem, play, story, etc. 3 Gk Antiq. a demigoddess. [F
h‚ro‹ne or L heroina f. Gk heroine, fem. of heros HERO]
heroism n. heroic conduct or qualities. [F h‚ro‹sme f. h‚ros HERO]
heroize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. a make a hero of. b make heroic. 2
intr. play the hero.
heron n. any of various large wading birds of the family Ardeidae,
esp. Ardea cinerea, with long legs and a long S-shaped neck.
ЬЬheronry n. (pl. -ies). [ME f. OF hairon f. Gmc]
herpes n. a virus disease with outbreaks of blisters on the skin etc.
Ьherpes simplex a viral infection which may produce blisters or
conjunctivitis. herpes zoster = SHINGLES. ЬЬherpetic adj. [ME
f. L f. Gk herpes -etos shingles f. herpo creep: zoster f. Gk
zoster belt, girdle]
n. the study of reptiles. ЬЬherpetological adj. herpetologist
n. [Gk herpeton reptile f. herpo creep]
Herr n. (pl. Herren) 1 the title of a German man; Mr. 2 a German
man. [G f. OHG herro compar. of her exalted]
n. 1 the German nation characterized by the Nazis as born to
mastery. 2 a group regarding itself as naturally superior. [G,
= master-race (as HERR, FOLK)]
herring n. a N. Atlantic fish, Clupea harengus, coming near the coast
in large shoals to spawn. Ьherring-gull a large gull, Larus
argentatus, with dark wing-tips. [OE h‘ring, hering f. WG]
n. & v. --n. 1 a stitch with a zigzag pattern, resembling the
pattern of a herring's bones. 2 this pattern, or cloth woven in
it. 3 any zigzag pattern, e.g. in building. 4 Skiing a method
of ascending a slope with the skis pointing outwards. --v. 1
tr. a work with a herring-bone stitch. b mark with a
herring-bone pattern. 2 intr. Skiing ascend a slope using the
n. a member of a Christian Moravian sect (see MORAVIAN). [G f.
Herrnhut (= the Lord's keeping), name of their first German
hers poss.pron. the one or ones belonging to or associated with her
(it is hers; hers are over there). Ьof hers of or belonging to
her (a friend of hers).
herself pron. 1 a emphat. form of SHE or HER (she herself will do it).
b refl. form of HER (she has hurt herself). 2 in her normal
state of body or mind (does not feel quite herself today). Ьbe
herself act in her normal unconstrained manner. by herself see
by oneself. [OE hire self (as HER, SELF)]
Herts. abbr. Hertfordshire.
hertz n. (pl. same) the SI unit of frequency, equal to one cycle per
second. °Abbr.: Hz. [H. R. Hertz, Ger. physicist d. 1894]
n. an electromagnetic wave of a length suitable for use in
he's contr. 1 he is. 2 he has.
hesitant adj. hesitating; irresolute. ЬЬhesitance n. hesitancy n.
hesitate v.intr. 1 (often foll. by about, over) show or feel indecision
or uncertainty; pause in doubt (hesitated over her choice). 2
(often foll. by to + infin.) be deterred by scruples; be
reluctant (I hesitate to inform against him). ЬЬhesitater n.
hesitatingly adv. hesitation n. hesitative adj. [L haesitare
frequent. of haerere haes- stick fast]
Hesperian adj. poet. 1 western. 2 (in Greek mythology) of or concerning
the Hesperides (nymphs who guarded the garden of golden apples
at the western extremity of the earth). [L Hesperius f. Gk
Hesperios (as HESPERUS)]
n. (pl. hesperidia) a fruit with sectioned pulp inside a
separable rind, e.g. an orange or grapefruit. [Gk Hesperides
daughters of Hesperus, nymphs in Greek mythology who guarded a
tree of golden apples]
Hesperus n. the evening star, Venus. [ME f. L f. Gk hesperos (adj. &
n.) western, evening (star)]
hessian n. & adj. --n. 1 a strong coarse sacking made of hemp or jute.
2 (Hessian) a native of Hesse in Germany. --adj. (Hessian) of
or concerning Hesse. ЬHessian boot a tasselled high boot first
worn by Hessian troops. Hessian fly a midge, Mayetiola
destructor, whose larva destroys growing wheat (thought to have
been brought to America by Hessian troops). [Hesse in Germany]
hest n. archaic behest. [OE h‘s (see HIGHT), assim. to ME nouns in
hetaera n. (also hetaira) (pl. -as, hetaerae, or hetairai) a courtesan
or mistress, esp. in ancient Greece. [Gk hetaira, fem. of
hetaerism n. (also hetairism) 1 a recognized system of concubinage. 2
communal marriage in a tribe. [Gk hetairismos prostitution (as
hetero n. (pl. -os) colloq. a heterosexual. [abbr.]
hetero- comb. form other, different (often opp. HOMO-). [Gk heteros
adj. of several colours.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 abnormal. 2 Gram. (esp. of a noun)
irregularly declined. --n. 1 an abnormal thing or person. 2
Gram. an irregularly declined word, esp. a noun. [LL
heteroclitus f. Gk (as HETERO-, klitos f. klino bend, inflect)]
adj. Chem. (of a compound) with a bonded ring of atoms of more
than one kind.
heterodox adj. (of a person, opinion, etc.) not orthodox. ЬЬheterodoxy
n. [LL heterodoxus f. Gk (as HETERO-, doxos f. doxa opinion)]
adj. & v. Radio --adj. relating to the production of a lower
frequency from the combination of two almost equal high
frequencies. --v.intr. produce a lower frequency in this way.
adj. 1 Bot. irregular as regards stamens and pistils. 2 Biol.
characterized by heterogamy or heterogony.
n. 1 the alternation of generations, esp. of a sexual and
parthenogenic generation. 2 sexual reproduction by fusion of
unlike gametes. 3 Bot. a state in which the flowers of a plant
are of two types.
adj. 1 diverse in character. 2 varied in content. 3 Math.
incommensurable through being of different kinds or degrees.
ЬЬheterogeneity n. heterogeneously adv. heterogeneousness n.
[med.L heterogeneus f. Gk heterogenes (as HETERO-, genos kind)]
n. 1 the birth of a living being otherwise than from parents of
the same kind. 2 spontaneous generation from inorganic matter.
n. the alternation of generations, esp. of a sexual and
hermaphroditic generation. ЬЬheterogonous adj.
n. living tissue grafted from one individual to another of a
adj. not homologous. ЬЬheterology n.
adj. not isomerous.
adj. (also heteromorphous) Biol. 1 of dissimilar forms. 2 (of
insects) existing in different forms at different stages in
their life cycle.
n. existing in various forms.
adj. 1 subject to an external law (cf. AUTONOMOUS). 2 Biol.
subject to different laws (of growth etc.).
n. 1 the presence of a different law. 2 subjection to an
adj. 1 allopathic. 2 differing in effect.
adj. bearing leaves of different forms on the same plant.
ЬЬheterophylly n. [HETERO- + Gk phullon leaf]
adj. having dissimilar poles, esp. Electr. with an armature
passing north and south magnetic poles alternately.
n. any insect of the suborder Heteroptera, including bugs, with
non-uniform fore-wings having a thickened base and membranous
tip (cf. HOMOPTERAN). ЬЬheteropterous adj. [HETERO- + Gk
adj. & n. --adj. 1 feeling or involving sexual attraction to
persons of the opposite sex. 2 concerning heterosexual
relations or people. 3 relating to the opposite sex. --n. a
heterosexual person. ЬЬheterosexuality n. heterosexually adv.
heterosis n. the tendency of a cross-bred individual to show qualities
superior to those of both parents. [Gk f. heteros different]
n. the abnormal disposition of organs or parts. [HETERO- + Gk
n. = HETEROGRAFT.
adj. Biol. deriving its nourishment and carbon requirements
from organic substances; not autotrophic. [HETERO- + Gk trophos
n. Biol. 1 a zygote resulting from the fusion of unlike
gametes. 2 an individual with dominant and recessive alleles
determining a particular characteristic. ЬЬheterozygous adj.
hetman n. (pl. -men) a Polish or Cossack military commander. [Pol.,
prob. f. G Hauptmann captain]
het up adj. colloq. excited, overwrought. [het dial. past part. of
heuchera n. any N. American herbaceous plant of the genus Heuchera, with
dark-green round or heart-shaped leaves and tiny flowers.
[mod.L f. J. H. von Heucher, Ger. botanist d. 1747]
heuristic adj. & n. --adj. 1 allowing or assisting to discover. 2
Computing proceeding to a solution by trial and error. --n. 1
the science of heuristic procedure. 2 a heuristic process or
method. 3 (in pl., usu. treated as sing.) Computing the study
and use of heuristic techniques in data processing. Ьheuristic
method a system of education under which pupils are trained to
find out things for themselves. ЬЬheuristically adv. [irreg.
f. Gk heurisko find]
hevea n. any S. American tree of the genus Hevea, yielding a milky
sap used for making rubber. [mod.L f. native name hev‚]
HEW abbr. US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
hew v. (past part. hewn or hewed) 1 tr. a (often foll. by down,
away, off) chop or cut (a thing) with an axe, a sword, etc. b
cut (a block of wood etc.) into shape. 2 intr. (often foll. by
at, among, etc.) strike cutting blows. 3 intr. US (usu. foll.
by to) conform. Ьhew one's way make a way for oneself by
hewing. [OE heawan f. Gmc]
hewer n. 1 a person who hews. 2 a person who cuts coal from a seam.
Ьhewers of wood and drawers of water menial drudges; labourers
hex v. & n. US --v. 1 intr. practise witchcraft. 2 tr. bewitch.
--n. 1 a magic spell. 2 a witch. [Pennsylvanian G hexe (v.),
Hex (n.), f. G hexen, Hexe]
hexa- comb. form six. [Gk hex six]
hexachord n. a diatonic series of six notes with a semitone between the
third and fourth, used at three different pitches in medieval
music. [HEXA- + CHORD(1)]
hexad n. a group of six. [Gk hexas -ados f. hex six]
adj. & n. esp. Computing. --adj. relating to or using a system
of numerical notation that has 16 rather than 10 as a base.
--n. the hexadecimal system; hexadecimal notation.
hexagon n. a plane figure with six sides and angles. ЬЬhexagonal adj.
[LL hexagonum f. Gk (as HEXA-, -GON)]
hexagram n. 1 a figure formed by two intersecting equilateral triangles.
2 a figure of six lines. [HEXA- + Gk gramma line]
n. a solid figure with six faces. ЬЬhexahedral adj. [Gk (as
hexameter n. a line or verse of six metrical feet. Ьdactylic hexameter a
hexameter having five dactyls and a spondee or trochee, any of
the first four feet, and sometimes the fifth, being replaceable
by a spondee. ЬЬhexametric adj. hexametrist n. [ME f. L f. Gk
hexametros (as HEXA-, metron measure)]
hexane n. Chem. a liquid hydrocarbon of the alkane series. °Chem.
formula: CH. [HEXA- + -ANE]
hexapla n. a sixfold text, esp. of the Old Testament, in parallel
columns. [Gk neut. pl. of hexaploos (as HEXA-, ploos -fold),
orig. of Origen's OT text]
hexapod n. & adj. --n. any arthropod with six legs; an insect. --adj.
having six legs. [Gk hexapous, hexapod- (as HEXA-, pous pod-
hexastyle n. & adj. --n. a six-columned portico. --adj. having six
columns. [Gk hexastulos (as HEXA-, stulos column)]
Hexateuch n. the first six books of the Old Testament. [Gk hex six +
adj. having a valency of six; sexivalent.
hexose n. Biochem. a monosaccharide with six carbon atoms in each
molecule, e.g. glucose or fructose. [HEXA- + -OSE(2)]
hey(1) int. calling attention or expressing joy, surprise, inquiry,
enthusiasm, etc. Ьhey presto! a phrase of command, or
indicating a successful trick, used by a conjuror etc. [ME: cf.
OF hay, Du., G hei]
hey(2) var. of HAY(2).
heyday n. the flush or full bloom of youth, vigour, prosperity, etc.
[archaic heyday expression of joy, surprise, etc.: cf. LG heidi,
heida, excl. denoting gaiety]
HI abbr. US 1 Hawaii (also in official postal use). 2 the
hi int. calling attention or as a greeting. [parallel form to
hiatus n. (pl. hiatuses) 1 a break or gap, esp. in a series, account,
or chain of proof. 2 Prosody & Gram. a break between two vowels
coming together but not in the same syllable, as in though oft
the ear. ЬЬhiatal adj. [L, = gaping f. hiare gape]
hibernate v.intr. 1 (of some animals) spend the winter in a dormant
state. 2 remain inactive. ЬЬhibernation n. hibernator n. [L
hibernare f. hibernus wintry]
Hibernian adj. & n. archaic poet. --adj. of or concerning Ireland. --n.
a native of Ireland. [L Hibernia, Iverna f. Gk Ierne f. OCelt.]
n. an Irish idiom or expression; = BULL(3) 1. [as HIBERNIAN
after Anglicism etc.]
Hiberno- comb. form Irish (Hiberno-British). [med.L hibernus Irish (as
hibiscus n. any tree or shrub of the genus Hibiscus, cultivated for its
large bright-coloured flowers. Also called rose-mallow. [L f.
Gk hibiskos marsh mallow]
hic int. expressing the sound of a hiccup, esp. a drunken hiccup.
hiccup n. & v. (also hiccough) --n. 1 a an involuntary spasm of the
diaphragm and respiratory organs, with sudden closure of the
glottis and characteristic coughlike sound. b (in pl.) an
attack of such spasms. 2 a temporary or minor stoppage or
difficulty. --v. 1 intr. make a hiccup or series of hiccups.
2 tr. utter with a hiccup. ЬЬhiccupy adj. [imit.]
hic jacet n. an epitaph. [L, = here lies]
hick n. esp. US colloq. a country dweller; a provincial.
[pet-form of the name Richard: cf. DICK(1)]
hickey n. (pl. -eys) US colloq. a gadget (cf. DOOHICKEY). [20th
c.: orig. unkn.]
hickory n. (pl. -ies) 1 any N. American tree of the genus Carya,
yielding tough heavy wood and bearing nutlike edible fruits (see
PECAN). 2 a the wood of these trees. b a stick made of this.
[native Virginian pohickery]
hid past of HIDE(1).
hidalgo n. (pl. -os) a Spanish gentleman. [Sp. f. hijo dalgo son of
hidden past part. of HIDE(1). ЬЬhiddenness n.
hide(1) v. & n. --v. (past hid; past part. hidden or archaic hid) 1
tr. put or keep out of sight (hid it under the cushion; hid her
in the cupboard). 2 intr. conceal oneself. 3 tr. (usu. foll.
by from) keep (a fact) secret (hid his real motive from her). 4
tr. conceal (a thing) from sight intentionally or not (trees hid
the house). --n. Brit. a camouflaged shelter used for
observing wildlife or hunting animals. Ьhidden reserves extra
profits, resources, etc. kept concealed in reserve.
hide-and-seek 1 a children's game in which one or more players
seek a child or children hiding. 2 a process of attempting to
find an evasive person or thing. hide one's head keep out of
sight, esp. from shame. hide one's light under a bushel conceal
one's merits (Matthew 5:15). hide out (or up) remain in
concealment. hide-out colloq. a hiding-place. hidey- (or
hidy-) hole colloq. a hiding-place. ЬЬhider n. [OE hydan f.
hide(2) n. & v. --n. 1 the skin of an animal, esp. when tanned or
dressed. 2 colloq. the human skin (saved his own hide; I'll tan
your hide). --v.tr. colloq. flog. ЬЬhided adj. (also in
comb.). [OE hyd f. Gmc]
hide(3) n. a former measure of land large enough to support a family
and its dependants, usu. between 60 and 120 acres. [OE hi(gi)d
f. hiw-, hig- household]
hideaway n. a hiding-place or place of retreat.
hidebound adj. 1 a narrow-minded; bigoted. b (of the law, rules, etc.)
constricted by tradition. 2 (of cattle) with the skin clinging
close as a result of bad feeding. [HIDE(2) + BOUND(4)]
hideosity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a hideous object. 2 hideousness.
hideous adj. 1 frightful, repulsive, or revolting, to the senses or the
mind (a hideous monster; a hideous pattern). 2 colloq.
unpleasant. ЬЬhideously adv. hideousness n. [ME hidous f. AF
hidous, OF hidos, -eus, f. OF hide, hisde fear, of unkn. orig.]
hiding(1) n. colloq. a thrashing. Ьon a hiding to nothing in a position
from which there can be no successful outcome. [HIDE(2) +
hiding(2) n. 1 the act or an instance of hiding. 2 the state of
remaining hidden (go into hiding). Ьhiding-place a place of
concealment. [ME, f. HIDE(1) + -ING(1)]
hidrosis n. Med. perspiration. ЬЬhidrotic adj. [mod.L f. Gk f.
hie v.intr. & refl. (hies, hied, hieing or hying) archaic or poet.
go quickly (hie to your chamber; hied him to the chase). [OE
higian strive, pant, of unkn. orig.]
hierarch n. 1 a chief priest. 2 an archbishop. ЬЬhierarchal adj.
[med.L f. Gk hierarkhes f. hieros sacred + - arkhes ruler]
hierarchy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a system in which grades or classes of
status or authority are ranked one above the other (ranks third
in the hierarchy). b the hierarchical system (of government,
management, etc.). 2 a priestly government. b a priesthood
organized in grades. 3 a each of the three divisions of angels.
b the angels. ЬЬhierarchic adj. hierarchical adj. hierarchism
n. hierarchize v.tr. (also -ise). [ME f. OF ierarchie f.
med.L (h)ierarchia f. Gk hierarkhia (as HIERARCH)]
hieratic adj. 1 of or concerning priests. 2 of the ancient Egyptian
writing of abridged hieroglyphics as used by priests (opp.
DEMOTIC). 3 of or concerning Egyptian or Greek traditional
styles of art. 4 priestly. ЬЬhieratically adv. [L f. Gk
hieratikos f. hieraomai be a priest f. hiereus priest]
hiero- comb. form sacred, holy. [Gk hieros sacred + -O-]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 priestly rule. 2 a body of ruling priests.
[HIERO- + -CRACY]
n. 1 a a picture of an object representing a word, syllable, or
sound, as used in ancient Egyptian and other writing. b a
writing consisting of characters of this kind. 2 a secret or
enigmatic symbol. 3 (in pl.) joc. writing difficult to read.
[back-form. f. HIEROGLYPHIC]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or written in hieroglyphs. 2
symbolical. --n. (in pl.) hieroglyphs; hieroglyphic writing.
ЬЬhieroglyphical adj. hieroglyphically adv. [F hi‚roglyphique
or LL hieroglyphicus f. Gk hieroglyphikos (as HIERO-, gluphikos
f. gluphe carving)]
hierogram n. a sacred inscription or symbol.
n. = HIEROGRAM.
n. the worship of saints or sacred things.
hierology n. sacred literature or lore.
n. 1 Gk Antiq. an initiating or presiding priest; an official
interpreter of sacred mysteries. 2 an interpreter of sacred
mysteries or any esoteric principle. ЬЬhierophantic adj. [LL
hierophantes f. Gk hierophantes (as HIERO-, phantes f. phaino
hi-fi adj. & n. colloq. --adj. = high fidelity. --n. (pl. hi-fis)
a set of equipment for high-fidelity sound reproduction.
higgle v.intr. dispute about terms; haggle. [var. of HAGGLE]
adv., adj., & n. --adv. & adj. in confusion or disorder. --n.
a state of disordered confusion. [rhyming jingle, prob. with
ref. to the irregular herding together of pigs]
high adj., n., & adv. --adj. 1 a of great vertical extent (a high
building). b (predic.; often in comb.) of a specified height
(one inch high; water was waist-high). 2 a far above ground or
sea level etc. (a high altitude). b inland, esp. when raised
(High Asia). 3 extending above the normal or average level
(high boots; jersey with a high neck). 4 of exalted, esp.
spiritual, quality (high minds; high principles; high art). 5
of exalted rank (in high society; is high in the Government). 6
a great; intense; extreme; powerful (high praise; high
temperature). b greater than normal (high prices). c extreme
in religious or political opinion (high Tory). 7 (of physical
action, esp. athletics) performed at, to, or from a considerable
height (high diving; high flying). 8 colloq. (often foll. by
on) intoxicated by alcohol or esp. drugs. 9 (of a sound or
note) of high frequency; shrill; at the top end of the scale.
10 (of a period, an age, a time, etc.) at its peak (high noon;
high summer; High Renaissance). 11 a (of meat) beginning to go
bad; off. b (of game) well-hung and slightly decomposed. 12
Geog. (of latitude) near the North or South Pole. 13 Phonet.
(of a vowel) close (see CLOSE(1) adj. 14). --n. 1 a high, or
the highest, level or figure. 2 an area of high barometric
pressure; an anticyclone. 3 sl. a euphoric drug-induced state.
4 top gear in a motor vehicle. 5 US colloq. high school. 6
(the High) Brit. colloq. a High Street, esp. that in Oxford.
--adv. 1 far up; aloft (flew the flag high). 2 in or to a high
degree. 3 at a high price. 4 (of a sound) at or to a high
pitch (sang high). Ьace (or King or Queen etc.) high (in card
games) having the ace etc. as the highest-ranking card. from on
high from heaven or a high place. High Admiral etc. a chief
officer. high altar the chief altar of a church. high and dry
1 out of the current of events; stranded. 2 (of a ship) out of
the water. high and low 1 everywhere (searched high and low).
2 (people) of all conditions. high and mighty 1 colloq.
arrogant. 2 archaic of exalted rank. high-born of noble birth.
high camp sophisticated camp (cf. CAMP(2)). high card a card
that outranks others, esp. the ace or a court-card. high chair
an infant's chair with long legs and a tray, for use at meals.
High Church n. a section of the Church of England emphasizing
ritual, priestly authority, and sacraments. --adj. of or
relating to this section. High Churchman (pl. -men) an
advocate of High Church principles. high-class of high quality.
high colour a flushed complexion. high command an army
commander-in-chief and associated staff. High Commission an
embassy from one Commonwealth country to another. High
Commissioner the head of such an embassy. High Court (also in
England High Court of Justice) a supreme court of justice for
civil cases. high day a festal day. High Dutch see DUTCH.
high enema an enema delivered into the colon. higher animal (or
plant) an animal or plant evolved to a high degree. higher
court Law a court that can overrule the decision of another.
the higher criticism see CRITICISM. higher education education
at university etc., esp. to degree level. higher mathematics
advanced mathematics as taught at university etc. higher-up
colloq. a person of higher rank. highest common factor Math.
the highest number that can be divided exactly into each of two
or more numbers. high explosive an extremely explosive
substance used in shells, bombs, etc. high fashion = HAUTE
COUTURE. high fidelity the reproduction of sound with little
distortion, giving a result very similar to the original. high
finance financial transactions involving large sums. high-flown
(of language etc.) extravagant, bombastic. high-flyer (or
-flier) 1 an ambitious person. 2 a person or thing with great
potential for achievement. high-flying reaching a great height;
ambitious. high frequency a frequency, esp. in radio, of 3 to
30 megahertz. high gear see GEAR. High German see GERMAN.
high-grade of high quality. high hat 1 a tall hat; a top hat.
2 foot-operated cymbals. 3 a snobbish or overbearing person.
high-hat --adj. supercilious; snobbish. --v. (-hatted,
-hatting) US 1 tr. treat superciliously. 2 intr. assume a
superior attitude. high holiday the Jewish New Year or the Day
of Atonement. high jinks boisterous joking or merrymaking.
high-jump 1 an athletic event consisting of jumping as high as
possible over a bar of adjustable height. 2 colloq. a drastic
punishment (he's for the high-jump). high-key Photog.
consisting of light tones only. high kick a dancer's kick high
in the air. high-level 1 (of negotiations etc.) conducted by
high-ranking people. 2 Computing (of a programming language)
that is not machine-dependent and is usu. at a level of
abstraction close to natural language. high life (or living) a
luxurious existence ascribed to the upper classes. high-lows
archaic boots reaching over the ankles. high mass see MASS(2).
high-octane (of petrol etc.) having good antiknock properties.
high old colloq. most enjoyable (had a high old time). high
opinion of a favourable opinion of. high-pitched 1 (of a sound)
high. 2 (of a roof) steep. 3 (of style etc.) lofty. high
places the upper ranks of an organization etc. high point the
maximum or best state reached. high polymer a polymer having a
high molecular weight. high-powered 1 having great power or
energy. 2 important or influential. high pressure 1 a high
degree of activity or exertion. 2 a condition of the atmosphere
with the pressure above average. high priest 1 a chief priest,
esp. Jewish. 2 the head of any cult. high profile exposure to
attention or publicity. high-profile adj. (usu. attrib.)
having a high profile. high-ranking of high rank, senior. high
relief see RELIEF. high-rise 1 (of a building) having many
storeys. 2 such a building. high-risk (usu. attrib.)
involving or exposed to danger (high-risk sports). high road 1
a main road. 2 (usu. foll. by to) a direct route (on the high
road to success). high roller US sl. a person who gambles
large sums or spends freely. high school 1 Brit. a grammar
school. 2 US & Sc. a secondary school. high sea (or seas) open
seas not within any country's jurisdiction. high season the
period of the greatest number of visitors at a resort etc. High
Sheriff see SHERIFF. high sign US colloq. a surreptitious
gesture indicating that all is well or that the coast is clear.
high-sounding pretentious, bombastic. high-speed 1 operating at
great speed. 2 (of steel) suitable for cutting-tools even when
red-hot. high-spirited vivacious; cheerful. high-spiritedness
= high spirits. high spirits vivacity; energy; cheerfulness.
high spot sl. an important place or feature. high-stepper 1 a
horse that lifts its feet high when walking or trotting. 2 a
stately person. High Steward see STEWARD n. 6. high street
Brit. a main road, esp. the principal shopping street of a
town. high-strung = highly-strung. high table a table on a
platform at a public dinner or for the fellows of a college.
high tea Brit. a main evening meal usu. consisting of a cooked
dish, bread and butter, tea, etc. high tech n. = high
technology. --adj. 1 (of interior design etc.) imitating
styles more usual in industry etc., esp. using steel, glass, or
plastic in a functional way. 2 employing, requiring, or
involved in high technology. high technology advanced
technological development, esp. in electronics. high-tensile
(of metal) having great tensile strength. high tension = high
voltage. high tide the time or level of the tide at its flow.
high time a time that is late or overdue (it is high time they
arrived). high-toned stylish; dignified; superior. high
treason see TREASON. high-up colloq. a person of high rank.
high voltage electrical potential causing some danger of injury
or damage. high water 1 the tide at its fullest. 2 the time of
this. high-water mark 1 the level reached at high water. 2 the
maximum recorded value or highest point of excellence. high,
wide, and handsome colloq. in a carefree or stylish manner.
high wire a high tightrope. high words angry talk. high yellow
US a person of mixed race with a palish skin. in high feather
see FEATHER. the Most High God. on high in or to heaven or a
high place. on one's high horse colloq. behaving
superciliously or arrogantly. play high 1 play for high stakes.
2 play a card of high value. run high 1 (of the sea) have a
strong current with high tide. 2 (of feelings) be strong. [OE
heah f. Gmc]
highball n. US 1 a drink of spirits and soda etc., served with ice in a
tall glass. 2 a railway signal to proceed.
n. US a ruffian; a swindler; an assassin.
highboy n. US a tall chest of drawers on legs.
highbrow adj. & n. colloq. --adj. intellectual; cultural. --n. an
intellectual or cultured person.
adj. & n. (also highfaluting) colloq. --adj. absurdly pompous
or pretentious. --n. highfalutin speech or writing. [HIGH + -
falutin, of unkn. orig.]
adj. disregarding others' feelings; overbearing.
ЬЬhigh-handedly adv. high-handedness n.
highland n. & adj. --n. (usu. in pl.) 1 an area of high land. 2 (the
Highlands) the mountainous part of Scotland. --adj. of or in a
highland or the Highlands. ЬHighland cattle 1 cattle of a
shaggy-haired breed with long curved widely-spaced horns. 2
this breed. Highland dress the kilt etc. Highland fling see
FLING n. 3. ЬЬhighlander n. (also Highlander). Highlandman
n. (pl. -men). [OE heahlond promontory (as HIGH, LAND)]
highlight n. & v. --n. 1 (in a painting etc.) a light area, or one
seeming to reflect light. 2 a moment or detail of vivid
interest; an outstanding feature. 3 (usu. in pl.) a bright tint
in the hair produced by bleaching. --v.tr. 1 a bring into
prominence; draw attention to. b mark with a highlighter. 2
create highlights in (the hair).
n. a marker pen which overlays colour on a printed word etc.,
leaving it legible and emphasized.
highly adv. 1 in a high degree (highly amusing; highly probable;
commend it highly). 2 honourably; favourably (think highly of
him). Ьhighly-strung very sensitive or nervous. [OE healice
adj. 1 having high moral principles. 2 archaic proud.
ЬЬhigh-mindedly adv. high-mindedness n.
n. US a person of great self-importance. [perh. f. Chinook hiu
plenty + muckamuck food]
highness n. 1 the state of being high (highness of taxation) (cf.
HEIGHT). 2 (Highness) a title used in addressing and referring
to a prince or princess (Her Highness; Your Royal Highness).
[OE heanes (as HIGH)]
hight adj. archaic poet., or joc. called; named. [past part. (from
14th c.) of OE hatan command, call]
hightail v.intr. US colloq. move at high speed.
highway n. 1 a a public road. b a main route (by land or water). 2 a
direct course of action (on the highway to success). ЬHighway
Code Brit. the official booklet of guidance for road-users.
King's (or Queen's) highway a public road, regarded as being
under the sovereign's protection.
n. (pl. -men) hist. a robber of passengers, travellers, etc.,
usu. mounted. [HIGHWAY]
HIH abbr. Her or His Imperial Highness.
hijack v. & n. --v.tr. 1 seize control of (a loaded lorry, an
aircraft in flight, etc.), esp. to force it to a different
destination. 2 seize (goods) in transit. 3 take over (an
organization etc.) by force or subterfuge in order to redirect
it. --n. an instance of hijacking. ЬЬhijacker n. [20th c.:
hijra var. of HEGIRA.
hike n. & v. --n. 1 a long country walk, esp. with rucksacks etc.
2 esp. US an increase (of prices etc.). --v. 1 intr. walk,
esp. across country, for a long distance, esp. with boots,
rucksack, etc. 2 (usu. foll. by up) a tr. hitch up (clothing
etc.); hoist; shove. b intr. work upwards out of place, become
hitched up. 3 tr. esp. US increase (prices etc.). ЬЬhiker n.
[19th-c. dial.: orig. unkn.]
hila pl. of HILUM.
hilarious adj. 1 exceedingly funny. 2 boisterously merry. ЬЬhilariously
adv. hilariousness n. hilarity n. [L hilaris f. Gk hilaros
n. Brit. the university term beginning in January, esp. at
Oxford. [Hilarius bishop of Poitiers d. 367, with a festival on
hill n. & v. --n. 1 a a naturally raised area of land, not as high
as a mountain. b (as the hills) Anglo-Ind. = hill-station. 2
(often in comb.) a heap; a mound (anthill; dunghill). 3 a
sloping piece of road. --v.tr. 1 form into a hill. 2 (usu.
foll. by up) bank up (plants) with soil. Ьhill and dale (of a
gramophone record) with groove-undulations in a vertical plane.
hill-billy (pl. -ies) US 1 colloq., often derog. a person from
a remote rural area in a southern State (cf. HICK). 2 folk
music of or like that of the southern US. hill climb a race for
vehicles up a steep hill. hill-fort a fort built on a hill.
hill-station Anglo-Ind. a government settlement, esp. for
holidays etc. during the hot season, in the low mountains of N.
India. old as the hills very ancient. over the hill colloq. 1
past the prime of life; declining. 2 past the crisis. up hill
and down dale see UP. [OE hyll]
hillock n. a small hill or mound. ЬЬhillocky adj.
hillside n. the sloping side of a hill.
hilltop n. the summit of a hill.
n. the pastime of walking in hilly country. ЬЬhillwalker n.
hilly adj. (hillier, hilliest) having many hills. ЬЬhilliness n.
hilt n. & v. --n. 1 the handle of a sword, dagger, etc. 2 the
handle of a tool. --v.tr. provide with a hilt. Ьup to the hilt
completely. [OE hilt(e) f. Gmc]
hilum n. (pl. hila) 1 Bot. the point of attachment of a seed to its
seed-vessel. 2 Anat. a notch or indentation where a vessel
enters an organ. [L, = little thing, trifle]
HIM abbr. Her or His Imperial Majesty.
him pron. 1 objective case of HE (I saw him). 2 colloq. he (it's
him again; is taller than him). 3 archaic himself (fell and
hurt him). [OE, masc. and neut. dative sing. of HE, IT(1)]
Himalayan adj. of or relating to the Himalaya mountains in Nepal.
[Himalaya Skr. f. hima snow + alaya abode]
himation n. hist. the outer garment worn by the ancient Greeks over the
left shoulder and under the right. [Gk]
himself pron. 1 a emphat. form of HE or HIM (he himself will do it). b
refl. form of HIM (he has hurt himself). 2 in his normal state
of body or mind (does not feel quite himself today). 3 esp.
Ir. a third party of some importance; the master of the house.
Ьbe himself act in his normal unconstrained manner. by himself
see by oneself. [OE (as HIM, SELF)]
Hinayana n. = THERAVADA. [Skr. f. hina lesser + yana vehicle]
hind(1) adj. (esp. of parts of the body) situated at the back,
posterior (hind leg) (opp. FORE). Ьon one's hind legs see LEG.
[ME, perh. shortened f. OE bihindan BEHIND]
hind(2) n. a female deer (usu. a red deer or sika), esp. in and after
the third year. [OE f. Gmc]
hind(3) n. hist. 1 esp. Sc. a skilled farm-worker, usu. married and
with a tied cottage, and formerly having charge of two horses.
2 a steward on a farm. 3 a rustic, a boor. [ME hine f. OE hine
(pl.) app. f. hi(g)na genit. pl. of higan, hiwan 'members of a
family' (cf. HIDE(3)): for -d cf. SOUND(1)]
hinder(1) v.tr. (also absol.) impede; delay; prevent (you will hinder
him; hindered me from working). [OE hindrian f. Gmc]
hinder(2) adj. rear, hind (the hinder part). [ME, perh. f. OE
hinderweard backward: cf. HIND(1)]
Hindi n. & adj. --n. 1 a group of spoken dialects of N. India. 2 a
literary form of Hindustani with a Sanskrit-based vocabulary and
the Devanagari script, an official language of India. --adj. of
or concerning Hindi. [Urdu hindi f. Hind India]
hindmost adj. furthest behind; most remote.
Hindoo archaic var. of HINDU.
n.pl. the hind legs and adjoining parts of a quadruped.
hindrance n. 1 the act or an instance of hindering; the state of being
hindered. 2 a thing that hinders; an obstacle.
hindsight n. 1 wisdom after the event (realized with hindsight that they
were wrong) (opp. FORESIGHT). 2 the backsight of a gun.
Hindu n. & adj. --n. 1 a follower of Hinduism. 2 archaic an Indian.
--adj. 1 of or concerning Hindus or Hinduism. 2 archaic
Indian. [Urdu f. Pers. f. Hind India]
Hinduism n. the main religious and social system of India, including
belief in reincarnation, the worship of several gods, and a
caste system as the basis of society. ЬЬHinduize v.tr. (also
n. & adj. --n. 1 a language based on Western Hindi, with
elements of Arabic, Persian, etc., used as a lingua franca in
much of India. 2 archaic Urdu. --adj. of or relating to
Hindustan or its people, or Hindustani. [Urdu f. Pers.
hindustani (as HINDU, stan country)]
hinge n. & v. --n. 1 a a movable, usu. metal, joint or mechanism
such as that by which a door is hung on a side post. b Biol. a
natural joint performing a similar function, e.g. that of a
bivalve shell. 2 a central point or principle on which
everything depends. --v. 1 intr. (foll. by on) a depend (on a
principle, an event, etc.) (all hinges on his acceptance). b
(of a door etc.) hang and turn (on a post etc.). 2 tr. attach
with or as if with a hinge. Ьstamp-hinge a small piece of
gummed transparent paper used for fixing postage stamps in an
album etc. ЬЬhinged adj. hingeless adj. hingewise adv. [ME
heng etc., rel. to HANG]
hinny(1) n. (pl. -ies) the offspring of a female donkey and a male
horse. [L hinnus f. Gk hinnos]
hinny(2) n. (also hinnie) (pl. -ies) Sc. & N.Engl. (esp. as a form of
address) darling, sweetheart. Ьsinging hinny a currant cake
baked on a griddle. [var. of HONEY]
hint n. & v. --n. 1 a slight or indirect indication or suggestion
(took the hint and left). 2 a small piece of practical
information (handy hints on cooking). 3 a very small trace; a
suggestion (a hint of perfume). --v.tr. (often foll. by that +
clause) suggest slightly (hinted the contrary; hinted that they
were wrong). Ьhint at give a hint of; refer indirectly to.
[app. f. obs. hent grasp, lay hold of, f. OE hentan, f. Gmc,
rel. to HUNT]
n. 1 the often deserted or uncharted areas beyond a coastal
district or a river's banks. 2 an area served by a port or
other centre. 3 a remote or fringe area. [G f. hinter behind
+ Land LAND]
hip(1) n. 1 a projection of the pelvis and upper thigh-bone on each
side of the body in human beings and quadrupeds. 2 (often in
pl.) the circumference of the body at the buttocks. 3 Archit.
the sharp edge of a roof from ridge to eaves where two sides
meet. Ьhip-bath a portable bath in which a person sits.
hip-bone a bone forming the hip, esp. the ilium. hip-flask a
flask for spirits etc., carried in a hip-pocket. hip-joint the
articulation of the head of the thigh-bone with the ilium.
hip-length (of a garment) reaching down to the hips. hip-pocket
a trouser-pocket just behind the hip. hip- (or hipped-) roof a
roof with the sides and the ends inclined. on the hip archaic
at a disadvantage. ЬЬhipless adj. hipped adj. (also in comb.).
[OE hype f. Gmc, rel. to HOP(1)]
hip(2) n. (also hep) the fruit of a rose, esp. a wild kind. [OE
heope, hiope f. WG]
hip(3) adj. (also hep) (hipper, hippest or hepper, heppest) sl. 1
following the latest fashion in esp. jazz music, clothes, etc.;
stylish. 2 (often foll. by to) understanding, aware. Ьhip-cat
a hip person; a devotee of jazz or swing. ЬЬhipness n. [20th
c.: orig. unkn.]
hip(4) int. introducing a united cheer (hip, hip, hooray). [19th c.:
n. any S. American bulbous plant of the genus Hippeastrum with
showy white or red flowers. [mod.L f. Gk hippeus horseman (the
leaves appearing to ride on one another) + astron star (from the
hipped adj. (usu. foll. by on) esp. US sl. obsessed, infatuated.
[past part. of hip (v.) = make hip (HIP(3))]
hippie n. (also hippy) (pl. -ies) colloq. 1 (esp. in the 1960s) a
person of unconventional appearance, typically with long hair,
jeans, beads, etc., often associated with hallucinogenic drugs
and a rejection of conventional values. 2 = HIPSTER(2).
hippo n. (pl. -os) colloq. a hippopotamus. [abbr.]
n. (pl. hippocampi) 1 any marine fish of the genus
Hippocampus, swimming vertically and with a head suggestive of a
horse; a sea horse. 2 Anat. the elongated ridges on the floor
of each lateral ventricle of the brain, thought to be the centre
of emotion and the autonomic nervous system. [L f. Gk
hippokampos f. hippos horse + kampos sea monster]
hippocras n. hist. wine flavoured with spices. [ME f. OF ipocras
Hippocrates (see HIPPOCRATIC OATH), prob. because strained
through a filter called 'Hippocrates' sleeve']
n. an oath formerly taken by doctors affirming their
obligations and proper conduct. [med.L Hippocraticus f.
Hippocrates, Gk physician of the 5th c. BC]
n. poet. poetic or literary inspiration. [name of a fountain
on Mount Helicon sacred to the Muses: L f. Gk f. hippos horse
+ krene fountain, as having been produced by a stroke of
n. 1 a music- or dancehall. 2 (in classical antiquity) a
course for chariot races etc. 3 a circus. [F hippodrome or L
hippodromus f. Gk hippodromos f. hippos horse + dromos race,
n. (also hippogryph) a mythical griffin-like creature with the
body of a horse. [F hippogriffe f. It. ippogrifo f. Gk hippos
horse + It. grifo GRIFFIN]
n. (pl. hippopotamuses or hippopotami) 1 a large thick-skinned
four-legged mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, native to Africa,
inhabiting rivers, lakes, etc. 2 (in full pigmy hippopotamus) a
smaller related mammal, Choeropsis liberiensis, native to
Africa, inhabiting forests and swamps. [ME f. L f. Gk
hippopotamos f. hippos horse + potamos river]
hippy(1) var. of HIPPIE.
hippy(2) adj. having large hips.
adj. & n. Brit. --adj. (of a garment) hanging from the hips
rather than the waist. --n. (in pl.) trousers hanging from the
n. sl. a person who is hip; a hip-cat. ЬЬhipsterism n.
hiragana n. the cursive form of Japanese syllabic writing or kana (cf.
KATAKANA). [Jap., = plain kana]
hircine adj. goatlike. [L hircinus f. hircus he-goat]
hire v. & n. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from) procure the temporary
use of (a thing) for an agreed payment (hired a van from them).
2 esp. US employ (a person) for wages or a fee. 3 US borrow
(money). --n. 1 hiring or being hired. 2 payment for this.
Ьfor (or on) hire ready to be hired. hire-car a car available
for hire. hired girl (or man) US a domestic servant, esp. on a
farm. hire out grant the temporary use of (a thing) for an
agreed payment. hire purchase Brit. a system by which a person
may purchase a thing by regular payments while having the use of
it. ЬЬhireable adj. (US hirable). hirer n. [OE hyrian, hyr
hireling n. usu. derog. a person who works for hire. [OE hyrling (as
hirsutism n. the excessive growth of hair on the face and body.
his poss.pron. 1 (attrib.) of or belonging to him or himself (his
house; his own business). 2 (His) (attrib.) (in titles) that he
is (His Majesty). 3 the one or ones belonging to or associated
with him (it is his; his are over there). Ьhis and hers joc.
(of matching items) for husband and wife, or men and women. of
his of or belonging to him (a friend of his). [OE, genit. of
Hispanic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to Spain or to Spain and
Portugal. 2 of Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.
--n. a Spanish-speaking person, esp. one of Latin-American
descent, living in the US. ЬЬHispanicize v.tr. (also -ise).
[L Hispanicus f. Hispania Spain]
Hispanist n. (also Hispanicist) an expert in or student of the language,
literature, and civilization of Spain.
hiss v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (of a person, snake, goose, etc.) make a
sharp sibilant sound, esp. as a sign of disapproval or derision
(audience booed and hissed; the water hissed on the hotplate).
2 tr. express disapproval of (a person etc.) by hisses. 3 tr.
whisper (a threat etc.) urgently or angrily ('Where's the door?'
he hissed). --n. 1 a sharp sibilant sound as of the letter s.
2 Electronics unwanted interference at audio frequencies. Ьhiss
away (or down) drive off etc. by hisses. hiss off hiss (actors
etc.) so that they leave the stage. [ME: imit.]
hist int. archaic used to call attention, enjoin silence, incite a
dog, etc. [16th c.: natural excl.]
histamine n. Biochem. an organic compound occurring in injured body
tissues etc., and also associated with allergic reactions.
ЬЬhistaminic adj. [HISTO- + AMINE]
histidine n. Biochem. an amino acid from which histamine is derived.
[Gk histos web, tissue]
histo- comb. form (before a vowel also hist-) Biol. tissue. [Gk
n. the study of the identification and distribution of the
chemical constituents of tissues by means of stains, indicators,
and microscopy. ЬЬhistochemical adj.
n. the formation of tissues. ЬЬhistogenetic adj.
histogeny n. = HISTOGENESIS. ЬЬhistogenic adj.
histogram n. Statistics a chart consisting of rectangles (usu. drawn
vertically from a base line) whose areas and positions are
proportional to the value or range of a number of variables.
[Gk histos mast + -GRAM]
histology n. the study of the structure of tissues. ЬЬhistological adj.
n. the breaking down of tissues. ЬЬhistolytic adj.
histone n. Biochem. any of a group of proteins found in chromatin. [G
Histon perh. f. Gk histamai arrest, or as HISTO-]
n. 1 changes in tissues caused by disease. 2 the study of
historian n. 1 a writer of history, esp. a critical analyst, rather than
a compiler. 2 a person learned in or studying history (English
historian; ancient historian). [F historien f. L (as HISTORY)]
historic adj. 1 famous or important in history or potentially so (a
historic moment). 2 Gram. (of a tense) normally used in the
narration of past events (esp. Latin & Greek imperfect and
pluperfect; (cf. PRIMARY)). 3 archaic or disp. = HISTORICAL.
Ьhistoric infinitive the infinitive when used instead of the
indicative. historic present the present tense used instead of
the past in vivid narration. [L historicus f. Gk historikos (as
adj. 1 of or concerning history (historical evidence). 2
belonging to history, not to prehistory or legend. 3 (of the
study of a subject) based on an analysis of its development over
a period. 4 belonging to the past, not the present. 5 (of a
novel, a film, etc.) dealing or professing to deal with
historical events. 6 in connection with history, from the
historian's point of view (of purely historical interest).
n. 1 a the theory that social and cultural phenomena are
determined by history. b the belief that historical events are
governed by laws. 2 the tendency to regard historical
development as the most basic aspect of human existence. 3 an
excessive regard for past styles etc. ЬЬhistoricist n.
[HISTORIC after G Historismus]
n. the historical genuineness of an event etc.
n. 1 an expert in or student of historiography. 2 a writer of
history, esp. an official historian. [ME f. F historiographe or
f. LL historiographus f. Gk historiographos (as HISTORY,
n. 1 the writing of history. 2 the study of history-writing.
ЬЬhistoriographic adj. historiographical adj. [med.L
historiographia f. Gk historiographia (as HISTORY, -GRAPHY)]
history n. (pl. -ies) 1 a continuous, usu. chronological, record of
important or public events. 2 a the study of past events, esp.
human affairs. b the total accumulation of past events, esp.
relating to human affairs or to the accumulation of developments
connected with a particular nation, person, thing, etc. (our
island history; the history of astronomy). 3 an eventful past
(this house has a history). 4 a a systematic or critical
account of or research into a past event or events etc. b a
similar record or account of natural phenomena. 5 a historical
play. Ьmake history 1 influence the course of history. 2 do
something memorable. [ME f. L historia f. Gk historia finding
out, narrative, history f. histor learned, wise man, rel. to
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or concerning actors or acting. 2 (of
behaviour) theatrical, dramatic. --n. 1 (in pl.) a insincere
and dramatic behaviour designed to impress. b theatricals;
theatrical art. 2 archaic an actor. ЬЬhistrionically adv. [LL
histrionicus f. L histrio -onis actor]
hit v. & n. --v. (hitting; past and past part. hit) 1 tr. a
strike with a blow or a missile. b (of a moving body) strike
(the plane hit the ground). c reach (a target, a person, etc.)
with a directed missile (hit the window with the ball). 2 tr.
cause to suffer or affect adversely; wound (the loss hit him
hard). 3 intr. (often foll. by at, against, upon) direct a
blow. 4 tr. (often foll. by against, on) knock (a part of the
body) (hit his head on the door-frame). 5 tr. light upon; get
at (a thing aimed at) (he's hit the truth at last; tried to hit
the right tone in his apology) (see hit on). 6 tr. colloq. a
encounter (hit a snag). b arrive at (hit an all-time low; hit
the town). c indulge in, esp. liquor etc. (hit the bottle). 7
tr. esp. US sl. rob or kill. 8 tr. occur forcefully to (the
seriousness of the situation only hit him later). 9 tr. Sport
a propel (a ball etc.) with a bat etc. to score runs or points.
b score (runs etc.) in this way. c (usu. foll. by for) strike
(a ball or a bowler) for so many runs (hit him for six). 10 tr.
represent exactly. --n. 1 a a blow; a stroke. b a collision.
2 a shot etc. that hits its target. 3 colloq. a popular success
in entertainment. 4 a stroke of sarcasm, wit, etc. 5 a stroke
of good luck. 6 esp. US sl. a a murder or other violent
crime. b a drug injection etc. 7 a successful attempt. Ьhit
and run cause (accidental or wilful) damage and escape or leave
the scene before being discovered. hit-and-run attrib.adj.
relating to or (of a person) committing an act of this kind.
hit back retaliate. hit below the belt 1 esp. Boxing give a
foul blow. 2 treat or behave unfairly. hit for six Brit.
defeat in argument. hit the hay (or sack) colloq. go to bed.
hit the headlines see HEADLINE. hit home make a salutary
impression. hit it off (often foll. by with, together) agree or
be congenial. hit list sl. a list of prospective victims. hit
man (pl. hit men) sl. a hired assassin. hit the nail on the
head state the truth exactly. hit on (or upon) find (what is
sought), esp. by chance. hit-or-miss aimed or done carelessly.
hit out deal vigorous physical or verbal blows (hit out at her
enemies). hit-out n. Austral. sl. a brisk gallop. hit
parade colloq. a list of the current best-selling records of
popular music. hit the road (US trail) sl. depart. hit the
roof see ROOF. hit up Cricket score (runs) energetically. hit
wicket Cricket be out by striking the wicket with the bat etc.
make a hit (usu. foll. by with) be successful or popular.
ЬЬhitter n. [ME f. OE hittan f. ON hitta meet with, of unkn.
hitch v. & n. --v. 1 a tr. fasten with a loop, hook, etc.; tether
(hitched the horse to the cart). b intr. (often foll. by in, on
to, etc.) become fastened in this way (the rod hitched in to the
bracket). 2 tr. move (a thing) with a jerk; shift slightly
(hitched the pillow to a comfortable position). 3 colloq. a
intr. = HITCHHIKE. b tr. obtain (a lift) by hitchhiking. --n.
1 an impediment; a temporary obstacle. 2 an abrupt pull or
push; a jerk. 3 a noose or knot of various kinds. 4 colloq. a
free ride in a vehicle. 5 US sl. a period of service. Ьget
hitched colloq. marry. half hitch a knot formed by passing the
end of a rope round its standing part and then through the
bight. hitch up lift (esp. clothing) with a jerk. hitch one's
wagon to a star make use of powers higher than one's own.
ЬЬhitcher n. [ME: orig. uncert.]
hitchhike v. & n. --v.intr. travel by seeking free lifts in passing
vehicles. --n. a journey made by hitchhiking. ЬЬhitchhiker n.
hi-tech n. = high tech. [abbr.]
hither adv. & adj. formal --adv. to or towards this place. --adj.
archaic situated on this side; the nearer (of two). Ьhither and
thither (or yon) in various directions; to and fro. [OE hider:
hitherto adv. until this time, up to now.
adv. archaic in this direction.
Hitler n. a person who embodies the authoritarian characteristics of
Adolf Hitler, Ger. dictator d. 1945. ЬЬHitlerite n. & adj.
Hitlerism n. the political principles or policy of the Nazi Party in
Hittite n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of an ancient people of Asia Minor
and Syria. 2 the language of the Hittites. --adj. of or
relating to the Hittites or their language. [Heb. Hittim]
HIV abbr. human immunodeficiency virus, either of two retroviruses
hive n. & v. --n. 1 a a beehive. b the bees in a hive. 2 a busy
swarming place. 3 a swarming multitude. 4 a thing shaped like
a hive in being domed. --v. 1 tr. a place (bees) in a hive.
b house (people etc.) snugly. 2 intr. a enter a hive. b live
together like bees. Ьhive off 1 separate from a larger group.
2 a form into or assign (work) to a subsidiary department or
company. b denationalize or privatize (an industry etc.). hive
up hoard. [OE hyf f. Gmc]
hives n.pl. 1 a skin-eruption, esp. nettle-rash. 2 inflammation of
the larynx etc. [16th c. (orig. Sc.): orig. unkn.]
hiya int. colloq. a word used in greeting. [corrupt. of how are
ho int. 1 a an expression of surprise, admiration, triumph, or
(often repeated as ho! ho! etc.) derision. b (in comb.)
(heigh-ho; what ho). 2 a call for attention. 3 (in comb.)
Naut. an addition to the name of a destination etc. (westward
ho). [ME, imit.: cf. ON hў]
ho. abbr. house.
hoar adj. & n. literary --adj. 1 grey-haired with age. 2
greyish-white. 3 (of a thing) grey with age. --n. 1 =
hoar-frost. 2 hoariness. Ьhoar-frost frozen water vapour
deposited in clear still weather on vegetation etc. [OE har f.
hoard n. & v. --n. 1 a stock or store (esp. of money) laid by. 2 an
amassed store of facts etc. 3 Archaeol. an ancient store of
treasure etc. --v. 1 tr. (often absol.; often foll. by up)
amass (money etc.) and put away; store. 2 intr. accumulate more
than one's current requirements of food etc. in a time of
scarcity. 3 tr. store in the mind. ЬЬhoarder n. [OE hord f.
hoarding n. 1 Brit. a large, usu. wooden, structure used to carry
advertisements etc. 2 a board fence erected round a building
site etc., often used for displaying posters etc. [obs. hoard
f. AF h(o)urdis f. OF hourd, hort, rel. to HURDLE]
hoarhound var. of HOREHOUND.
hoarse adj. 1 (of the voice) rough and deep; husky; croaking. 2
having such a voice. ЬЬhoarsely adv. hoarsen v.tr. & intr.
hoarseness n. [ME f. ON hars (unrecorded) f. Gmc]
hoarstone n. Brit. an ancient boundary stone.
hoary adj. (hoarier, hoariest) 1 a (of hair) grey or white with age.
b having such hair; aged. 2 old and trite (a hoary joke). 3
Bot. & Zool. covered with short white hairs. ЬЬhoarily adv.
hoatzin n. a tropical American bird, Opisthocomus hoatzin, whose young
climb by means of hooked claws on their wings. [native name,
hoax n. & v. --n. a humorous or malicious deception; a practical
joke. --v.tr. deceive (a person) with a hoax. ЬЬhoaxer n.
[18th c.: prob. contr. f. HOCUS]
hob(1) n. 1 a a flat heating surface for a pan on a cooker. b a flat
metal shelf at the side of a fireplace, having its surface level
with the top of the grate, used esp. for heating a pan etc. 2 a
tool used for cutting gear-teeth etc. 3 a peg or pin used as a
mark in quoits etc. 4 = HOBNAIL. [perh. var. of HUB, orig. =
hob(2) n. 1 a male ferret. 2 a hobgoblin. Ьplay (or raise) hob US
cause mischief. [ME, familiar form of Rob, short for Robin or
hobbit n. a member of an imaginary race of half-sized people in
stories by Tolkien. ЬЬhobbitry n. [invented by J. R. R.
Tolkien, Engl. writer d. 1973, and said by him to mean
hobble v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a walk lamely; limp. b proceed
haltingly in action or speech (hobbled lamely to his
conclusion). 2 tr. a tie together the legs of (a horse etc.)
to prevent it from straying. b tie (a horse's etc. legs). 3
tr. cause (a person etc.) to limp. --n. 1 an uneven or infirm
gait. 2 a rope, clog, etc. used for hobbling a horse etc.
Ьhobble skirt a skirt so narrow at the hem as to impede walking.
ЬЬhobbler n. [ME, prob. f. LG: cf. HOPPLE and Du. hobbelen
rock from side to side]
n. colloq. 1 a clumsy or awkward youth. 2 a hooligan. [16th
c.: orig. unkn.]
hobby(1) n. (pl. -ies) 1 a favourite leisure-time activity or
occupation. 2 archaic a small horse. 3 hist. an early type of
velocipede. ЬЬhobbyist n. [ME hobyn, hoby, f. pet-forms of
Robin: cf. DOBBIN]
hobby(2) n. (pl. -ies) any of several small long-winged falcons, esp.
Falco subbuteo, catching prey on the wing. [ME f. OF hob‚,
hobet dimin. of hobe small bird of prey]
n. 1 a child's toy consisting of a stick with a horse's head.
2 a preoccupation; a favourite topic of conversation. 3 a model
of a horse, esp. of wicker, used in morris dancing etc. 4 a
rocking horse. 5 a horse on a merry-go-round.
hobday v.tr. operate on (a horse) to improve its breathing. [F. T.
Hobday, veterinary surgeon d. 1939]
hobgoblin n. a mischievous imp; a bogy; a bugbear. [HOB(2) + GOBLIN]
hobnail n. a heavy-headed nail used for boot-soles. Ьhobnail (or
hobnailed) liver a liver having many small knobbly projections
due to cirrhosis. ЬЬhobnailed adj. [HOB(1) + NAIL]
hobnob v.intr. (hobnobbed, hobnobbing) 1 (usu. foll. by with) mix
socially or informally. 2 drink together. [hob or nob = give
or take, of alternate drinking; earlier hab nab, = have or not
hobo n. (pl. -oes or -os) US a wandering worker; a tramp. [19th
c.: orig. unkn.]
n. a choice of taking the thing offered or nothing. [T.
Hobson, Cambridge carrier d. 1631, who let out horses on the
basis that customers must take the one nearest the door]
hock(1) n. 1 the joint of a quadruped's hind leg between the knee and
the fetlock. 2 a knuckle of pork; the lower joint of a ham.
[obs. hockshin f. OE hohsinu: see HOUGH]
hock(2) n. Brit. a German white wine from the Rhineland (properly that
of Hochheim on the river Main). [abbr. of obs. hockamore f. G
hock(3) v. & n. esp. US colloq. --v.tr. pawn; pledge. --n. a
pawnbroker's pledge. Ьin hock 1 in pawn. 2 in debt. 3 in
prison. [Du. hok hutch, prison, debt]
hockey(1) n. 1 a game played between two teams on a field with curved
sticks and a small hard ball. 2 US = ice hockey. ЬЬhockeyist
n. (in sense 2). [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
hockey(2) var. of OCHE.
Hocktide n. hist. a festival formerly kept on the second Monday and
Tuesday after Easter, orig. for money-raising. [ME: orig.
hocus v.tr. (hocussed, hocussing; US hocused, hocusing) 1 take in;
hoax. 2 stupefy (a person) with drugs. 3 drug (liquor). [obs.
noun hocus = HOCUS-POCUS]
n. & v. --n. 1 deception; trickery. 2 a typical verbal
formula used in conjuring. --v. (-pocussed, -pocussing; US
-pocused, -pocusing) 1 intr. (often foll. by with) play tricks.
2 tr. play tricks on, deceive. [17th-c. sham L]
hod n. 1 a V-shaped open trough on a pole used for carrying bricks,
mortar, etc. 2 a portable receptacle for coal. [prob. = dial.
hot f. OF hotte pannier, f. Gmc]
hodden n. Sc. a coarse woollen cloth. Ьhodden grey grey hodden;
typical rustic clothing. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
Hodge n. Brit. a typical English agricultural labourer. [pet-form
of the name Roger]
n. = HOTCHPOTCH 1, 3. [ME, assim. to HODGE]
n. a malignant disease of lymphatic tissues usu. characterized
by enlargement of the lymph nodes. [T. Hodgkin, Engl.
physician d. 1866]
hodiernal adj. formal of the present day. [L hodiernus f. hodie today]
hodman n. (pl. -men) 1 a labourer who carries a hod. 2 a literary
hack. 3 a person who works mechanically.
hodograph n. a curve in which the radius vector represents the velocity
of a moving particle. [Gk hodos way + -GRAPH]
hodometer var. of ODOMETER.
hoe n. & v. --n. a long-handled tool with a thin metal blade, used
for weeding etc. --v. (hoes, hoed, hoeing) 1 tr. weed (crops);
loosen (earth); dig up or cut down with a hoe. 2 intr. use a
hoe. Ьhoe-cake US a coarse cake of maize flour orig. baked on
the blade of a hoe. hoe in Austral. & NZ sl. eat eagerly. hoe
into Austral. & NZ sl. attack (food, a person, a task). ЬЬhoer
n. [ME howe f. OF houe f. Gmc]
hoedown n. US a lively dance or dance-party.
hog n. & v. --n. 1 a a domesticated pig, esp. a castrated male
reared for slaughter. b any of several other pigs of the family
Suidae, e.g. a wart-hog. 2 colloq. a greedy person. 3 (also
hogg) Brit. dial. a young sheep before the first shearing.
--v. (hogged, hogging) 1 tr. colloq. take greedily; hoard
selfishly. 2 tr. & intr. raise (the back), or rise in an arch
in the centre. Ьgo the whole hog colloq. do something
completely or thoroughly. hog-tie US 1 secure by fastening the
hands and feet or all four feet together. 2 restrain, impede.
ЬЬhogger n. hoggery n. hoggish adj. hoggishly adv.
hoggishness n. hoglike adj. [OE hogg, hocg, perh. of Celt.
hogan n. an American Indian hut of logs etc. [Navajo]
hogback n. (also hog's back) a steep-sided ridge of a hill.
hogg var. of HOG n. 3.
hogget n. Brit. a yearling sheep. [HOG]
hoggin n. 1 a mixture of sand and gravel. 2 sifted gravel. [19th c.:
hogmanay n. Sc. 1 New Year's Eve. 2 a celebration on this day. 3 a
gift of cake etc. demanded by children at hogmanay. [17th c.:
perh. f. Norman F hoguinan‚ f. OF aguillanneuf (also = new
var. of HOGBACK.
hogshead n. 1 a large cask. 2 a liquid or dry measure, usu. about 50
imperial gallons. [ME f. HOG, HEAD: reason for the name unkn.]
hogwash n. 1 colloq. nonsense, rubbish. 2 kitchen swill etc. for pigs.
hogweed n. any of various coarse weeds of the genus Heracleum, esp. H.
ho-ho int. expressing surprise, triumph, or derision. [redupl. of
ho-hum int. expressing boredom. [imit. of yawn]
hoick(1) v. & n. colloq. --v.tr. (often foll. by out) lift or pull,
esp. with a jerk. --n. a jerky pull; a jerk. [perh. var. of
hoick(2) v.intr. sl. spit. [perh. var. of HAWK(3)]
hoicks var. of YOICKS.
n. (often prec. by the : see note below) 1 the masses; the
common people. 2 the majority. °Use with the is strictly
unnecessary, since hoi = 'the', but this construction is very
common. [Gk, = the many]
hoist v. & n. --v.tr. 1 raise or haul up. 2 raise by means of ropes
and pulleys etc. --n. 1 an act of hoisting, a lift. 2 an
apparatus for hoisting. 3 a the part of a flag nearest the
staff. b a group of flags raised as a signal. Ьhoist the flag
stake one's claim to discovered territory by displaying a flag.
hoist one's flag signify that one takes command. hoist with
one's own petard see PETARD. ЬЬhoister n. [16th c.: alt. of
hoise f. (15th-c.) hysse, prob. of LG orig.: cf. LG hissen]
adj., int., & n. --adj. 1 haughty; petulant; snobbish. 2
archaic frolicsome. --int. expressing surprised protest at
presumption etc. --n. archaic riotous or giddy conduct. [obs.
hoit indulge in riotous mirth, of unkn. orig.]
hokey adj. (also hoky) (hokier, hokiest) US sl. sentimental,
melodramatic, artificial. ЬЬhokeyness n. (also hokiness).
hokily adv. [HOKUM + -Y(2)]
n. a communal dance performed in a circle with synchronized
shaking of the limbs in turn. [perh. f. HOCUS-POCUS]
n. colloq. 1 = HOCUS-POCUS. 2 ice-cream formerly sold esp. by
Italian street vendors. [HOCUS-POCUS: sense 2 of unkn. orig.]
hokku n. (pl. same) = HAIKU. [Jap.]
hokum n. esp. US sl. 1 sentimental, popular, sensational, or unreal
situations, dialogue, etc., in a film or play etc. 2 bunkum;
rubbish. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
hoky var. of HOKEY.
Holarctic adj. of or relating to the geographical distribution of animals
in the whole northern or arctic region. [HOLO- + ARCTIC]
hold(1) v. & n. --v. (past and past part. held) 1 tr. a keep fast;
grasp (esp. in the hands or arms). b (also refl.) keep or
sustain (a thing, oneself, one's head, etc.) in a particular
position (hold it to the light; held himself erect). c grasp so
as to control (hold the reins). 2 tr. (of a vessel etc.)
contain or be capable of containing (the jug holds two pints;
the hall holds 900). 3 tr. possess, gain, or have, esp.: a be
the owner or tenant of (land, property, stocks, etc.) (holds
the farm from the trust). b gain or have gained (a degree,
record, etc.) (holds the long-jump record). c have the position
of (a job or office). d have (a specified card) in one's hand.
e keep possession of (a place, a person's thoughts, etc.) esp.
against attack (held the fort against the enemy; held his place
in her estimation). 4 intr. remain unbroken; not give way (the
roof held under the storm). 5 tr. observe; celebrate; conduct
(a meeting, festival, conversation, etc.). 6 tr. a keep (a
person etc.) in a specified condition, place, etc. (held him
prisoner; held him at arm's length). b detain, esp. in custody
(hold him until I arrive). 7 tr. a engross (a person or a
person's attention) (the book held him for hours). b dominate
(held the stage). 8 tr. (foll. by to) make (a person etc.)
adhere to (terms, a promise, etc.). 9 intr. (of weather)
continue fine. 10 tr. (often foll. by to + infin., or that +
clause) think; believe (held it to be self-evident; held that
the earth was flat). 11 tr. regard with a specified feeling
(held him in contempt). 12 tr. a cease; restrain (hold your
fire). b US colloq. withhold; not use (a burger please, and
hold the onions!). 13 tr. keep or reserve (will you hold our
seats please?). 14 tr. be able to drink (liquor) without effect
(can't hold his drink). 15 tr. (usu. foll. by that + clause)
(of a judge, a court, etc.) lay down; decide. 16 intr. keep
going (held on his way). 17 tr. Mus. sustain (a note). 18
intr. archaic restrain oneself. --n. 1 a grasp (catch hold of
him; keep a hold on him). 2 (often in comb.) a thing to hold by
(seized the handhold). 3 (foll. by on, over) influence over
(has a strange hold over them). 4 a manner of holding in
wrestling etc. 5 archaic a fortress. Ьhold (a thing) against
(a person) resent or regard it as discreditable to (a person).
hold aloof avoid communication with people etc. hold back 1
impede the progress of; restrain. 2 keep (a thing) to or for
oneself. 3 (often foll. by from) hesitate; refrain. hold-back
n. a hindrance. hold one's breath see BREATH. hold by (or to)
adhere to (a choice, purpose, etc.). hold cheap not value
highly; despise. hold the clock on time (a sporting event
etc.). hold court preside over one's admirers etc., like a
sovereign. hold dear regard with affection. hold down 1
repress. 2 colloq. be competent enough to keep (one's job
etc.). hold everything! (or it!) cease action or movement.
hold the fort 1 act as a temporary substitute. 2 cope in an
emergency. hold forth 1 offer (an inducement etc.). 2 usu.
derog. speak at length or tediously. hold good (or true) be
valid; apply. hold one's ground see GROUND(1). hold one's hand
see HAND. hold a person's hand give a person guidance or moral
support. hold hands grasp one another by the hand as a sign of
affection or for support or guidance. hold hard! stop!; wait!
hold harmless Law indemnify. hold one's head high behave
proudly and confidently. hold one's horses colloq. stop; slow
down. hold in keep in check, confine. hold it good think it
advisable. hold the line 1 not yield. 2 maintain a telephone
connection. hold one's nose compress the nostrils to avoid a
bad smell. hold off 1 delay; not begin. 2 keep one's distance.
hold on 1 keep one's grasp on something. 2 wait a moment. 3
(when telephoning) not ring off. hold out 1 stretch forth (a
hand etc.). 2 offer (an inducement etc.). 3 maintain
resistance. 4 persist or last. hold out for continue to
demand. hold out on colloq. refuse something to (a person).
hold over postpone. hold-over n. US a relic. hold something
over threaten (a person) constantly with something. hold one's
own see OWN. hold to bail Law bind by bail. hold to a draw
manage to achieve a draw against (an opponent thought likely to
win). hold together 1 cohere. 2 cause to cohere. hold one's
tongue colloq. be silent. hold to ransom 1 keep (a person)
prisoner until a ransom is paid. 2 demand concessions from by
threats of esp. damaging action. hold up 1 a support; sustain.
b maintain (the head etc.) erect. 2 exhibit; display. 3 arrest
the progress of; obstruct. 4 stop and rob by violence or
threats. hold-up n. 1 a stoppage or delay by traffic, fog,
etc. 2 a robbery, esp. by the use of threats or violence. hold
water (of reasoning) be sound; bear examination. hold with
(usu. with neg.) colloq. approve of (don't hold with motor
bikes). left holding the baby left with unwelcome
responsibility. take hold (of a custom or habit) become
established. there is no holding him (or her etc.) he (or she
etc.) is restive, high-spirited, determined, etc. with no holds
barred with no restrictions, all methods being permitted.
ЬЬholdable adj. [OE h(e)aldan, heald]
hold(2) n. a cavity in the lower part of a ship or aircraft in which
the cargo is stowed. [obs. holl f. OE hol (orig. adj. =
hollow), rel. to HOLE, assim. to HOLD(1)]
holdall n. a portable case for miscellaneous articles.
holder n. 1 (often in comb.) a device or implement for holding
something (cigarette-holder). 2 a the possessor of a title etc.
b the occupant of an office etc. 3 = SMALLHOLDER.
holdfast n. 1 a firm grasp. 2 a staple or clamp securing an object to a
wall etc. 3 the attachment-organ of an alga etc.
holding n. 1 a land held by lease (cf. SMALLHOLDING). b the tenure of
land. 2 stocks, property, etc. held. Ьholding company a
company created to hold the shares of other companies, which it
then controls. holding operation a manoeuvre designed to
maintain the status quo.
hole n. & v. --n. 1 a an empty space in a solid body. b an
aperture in or through something. 2 an animal's burrow. 3 a
cavity or receptacle for a ball in various sports or games. 4
colloq. a small, mean, or dingy abode. 5 colloq. an awkward
situation. 6 Golf a a point scored by a player who gets the
ball from tee to hole with the fewest strokes. b the terrain or
distance from tee to hole. 7 a position from which an electron
is absent, esp. acting as a mobile positive particle in a
semiconductor. --v.tr. 1 make a hole or holes in. 2 pierce
the side of (a ship). 3 put into a hole. 4 (also absol.; often
foll. by out) send (a golf ball) into a hole. Ьhole-and-corner
secret; underhand. hole in the heart a congenital defect in the
heart septum. hole in one Golf a shot that enters the hole from
the tee. hole in the wall a small dingy place (esp. of
business). hole-proof (of materials etc.) treated so as to be
resistant to wear. hole up US colloq. hide oneself. in holes
worn so much that holes have formed. make a hole in use a large
amount of. a round (or square) peg in a square (or round) hole
see PEG. ЬЬholey adj. [OE hol, holian (as HOLD(2))]
holibut var. of HALIBUT.
holiday n. & v. --n. 1 esp. Brit. (often in pl.) an extended period
of recreation, esp. away from home or in travelling; a break
from work (cf. VACATION). 2 a day of festivity or recreation
when no work is done, esp. a religious festival etc. 3
(attrib.) (of clothes etc.) festive. --v.intr. esp. Brit.
spend a holiday. Ьholiday camp Brit. a camp for holiday-makers
with accommodation, entertainment, and facilities on site.
holiday centre a place with many tourist attractions.
holiday-maker esp. Brit. a person on holiday. on holiday (or
one's holidays) in the course of one's holiday. take a (or
make) holiday have a break from work. [OE haligd‘g (HOLY, DAY)]
holily adv. in a holy manner. [OE haliglice (as HOLY)]
holiness n. 1 sanctity; the state of being holy. 2 (Holiness) a title
used when referring to or addressing the Pope. [OE halignes (as
holism n. (also wholism) 1 Philos. the theory that certain wholes are
to be regarded as greater than the sum of their parts (cf.
REDUCTIONISM). 2 Med. the treating of the whole person
including mental and social factors rather than just the
symptoms of a disease. ЬЬholistic adj. holistically adv. [as
HOLO- + -ISM]
holla int., n., & v. --int. calling attention. --n. a cry of
'holla'. --v. (hollas, hollaed or holla'd, hollaing) 1 intr.
shout. 2 tr. call to (hounds). [F hol… (as HO, l… there)]
holland n. a smooth, hard-wearing, linen fabric. Ьbrown holland
unbleached holland. [Holland = Netherlands: Du., earlier
Holtlant f. holt wood + -lant land, describing the Dordrecht
n. a creamy sauce of melted butter, egg-yolks, vinegar, etc.,
served esp. with fish. [F, fem. of hollandais Dutch f.
Hollander n. 1 a native of Holland (the Netherlands). 2 a Dutch ship.
Hollands n. gin made in Holland. [Du. hollandsch genever Dutch gin]
holler v. & n. US colloq. --v. 1 intr. make a loud cry or noise. 2
tr. express with a loud cry or shout. --n. a loud cry, noise,
or shout. [var. of HOLLO]
hollo int., n., & v. --int. = HOLLA. --n. (pl. -os) = HOLLA. --v.
(-oes, -oed) (also hollow pronunc. same) = HOLLA. [rel. to
hollow adj., n., v., & adv. --adj. 1 a having a hole or cavity
inside; not solid throughout. b having a depression; sunken
(hollow cheeks). 2 (of a sound) echoing, as though made in or
on a hollow container. 3 empty; hungry. 4 without
significance; meaningless (a hollow triumph). 5 insincere;
cynical; false (a hollow laugh; hollow promises). --n. 1 a
hollow place; a hole. 2 a valley; a basin. --v.tr. (often
foll. by out) make hollow; excavate. --adv. colloq. completely
(beaten hollow). Ьhollow-eyed with eyes deep sunk.
hollow-hearted insincere. hollow square Mil. hist. a body of
infantry drawn up in a square with a space in the middle. in
the hollow of one's hand entirely subservient to one.
ЬЬhollowly adv. hollowness n. [ME holg, holu, hol(e)we f. OE
holh cave, rel. to HOLE]
n. hollow articles of metal, china, etc., such as pots,
kettles, jugs, etc. (opp. FLATWARE).
holly n. (pl. -ies) 1 an evergreen shrub, Ilex aquifolium, with
prickly usu. dark-green leaves, small white flowers, and red
berries. 2 its branches and foliage used as decorations at
Christmas. Ьholly oak a holm-oak. [OE hole(g)n]
hollyhock n. a tall plant, Alcea rosea, with large showy flowers of
various colours. [ME (orig. = marsh mallow) f. HOLY + obs.
hock mallow, OE hoc, of unkn. orig.]
Hollywood n. the American cinema industry or its products, with its
principal centre at Hollywood in California.
holm(1) n. (also holme) Brit. 1 an islet, esp. in a river or near a
mainland. 2 a piece of flat ground by a river, which is
submerged in time of flood. [ON holmr]
holm(2) n. (in full holm-oak) an evergreen oak, Quercus ilex, with
holly-like young leaves. [ME alt. of obs. holin (as HOLLY)]
holmium n. Chem. a soft silvery metallic element of the lanthanide
series occurring naturally in apatite. °Symb.: Ho. [mod.L f.
holo- comb. form whole (Holocene; holocaust). [Gk holos whole]
holocaust n. 1 a case of large-scale destruction, esp. by fire or nuclear
war. 2 (the Holocaust) the mass murder of the Jews by the Nazis
1939-45. 3 a sacrifice wholly consumed by fire. [ME f. OF
holocauste f. LL holocaustum f. Gk holokauston (as HOLO-,
kaustos burnt f. kaio burn)]
Holocene adj. & n. Geol. --adj. of or relating to the most recent epoch
of the Quaternary period with evidence of human development and
intervention, and the extinction of large mammals. °Cf.
Appendix II. --n. this period or system. Also called RECENT.
[HOLO- + Gk kainos new]
n. Biochem. a complex enzyme consisting of several components.
hologram n. Physics 1 a three-dimensional image formed by the
interference of light beams from a coherent light source. 2 a
photograph of the interference pattern, which when suitably
illuminated produces a three-dimensional image.
holograph adj. & n. --adj. wholly written by hand by the person named as
the author. --n. a holograph document. [F holographe or LL
holographus f. Gk holographos (as HOLO-, -GRAPH)]
n. Physics the study or production of holograms. ЬЬholographic
adj. holographically adv.
adj. Crystallog. having the full number of planes required by
the symmetry of a crystal system.
holophyte n. an organism that synthesizes complex organic compounds by
photosynthesis. ЬЬholophytic adj.
n. & adj. --n. any echinoderm of the class Holothurioidea, with
a wormlike body, e.g. a sea cucumber. --adj. of or relating to
this class. [mod.L Holothuria (n.pl.) f. Gk holothourion, a
holotype n. the specimen used for naming and describing a species.
hols n.pl. Brit. colloq. holidays. [abbr.]
Holstein n. & adj. US = FRIESIAN. [Holstein in NW Germany]
holster n. a leather case for a pistol or revolver, worn on a belt or
under an arm or fixed to a saddle. [17th c., synonymous with
Du. holster: orig. unkn.]
holt(1) n. 1 an animal's (esp. an otter's) lair. 2 colloq. or dial.
grip, hold. [var. of HOLD(1)]
holt(2) n. archaic or dial. 1 a wood or copse. 2 a wooded hill. [OE
adv. all in a lump, altogether. [app. sham L]
holy adj. (holier, holiest) 1 morally and spiritually excellent or
perfect, and to be revered. 2 belonging to, devoted to, or
empowered by, God. 3 consecrated, sacred. 4 used in trivial
exclamations (holy cow!; holy mackerel!; holy Moses!; holy
smoke!). Ьholier-than-thou colloq. self-righteous. Holy City
1 a city held sacred by the adherents of a religion, esp.
Jerusalem. 2 Heaven. Holy Communion see COMMUNION. Holy Cross
Day the festival of the Exaltation of the Cross, 14 Sept. holy
day a religious festival. Holy Family the young Jesus with his
mother and St Joseph (often with St John the Baptist, St Anne,
etc.) as grouped in pictures etc. Holy Father the Pope. Holy
Ghost = Holy Spirit. Holy Grail see GRAIL. holy Joe orig.
Naut. sl. 1 a clergyman. 2 a pious person. Holy Land 1 W.
Palestine, esp. Judaea. 2 a region similarly revered in
non-Christian religions. Holy Name RC Ch. the name of Jesus as
an object of formal devotion. Holy Office the Inquisition.
holy of holies 1 the inner chamber of the sanctuary in the
Jewish temple, separated by a veil from the outer chamber. 2 an
innermost shrine. 3 a thing regarded as most sacred. holy
orders see ORDER. holy place 1 (in pl.) places to which
religious pilgrimage is made. 2 the outer chamber of the
sanctuary in the Jewish temple. holy roller sl. a member of a
religious group characterized by frenzied excitement or trances.
Holy Roman Empire see ROMAN. Holy Rood Day 1 the festival of
the Invention of the Cross, 3 May. 2 = Holy Cross Day. Holy
Sacrament see SACRAMENT. Holy Saturday Saturday in Holy Week.
Holy Scripture the Bible. Holy See the papacy or the papal
court. Holy Spirit the Third Person of the Trinity, God as
spiritually acting. holy terror see TERROR. Holy Thursday 1
Anglican Ch. Ascension Day. 2 RC Ch. Maundy Thursday. Holy
Trinity see TRINITY. holy war a war waged in support of a
religious cause. holy water water dedicated to holy uses, or
blessed by a priest. Holy Week the week before Easter. Holy
Writ holy writings collectively, esp. the Bible. Holy Year RC
Ch. a period of remission from the penal consequences of sin,
granted under certain conditions for a year usu. at intervals of
25 years. [OE halig f. Gmc, rel. to WHOLE]
holystone n. & v. Naut. --n. a piece of soft sandstone used for scouring
decks. --v.tr. scour with this. [19th c.: prob. f. HOLY +
STONE: the stones were called bibles etc., perh. because used
hom n. (also homa) 1 the soma plant. 2 the juice of this plant as
a sacred drink of the Parsees. [Pers. hom, hum, Avestan haoma]
homage n. 1 acknowledgement of superiority, dutiful reverence (pay
homage to; do homage to). 2 hist. formal public acknowledgement
of feudal allegiance. [ME f. OF (h)omage f. med.L hominaticum
f. L homo -minis man]
hombre n. US a man. [Sp.]
Homburg n. a man's felt hat with a narrow curled brim and a lengthwise
dent in the crown. [Homburg in W. Germany, where first worn]
home n., adj., adv., & v. --n. 1 a the place where one lives; the
fixed residence of a family or household. b a dwelling-house.
2 the members of a family collectively; one's family background
(comes from a good home). 3 the native land of a person or of a
person's ancestors. 4 an institution for persons needing care,
rest, or refuge (nursing home). 5 the place where a thing
originates or is native or most common. 6 a the finishing-point
in a race. b (in games) the place where one is free from
attack; the goal. c Lacrosse a player in an attacking position
near the opponents' goal. 7 Sport a home match or win.
--attrib.adj. 1 a of or connected with one's home. b carried
on, done, or made, at home. c proceeding from home. 2 a
carried on or produced in one's own country (home industries;
the home market). b dealing with the domestic affairs of a
country. 3 Sport played on one's own ground etc. (home match;
home win). 4 in the neighbourhood of home. --adv. 1 a to
one's home or country (go home). b arrived at home (is he home
yet?). c US at home (stay home). 2 a to the point aimed at
(the thrust went home). b as far as possible (drove the nail
home; pressed his advantage home). --v. 1 intr. (esp. of a
trained pigeon) return home (cf. HOMING 1). 2 intr. (often
foll. by on, in on) (of a vessel, missile, etc.) be guided
towards a destination or target by a landmark, radio beam, etc.
3 tr. send or guide homewards. 4 tr. provide with a home. Ьat
home 1 in one's own house or native land. 2 at ease as if in
one's own home (make yourself at home). 3 (usu. foll. by in,
on, with) familiar or well informed. 4 available to callers.
at-home n. a social reception in a person's home. come home to
become fully realized by. come home to roost see ROOST(1).
home and dry having achieved one's purpose. home away from home
= home from home. home-bird a person who likes to stay at home.
home-brew beer or other alcoholic drink brewed at home.
home-brewed (of beer etc.) brewed at home. home-coming arrival
at home. Home Counties the counties closest to London. home
economics the study of household management. home farm Brit. a
farm (one of several on an estate) set aside to provide produce
for the owner. home-felt felt intimately. home from home a
place other than one's home where one feels at home; a place
providing homelike amenities. home-grown grown or produced at
home. Home Guard hist. 1 the British citizen army organized in
1940 to defend the UK against invasion, and disbanded in 1957.
2 a member of this. home help Brit. a woman employed to help
in a person's home, esp. one provided by a local authority.
home, James! joc. drive home quickly! home-made made at home.
home-making creation of a (pleasant) home. home movie a film
made at home or of one's own activities. Home Office 1 the
British government department dealing with law and order,
immigration, etc., in England and Wales. 2 the building used
for this. home of lost causes Oxford University. home-owner a
person who owns his or her own home. home perm a permanent wave
made with domestic equipment. home plate Baseball a plate
beside which the batter stands. home port the port from which a
ship originates. home rule the government of a country or
region by its own citizens. home run Baseball a hit that allows
the batter to make a complete circuit of the bases. Home
Secretary (in the UK) the Secretary of State in charge of the
Home Office. home signal a signal indicating whether a train
may proceed into a station or to the next section of the line.
home straight (US stretch) the concluding stretch of a
racecourse. home town the town of one's birth or early life or
present fixed residence. home trade trade carried on within a
country. home truth basic but unwelcome information concerning
oneself. home unit Austral. a private residence, usu. occupied
by the owner, as one of several in a building. near home
affecting one closely. ЬЬhomelike adj. [OE ham f. Gmc]
homebody n. (pl. -ies) a person who likes to stay at home.
homeland n. 1 one's native land. 2 an area in S. Africa reserved for a
particular African people (the official name for a Bantustan).
homeless adj. lacking a home. ЬЬhomelessness n.
homely adj. (homelier, homeliest) 1 a simple, plain. b unpretentious.
c primitive. 2 US (of people or their features) not attractive
in appearance, ugly. 3 comfortable in the manner of a home,
cosy. 4 skilled at housekeeping. ЬЬhomeliness n.
US var. of HOMOEOPATH etc.
US var. of HOMOEOSTASIS.
homer n. 1 a homing pigeon. 2 Baseball a home run.
Homeric adj. 1 of, or in the style of, Homer or the epic poems ascribed
to him. 2 of Bronze Age Greece as described in these poems. 3
epic, large-scale, titanic (Homeric conflict). [L Homericus f.
Gk Homerikos f. Homeros Homer, traditional author of the Iliad
and the Odyssey]
homesick adj. depressed by longing for one's home during absence from
it. ЬЬhomesickness n.
homespun adj. & n. --adj. 1 a (of cloth) made of yarn spun at home. b
(of yarn) spun at home. 2 plain, simple, unsophisticated,
homely. --n. 1 homespun cloth. 2 anything plain or homely.
homestead n. 1 a house, esp. a farmhouse, and outbuildings. 2 Austral. &
NZ the owner's residence on a sheep or cattle station. 3 US an
area of land (usu. 160 acres) granted to a settler as a home.
ЬЬhomesteader n. [OE hamstede (as HOME, STEAD)]
homestyle adj. US (esp. of food) of a kind made or done at home, homely.
homeward adv. & adj. --adv. (also homewards) towards home. --adj.
going or leading towards home. Ьhomeward-bound (esp. of a ship)
preparing to go, or on the way, home. [OE hamweard(es) (as
homework n. 1 work to be done at home, esp. by a school pupil. 2
preparatory work or study.
homicide n. 1 the killing of a human being by another. 2 a person who
kills a human being. ЬЬhomicidal adj. [ME f. OF f. L
homicidium (sense 1), homicida (sense 2) (HOMO man)]
homiletic adj. & n. --adj. of homilies. --n. (usu. in pl.) the art of
preaching. [LL homileticus f. Gk homiletikos f. homileo hold
converse, consort (as HOMILY)]
homiliary n. (pl. -ies) a book of homilies. [med.L homeliarius (as
homily n. (pl. -ies) 1 a sermon. 2 a tedious moralizing discourse.
ЬЬhomilist n. [ME f. OF omelie f. eccl.L homilia f. Gk homilia
f. homilos crowd]
homing attrib.adj. 1 (of a pigeon) trained to fly home, bred for
long-distance racing. 2 (of a device) for guiding to a target
etc. 3 that goes home. Ьhoming instinct the instinct of
certain animals to return to the territory from which they have
hominid n. & adj. --n. any member of the primate family Hominidae,
including humans and their fossil ancestors. --adj. of or
relating to this family. [mod.L Hominidae f. L homo hominis
hominoid adj. & n. --adj. 1 like a human. 2 hominid or pongid. --n.
an animal resembling a human.
hominy n. esp. US coarsely ground maize kernels esp. boiled with
water or milk. [Algonquian]
Homo n. any primate of the genus Homo, including modern humans and
various extinct species. [L, = man]
homo n. (pl. -os) colloq. a homosexual. [abbr.]
homo- comb. form same (often opp. HETERO-). [Gk homos same]
adj. having the same centre.
n. (US homeopath) a person who practises homoeopathy. [G
Hom”opath (as HOMOEOPATHY)]
n. (US homeopathy) the treatment of disease by minute doses of
drugs that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of the
disease (cf. ALLOPATHY). ЬЬhomoeopathic adj. homoeopathist n.
[G Hom”opathie f. Gk homoios like + patheia -PATHY]
n. (US homeostasis) (pl. -stases) the tendency towards a
relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements,
esp. as maintained by physiological processes. ЬЬhomoeostatic
adj. [mod.L f. Gk homoios like + -STASIS]
n. (also homoiotherm) an organism that maintains its body
temperature at a constant level, usu. above that of the
environment, by its metabolic activity; a warm-blooded organism
(cf. POIKILOTHERM). ЬЬhomoeothermal adj. homoeothermic adj.
homoeothermy n. [mod.L f. Gk homoios like + therme heat]
adj. Biol. (of a sex or individuals of a sex) producing
gametes that carry the same sex chromosome.
homogamy n. Bot. 1 a state in which the flowers of a plant are
hermaphrodite or of the same sex. 2 the simultaneous ripening
of the stamens and pistils of a flower. ЬЬhomogamous adj. [Gk
homogamos (as HOMO-, gamos marriage)]
n. a suspension produced by homogenizing.
adj. 1 of the same kind. 2 consisting of parts all of the same
kind; uniform. 3 Math. containing terms all of the same degree.
ЬЬhomogeneity n. homogeneously adv. homogeneousness n. [med.L
homogeneus f. Gk homogenes (as HOMO-, genes f. genos kind)]
adj. Biol. having a common descent or origin.
v. (also -ise) 1 tr. & intr. make or become homogeneous. 2 tr.
treat (milk) so that the fat droplets are emulsified and the
cream does not separate. ЬЬhomogenization n. homogenizer n.
homogeny n. Biol. similarity due to common descent. ЬЬhomogenous adj.
homograft n. a graft of living tissue from one to another of the same
species but different genotype.
homograph n. a word spelt like another but of different meaning or origin
(e.g. POLE(1), POLE(2)).
var. of HOMOEOTHERM.
n. hist. a person who held that God the Father and God the Son
are of like but not identical substance (cf. HOMOOUSIAN).
[eccl.L f. Gk homoiousios f. homoios like + ousia essence]
homolog US var. of HOMOLOGUE.
v.tr. 1 acknowledge, admit. 2 confirm, accept. 3 approve (a
car, boat, engine, etc.) for use in a particular class of
racing. ЬЬhomologation n. [med.L homologare agree f. Gk
homologeo (as HOMO-, logos word)]
v. (also -ise) 1 intr. be homologous; correspond. 2 tr. make
adj. 1 a having the same relation, relative position, etc. b
corresponding. 2 Biol. (of organs etc.) similar in position and
structure but not necessarily in function. 3 Biol. (of
chromosomes) pairing at meiosis and having the same structural
features and pattern of genes. 4 Chem. (of a series of chemical
compounds) having the same functional group but differing in
composition by a fixed group of atoms. [med.L homologus f. Gk
(as HOMO-, logos ratio, proportion)]
homologue n. (US homolog) a homologous thing. [F f. Gk homologon (neut.
adj.) (as HOMOLOGOUS)]
homology n. a homologous state or relation; correspondence.
adj. (also homomorphous) of the same or similar form.
ЬЬhomomorphically adv. homomorphism n. homomorphy n.
homonym n. 1 a word of the same spelling or sound as another but of
different meaning; a homograph or homophone. 2 a namesake.
ЬЬhomonymic adj. homonymous adj. [L homonymum f. Gk homonumon
(neut. adj.) (as HOMO-, onoma name)]
n. (also homousian) hist. a person who held that God the
Father and God the Son are of the same substance (cf.
HOMOIOUSIAN). [eccl.L homoousianus f. LL homousius f. Gk
homoousios (as HOMO-, ousia essence)]
n. a hatred or fear of homosexuals. ЬЬhomophobe n. homophobic
homophone n. 1 a word having the same sound as another but of different
meaning or origin (e.g. pair, pear). 2 a symbol denoting the
same sound as another.
adj. Mus. in unison; characterized by movement of all parts to
the same melody. ЬЬhomophonically adv.
adj. 1 (of music) homophonic. 2 (of a word or symbol) that is
a homophone. ЬЬhomophony n.
homopolar adj. 1 electrically symmetrical. 2 Electr. (of a generator)
producing direct current without the use of commutators. 3
Chem. (of a covalent bond) in which one atom supplies both
n. any insect of the suborder Homoptera, including aphids and
cicadas, with wings of uniform texture (cf. HETEROPTERAN).
ЬЬhomopterous adj. [HOMO- + Gk pteron wing]
n. modern humans regarded as a species. [L, = wise man]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 feeling or involving sexual attraction only
to persons of the same sex. 2 concerning homosexual relations
or people. 3 relating to the same sex. --n. a homosexual
person. ЬЬhomosexuality n. homosexually adv.
homousian var. of HOMOOUSIAN.
n. Biol. 1 an individual with identical alleles determining a
particular characteristic. 2 an individual that is homozygous
and so breeds true. ЬЬhomozygous adj.
n. (also homuncule) (pl. homunculi or homuncules) a little
man, a manikin. [L homunculus f. homo -minis man]
homy var. of HOMEY.
Hon. abbr. 1 Honorary. 2 Honourable.
hon n. colloq. = HONEY 5. [abbr.]
honcho n. & v. US sl. --n. (pl. -os) 1 a leader or manager, the
person in charge. 2 an admirable man. --v.tr. (-oes, -oed) be
in charge of, oversee. [Jap. han' cho group leader]
hone n. & v. --n. 1 a whetstone, esp. for razors. 2 any of various
stones used as material for this. --v.tr. sharpen on or as on a
hone. [OE han stone f. Gmc]
honest adj. & adv. --adj. 1 fair and just in character or behaviour,
not cheating or stealing. 2 free of deceit and untruthfulness,
sincere. 3 fairly earned (an honest living). 4 (of an act or
feeling) showing fairness. 5 (with patronizing effect)
blameless but undistinguished (cf. WORTHY). 6 (of a thing)
unadulterated, unsophisticated. --adv. colloq. genuinely,
really. Ьearn (or turn) an honest penny earn money fairly.
honest broker a mediator in international, industrial, etc.,
disputes (orig. of Bismarck). honest Injun colloq. genuinely,
really. honest-to-God (or -goodness) colloq. adj. genuine,
real. --adv. genuinely, really. make an honest woman of
colloq. marry (esp. a pregnant woman). [ME f. OF (h)oneste f.
L honestus f. honos HONOUR]
honestly adv. 1 in an honest way. 2 really (I don't honestly know;
honestly, the cheek of it!).
honesty n. 1 being honest. 2 truthfulness. 3 a plant of the genus
Lunaria with purple or white flowers, so called from its flat
round semi-transparent seed-pods. [ME f. OF (h)onest‚ f. L
honestas -tatis (as HONEST)]
honey n. (pl. -eys) 1 a sweet sticky yellowish fluid made by bees
and other insects from nectar collected from flowers. 2 the
colour of this. 3 a sweetness. b a sweet thing. 4 a person or
thing excellent of its kind. 5 esp. US (usu. as a form of
address) darling, sweetheart. Ьhoney-badger a ratel. honey-bee
any of various bees of the genus Apis, esp. the common hive-bee
(A. mellifera). honey-bun (or -bunch) (esp. as a form of
address) darling. honey-buzzard any bird of prey of the genus
Pernis feeding on the larvae of bees and wasps. honey-eater any
Australasian bird of the family Meliphagidae with a long tongue
that can take nectar from flowers. honey-fungus a parasitic
fungus, Armillaria mellea, with honey-coloured edible
toadstools. honey-guide 1 any small bird of the family
Indicatoridae which feeds on beeswax and insects. 2 a marking
on the corolla of a flower thought to guide bees to nectar.
honey-parrot a lorikeet. honey-pot 1 a pot for honey. 2 a
posture with the hands clasped under the hams. 3 something very
attractive or tempting. honey sac an enlarged part of a bee's
gullet where honey is formed. honey-sweet sweet as honey. [OE
hunig f. Gmc]
honeycomb n. & v. --n. 1 a structure of hexagonal cells of wax, made by
bees to store honey and eggs. 2 a a pattern arranged
hexagonally. b fabric made with a pattern of raised hexagons
etc. 3 tripe from the second stomach of a ruminant. 4 a
cavernous flaw in metalwork, esp. in guns. --v.tr. 1 fill with
cavities or tunnels, undermine. 2 mark with a honeycomb
pattern. [OE hunigcamb (as HONEY, COMB)]
honeydew n. 1 a sweet sticky substance found on leaves and stems,
excreted by aphids. 2 a variety of melon with smooth pale skin
and sweet green flesh. 3 an ideally sweet substance. 4 tobacco
sweetened with molasses.
honeyed adj. (also honied) 1 of or containing honey. 2 sweet.
honeymoon n. & v. --n. 1 a holiday spent together by a newly married
couple. 2 an initial period of enthusiasm or goodwill.
--v.intr. (usu. foll. by in, at) spend a honeymoon.
ЬЬhoneymooner n. [HONEY + MOON, orig. with ref. to waning
affection, not to a period of a month]
n. any climbing shrub of the genus Lonicera with fragrant
yellow and pink flowers. [ME hunisuccle, -soukel, extension of
hunisuce, -souke, f. OE hunigsuce, -suge (as HONEY, SUCK)]
honied var. of HONEYED.
honk n. & v. --n. 1 the cry of a wild goose. 2 the harsh sound of
a car horn. --v. 1 intr. emit or give a honk. 2 tr. cause to
do this. [imit.]
honky n. (pl. -ies) US Blacksl. offens. 1 a White person. 2 White
people collectively. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
n. colloq. 1 ragtime piano music. 2 a cheap or disreputable
nightclub, dancehall, etc. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
n. an honest and decent man. [F]
honor US var. of HONOUR.
honorable US var. of HONOURABLE.
honorand n. a person to be honoured, esp. with an honorary degree. [L
honorandus (as HONOUR)]
n. (pl. honorariums or honoraria) a fee, esp. a voluntary
payment for professional services rendered without the normal
fee. [L, neut. of honorarius: see HONORARY]
honorary adj. 1 a conferred as an honour, without the usual
requirements, functions, etc. (honorary degree). b holding such
a title or position (honorary colonel). 2 (of an office or its
holder) unpaid (honorary secretaryship; honorary treasurer). 3
(of an obligation) depending on honour, not legally enforceable.
[L honorarius (as HONOUR)]
honorific adj. & n. --adj. 1 conferring honour. 2 (esp. of Oriental
forms of speech) implying respect. --n. an honorific form of
words. ЬЬhonorifically adv. [L honorificus (as HONOUR)]
adv. (esp. of a degree awarded without examination) as a mark
of esteem. [L, = for the sake of honour]
honour n. & v. (US honor) --n. 1 high respect; glory; credit,
reputation, good name. 2 adherence to what is right or to a
conventional standard of conduct. 3 nobleness of mind,
magnanimity (honour among thieves). 4 a thing conferred as a
distinction, esp. an official award for bravery or achievement.
5 (foll. by of + verbal noun, or to + infin.) privilege, special
right (had the honour of being invited). 6 a exalted position.
b (Honour) (prec. by your, his, etc.) a title of a circuit
judge, US a mayor, and Ir. or in rustic speech any person of
rank. 7 (foll. by to) a person or thing that brings honour (she
is an honour to her profession). 8 a (of a woman) chastity. b
the reputation for this. 9 (in pl.) a special distinction for
proficiency in an examination. b a course of degree studies
more specialized than for an ordinary pass. 10 a Bridge the
ace, king, queen, jack, and ten, esp. of trumps, or the four
aces at no trumps. b Whist the ace, king, queen, and jack, esp.
of trumps. 11 Golf the right of driving off first as having won
the last hole (it is my honour). --v.tr. 1 respect highly. 2
confer honour on. 3 accept or pay (a bill or cheque) when due.
4 acknowledge. Ьdo the honours perform the duties of a host to
guests etc. honour bright colloq. = on my honour. honour point
Heraldry the point halfway between the top of a shield and the
fesse point. honours are even there is equality in the contest.
honours list a list of persons awarded honours. honours of war
privileges granted to a capitulating force, e.g. that of
marching out with colours flying. honour system a system of
examinations etc. without supervision, relying on the honour of
those concerned. honour-trick = quick trick. in honour bound =
on one's honour. in honour of as a celebration of. on one's
honour (usu. foll. by to + infin.) under a moral obligation.
on (or upon) my honour an expression of sincerity. [ME f. OF
(h)onor (n.), onorer (v.) f. L honor, honarare]
adj. (US honorable) 1 a worthy of honour. b bringing honour to
its possessor. c showing honour, not base. d consistent with
honour. e colloq. (of the intentions of a man courting a woman)
directed towards marriage. 2 (Honourable) a title indicating
eminence or distinction, given to certain high officials, the
children of certain ranks of the nobility, and MPs. Ьhonourable
mention an award of merit to a candidate in an examination, a
work of art, etc., not awarded a prize. ЬЬhonourableness n.
honourably adv. [ME f. OF honorable f. L honorabilis (as
Hon. Sec. abbr. Honorary Secretary.
hooch n. (also hootch) US colloq. alcoholic liquor, esp. inferior or
illicit whisky. [abbr. of Alaskan hoochinoo, name of a
hood(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a covering for the head and neck, whether
part of a cloak etc. or separate. b a separate hoodlike garment
worn over a university gown or a surplice to indicate the
wearer's degree. 2 Brit. a folding waterproof top of a motor
car, pram, etc. 3 US the bonnet of a motor vehicle. 4 a canopy
to protect users of machinery or to remove fumes etc. 5 the
hoodlike part of a cobra, seal, etc. 6 a leather covering for a
hawk's head. --v.tr. cover with a hood. Ьhood-mould (or
-moulding) Archit. a dripstone. ЬЬhoodless adj. hoodlike adj.
[OE hod f. WG, rel. to HAT]
hood(2) n. US sl. a gangster or gunman. [abbr. of HOODLUM]
-hood suffix forming nouns: 1 of condition or state (childhood;
falsehood). 2 indicating a collection or group (sisterhood;
neighbourhood). [OE -had, orig. an independent noun, = person,
hooded adj. having a hood; covered with a hood. Ьhooded crow a
piebald grey and black crow, Corvus cornix.
hoodie n. = hooded crow .
hoodlum n. 1 a street hooligan, a young thug. 2 a gangster. [19th c.:
hoodoo n. & v. esp. US --n. 1 a bad luck. b a thing or person that
brings or causes this. 2 voodoo. 3 a fantastic rock pinnacle
or column of rock formed by erosion etc. --v.tr. (hoodoos,
hoodooed) 1 make unlucky. 2 bewitch. [alt. of VOODOO]
hoodwink v.tr. deceive, delude. [orig. 'blindfold', f. HOOD(1) n. +
hooey n. & int. sl. nonsense, humbug. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
hoof n. & v. --n. (pl. hoofs or hooves) the horny part of the foot
of a horse, antelope, and other ungulates. --v. 1 tr. strike
with a hoof. 2 tr. sl. kick or shove. Ьhoof it sl. 1 go on
foot. 2 dance. on the hoof (of cattle) not yet slaughtered.
ЬЬhoofed adj. (also in comb.). [OE hof f. Gmc]
hoofer n. sl. a professional dancer.
hoo-ha n. sl. a commotion, a row; uproar, trouble. [20th c.: orig.
hook n. & v. --n. 1 a a piece of metal or other material bent back
at an angle or with a round bend, for catching hold or for
hanging things on. b (in full fish-hook) a bent piece of wire,
usu. barbed and baited, for catching fish. 2 a curved cutting
instrument (reaping-hook). 3 a a sharp bend, e.g. in a river.
b a projecting point of land (Hook of Holland). c a sand-spit
with a curved end. 4 a Cricket & Golf a hooking stroke (see
sense 5 of v.). b Boxing a short swinging blow with the elbow
bent and rigid. 5 a trap, a snare. 6 a a curved stroke in
handwriting, esp. as made in learning to write. b Mus. an added
stroke transverse to the stem in the symbol for a quaver etc. 7
(in pl.) sl. fingers. --v. 1 tr. a grasp with a hook. b
secure with a hook or hooks. 2 (often foll. by on, up) a tr.
attach with or as with a hook. b intr. be or become attached
with a hook. 3 tr. catch with or as with a hook (he hooked a
fish; she hooked a husband). 4 tr. sl. steal. 5 tr. a
Cricket play (the ball) round from the off to the on side with
an upward stroke. b (also absol.) Golf strike (the ball) so
that it deviates towards the striker. 6 tr. Rugby Football
secure (the ball) and pass it backward with the foot in the
scrum. 7 tr. Boxing strike (one's opponent) with the elbow
bent and rigid. Ьbe hooked on sl. be addicted to or captivated
by. by hook or by crook by one means or another, by fair means
or foul. hook and eye a small metal hook and loop as a fastener
on a garment. hook it sl. make off, run away. hook, line, and
sinker entirely. hook-nose an aquiline nose. hook-nosed having
an aquiline nose. hook-up a connection, esp. an interconnection
of broadcasting equipment for special transmissions. off the
hook 1 colloq. no longer in difficulty or trouble. 2 (of a
telephone receiver) not on its rest, and so preventing incoming
calls. off the hooks sl. dead. on one's own hook sl. on
one's own account. sling (or take) one's hook sl. = hook it.
ЬЬhookless adj. hooklet n. hooklike adj. [OE hoc: sense 3 of
n. prob. influenced by Du. hoek corner]
hookah n. an oriental tobacco-pipe with a long tube passing through
water for cooling the smoke as it is drawn through. [Urdu f.
Arab. hukkah casket]
hooked adj. 1 hook-shaped (hooked nose). 2 furnished with a hook or
hooks. 3 in senses of HOOK v. 4 (of a rug or mat) made by
pulling woollen yarn through canvas with a hook.
hooker(1) n. 1 Rugby Football the player in the middle of the front row
of the scrum who tries to hook the ball. 2 sl. a prostitute. 3
a person or thing that hooks.
hooker(2) n. 1 a small Dutch or Irish fishing-vessel. 2 derog. any ship.
[Du. hoeker f. hoek HOOK]
n. the law that the strain in a solid is proportional to the
applied stress within the elastic limit of that solid. [R.
Hooke, Engl. scientist d. 1703]
hookey n. (also hooky) US Ьblind hookey a gambling guessing-game at
cards. play hookey sl. play truant. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
hookworm n. 1 any of various nematode worms, with hooklike mouthparts
for attachment and feeding, infesting humans and animals. 2 a
disease caused by one of these, often resulting in severe
hooligan n. a young ruffian, esp. a member of a gang. ЬЬhooliganism n.
[19th c.: orig. unkn.]
hoop(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a circular band of metal, wood, etc., esp. for
binding the staves of casks etc. or for forming part of a
framework. 2 a a ring bowled along by a child. b a large ring
usu. with paper stretched over it for circus performers to jump
through. 3 an arch of iron etc. through which the balls are hit
in croquet. 4 hist. a a circle of flexible material for
expanding a woman's petticoat or skirt. b (in full hoop
petticoat) a petticoat expanded with this. 5 a a band in
contrasting colour on a jockey's blouse, sleeves, or cap. b
Austral. colloq. a jockey. --v.tr. 1 bind with a hoop or
hoops. 2 encircle with or as with a hoop. Ьbe put (or go)
through the hoop (or hoops) undergo an ordeal. hoop-iron iron
in long thin strips for binding casks etc. hoop-la 1 Brit. a
game in which rings are thrown in an attempt to encircle one of
various prizes. 2 sl. commotion. 3 sl. pretentious nonsense.
[OE hop f. WG]
hoop(2) var. of WHOOP.
hoopoe n. a salmon-pink bird, Upupa epops, with black and white wings
and tail, a large erectile crest, and a long decurved bill.
[alt. of ME hoop f. OF huppe f. L upupa, imit. of its cry]
hooray int. 1 = HURRAH. 2 Austral. & NZ goodbye. ЬHooray Henry Brit.
sl. a rich ineffectual young man, esp. one who is fashionable,
extroverted, and conventional. [var. of HURRAH]
hoosegow n. US sl. a prison. [Amer. Sp. juzgao, Sp. juzgado tribunal
f. L judicatum neut. past part. of judicare JUDGE]
hoot n. & v. --n. 1 an owl's cry. 2 the sound made by a motor horn
or a steam whistle. 3 a shout expressing scorn or disapproval;
an inarticulate shout. 4 colloq. a laughter. b a cause of
this. 5 (also two hoots) sl. anything at all (don't care a
hoot; don't give a hoot; doesn't matter two hoots). --v. 1
intr. a (of an owl) utter its cry. b (of a motor horn or steam
whistle) make a hoot. c (often foll. by at) make loud sounds,
esp. of scorn or disapproval or colloq. merriment (hooted with
laughter). 2 tr. a assail with scornful shouts. b (often
foll. by out, away) drive away by hooting. 3 tr. sound (a motor
horn or steam whistle). [ME huten (v.), perh. imit.]
hootch var. of HOOCH.
n. (pl. -ies) US colloq. an informal gathering with folk
music. [orig. dial., = 'gadget']
hooter n. 1 Brit. a siren or steam whistle, esp. as a signal for work
to begin or cease. 2 Brit. the horn of a motor vehicle. 3 sl.
a nose. 4 a person or animal that hoots.
hoots int. Sc. & N.Engl. expressing dissatisfaction or impatience.
[natural exclam.: cf. Sw. hut begone, Welsh hwt away, Ir. ut
out, all in similar sense]
Hoover n. & v. --n. propr. a vacuum cleaner (properly one made by the
Hoover company). --v. (hoover) 1 tr. (also absol.) clean (a
carpet etc.) with a vacuum cleaner. 2 (foll. by up) a tr. suck
up with or as with a vacuum cleaner (hoovered up the crumbs). b
absol. clean a room etc. with a vacuum cleaner (decided to
hoover up before they arrived). [W. H. Hoover, Amer.
manufacturer d. 1932]
hooves pl. of HOOF.
hop(1) v. & n. --v. (hopped, hopping) 1 intr. (of a bird, frog, etc.)
spring with two or all feet at once. 2 intr. (of a person) jump
on one foot. 3 tr. cross (a ditch etc.) by hopping. 4 intr.
colloq. a make a quick trip. b make a quick change of position
or location. 5 tr. colloq. a jump into (a vehicle). b obtain
(a ride) in this way. 6 tr. (usu. as hopping n.) (esp. of
aircraft) pass quickly from one (place of a specified type) to
another (cloud-hopping; hedge-hopping). --n. 1 a hopping
movement. 2 colloq. an informal dance. 3 a short flight in an
aircraft; the distance travelled by air without landing; a stage
of a flight or journey. Ьhop in (or out) colloq. get into (or
out of) a car etc. hop it Brit. sl. go away. hopping mad
colloq. very angry. hop, skip (or step), and jump = triple
jump. hop the twig (or stick) sl. 1 depart suddenly. 2 die.
on the hop colloq. 1 unprepared (caught on the hop). 2
bustling about. [OE hoppian]
hop(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a climbing plant, Humulus lupulus, cultivated
for the cones borne by the female. 2 (in pl.) a the ripe cones
of this, used to give a bitter flavour to beer. b Austral. & NZ
colloq. beer. 3 US sl. opium or any other narcotic. --v.
(hopped, hopping) 1 tr. flavour with hops. 2 intr. produce or
pick hops. 3 tr. US sl. (foll. by up) stimulate with a drug.
(esp. as hopped up). Ьhop-bind (or -bine) the climbing stem of
the hop. hop-sack (or -sacking) 1 a a coarse material made from
hemp etc. b sacking for hops made from this. 2 a coarse
clothing fabric of a loose plain weave. [ME hoppe f. MLG, MDu.
hope n. & v. --n. 1 (in sing. or pl.; often foll. by of, that)
expectation and desire combined, e.g. for a certain thing to
occur (hope of getting the job). 2 a a person, thing, or
circumstance that gives cause for hope. b ground of hope,
promise. 3 what is hoped for. 4 archaic a feeling of trust.
--v. 1 intr. (often foll. by for) feel hope. 2 tr. expect and
desire. 3 tr. feel fairly confident. Ьhope against hope cling
to a mere possibility. hope chest US = bottom drawer. not a
(or some) hope! colloq. no chance at all. ЬЬhoper n. [OE
hopeful adj. & n. --adj. 1 feeling hope. 2 causing or inspiring hope.
3 likely to succeed, promising. --n. (in full young hopeful) 1
a person likely to succeed. 2 iron. a person likely to be
disappointed. ЬЬhopefulness n.
hopefully adv. 1 in a hopeful manner. 2 disp. (qualifying a whole
sentence) it is to be hoped (hopefully, the car will be ready by
hopeless adj. 1 feeling no hope. 2 admitting no hope (a hopeless case).
3 inadequate, incompetent (am hopeless at tennis). ЬЬhopelessly
adv. hopelessness n.
hophead n. sl. 1 US a drug addict. 2 Austral. & NZ a drunkard.
hoplite n. a heavily-armed foot-soldier of ancient Greece. [Gk
hoplites f. hoplon weapon]
hopper(1) n. 1 a person who hops. 2 a hopping arthropod, esp. a flea or
cheese-maggot or young locust. 3 a a container tapering
downward (orig. having a hopping motion) through which grain
passes into a mill. b a similar contrivance in various
machines. 4 a a barge carrying away mud etc. from a
dredging-machine and discharging it. b a railway truck able to
discharge coal etc. through its floor.
hopper(2) n. a hop-picker.
hopple v. & n. --v.tr. fasten together the legs of (a horse etc.) to
prevent it from straying etc. --n. an apparatus for this.
[prob. LG: cf. HOBBLE and early Flem. hoppelen = MDu. hobelen
hopscotch n. a children's game of hopping over squares or oblongs marked
on the ground to retrieve a flat stone etc. [HOP(1) +
horary adj. archaic 1 of the hours. 2 occurring every hour, hourly.
[med.L horarius f. L hora HOUR]
horde n. 1 a usu. derog. a large group, a gang. b a moving swarm or
pack (of insects, wolves, etc.). 2 a troop of Tartar or other
nomads. [Pol. horda f. Turki ordi, ordu camp: cf. URDU]
horehound n. (also hoarhound) 1 a a herbaceous plant, Marrubium vulgare,
with a white cottony covering on its stem and leaves. b its
bitter aromatic juice used against coughs etc. 2 a herbaceous
plant, Ballota nigra, with an unpleasant aroma. [OE hare hune
f. har HOAR + hune a plant]
horizon n. 1 a the line at which the earth and sky appear to meet. b
(in full apparent or sensible or visible horizon) the line at
which the earth and sky would appear to meet but for
irregularities and obstructions; a circle where the earth's
surface touches a cone whose vertex is at the observer's eye. c
(in full celestial or rational or true horizon) a great circle
of the celestial sphere, the plane of which passes through the
centre of the earth and is parallel to that of the apparent
horizon of a place. 2 limit of mental perception, experience,
interest, etc. 3 a geological stratum or set of strata, or
layer of soil, with particular characteristics. 4 Archaeol. the
level at which a particular set of remains is found. Ьon the
horizon (of an event) just imminent or becoming apparent. [ME
f. OF orizon(te) f. LL horizon -ontis f. Gk horizon (kuklos)
adj. & n. --adj. 1 a parallel to the plane of the horizon, at
right angles to the vertical (horizontal plane). b (of
machinery etc.) having its parts working in a horizontal
direction. 2 a combining firms engaged in the same stage of
production (horizontal integration). b involving social groups
of equal status etc. 3 of or at the horizon. --n. a horizontal
line, plane, etc. ЬЬhorizontality n. horizontally adv.
horizontalness n. [F horizontal or mod.L horizontalis (as
hormone n. 1 Biochem. a regulatory substance produced in an organism
and transported in tissue fluids such as blood or sap to
stimulate cells or tissues into action. 2 a synthetic substance
with a similar effect. ЬЬhormonal adj. [Gk hormon part. of
horn n. & v. --n. 1 a a hard permanent outgrowth, often curved and
pointed, on the head of cattle, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and
other esp. hoofed mammals, found singly, in pairs, or one in
front of another. b the structure of a horn, consisting of a
core of bone encased in keratinized skin. 2 each of two
deciduous branched appendages on the head of (esp. male) deer.
3 a hornlike projection on the head of other animals, e.g. a
snail's tentacle, the crest of a horned owl, etc. 4 the
substance of which horns are composed. 5 anything resembling or
compared to a horn in shape. 6 Mus. a = French horn. b a wind
instrument played by lip vibration, orig. made of horn, now usu.
of brass. c a horn player. 7 an instrument sounding a warning
or other signal (car horn; foghorn). 8 a receptacle or
instrument made of horn, e.g. a drinking-vessel or powder-flask
etc. 9 a horn-shaped projection. 10 the extremity of the moon
or other crescent. 11 a an arm or branch of a river, bay, etc.
b (the Horn) Cape Horn. 12 a pyramidal peak formed by glacial
action. 13 coarse sl. an erect penis. 14 the hornlike emblem
of a cuckold. --v.tr. 1 (esp. as horned adj.) provide with
horns. 2 gore with the horns. Ьhorn in sl. 1 (usu. foll. by
on) intrude. 2 interfere. horn of plenty a cornucopia.
horn-rimmed (esp. of spectacles) having rims made of horn or a
substance resembling it. on the horns of a dilemma faced with a
decision involving equally unfavourable alternatives. ЬЬhornist
n. (in sense 6 of n.). hornless adj. hornlike adj. [OE f.
Gmc, rel. to L cornu]
hornbeam n. any tree of the genus Carpinus, with a smooth bark and a
hard tough wood.
hornbill n. any bird of the family Bucerotidae, with a hornlike
excrescence on its large red or yellow curved bill.
n. a dark-brown, black, or green mineral occurring in many
igneous and metamorphic rocks, and composed of calcium,
magnesium, and iron silicates. [G (as HORN, BLENDE)]
hornbook n. hist. a leaf of paper containing the alphabet, the Lord's
Prayer, etc., mounted on a wooden tablet with a handle, and
protected by a thin plate of horn.
horned adj. having a horn. Ьhorned owl an owl, Bubo virginianus, with
hornlike feathers over the ears. horned toad 1 an American
lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, covered with spiny scales. 2 any
SE Asian toad of the family Pelobatidae, with horn-shaped
extensions over the eyes.
hornet n. a large wasp, Vespa crabro, with a brown and yellow striped
body, and capable of inflicting a serious sting. Ьstir up a
hornets' nest provoke or cause trouble or opposition. [prob. f.
MLG, MDu. horn(e)te, corresp. to OE hyrnet, perh. rel. to HORN]
hornpipe n. 1 a lively dance, usu. by one person (esp. associated with
sailors). 2 the music for this. [name of an obs. wind
instrument partly of horn: ME, f. HORN + PIPE]
hornstone n. a brittle siliceous rock.
v.tr. sl. cheat, hoax. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
hornwort n. any aquatic rootless plant of the genus Ceratophyllum, with
horny adj. (hornier, horniest) 1 of or like horn. 2 hard like horn,
callous (horny-handed). 3 sl. sexually excited. ЬЬhorniness n.
horologe n. archaic a timepiece. [ME f. OF orloge f. L horologium f. Gk
horologion f. hora time + -logos -telling]
horology n. the art of measuring time or making clocks, watches, etc.;
the study of this. ЬЬhorologer n. horologic adj. horological
adj. horologist n. [Gk hora time + -LOGY]
horoscope n. Astrol. 1 a forecast of a person's future based on a
diagram showing the relative positions of the stars and planets
at that person's birth. 2 such a diagram (cast a horoscope). 3
observation of the sky and planets at a particular moment, esp.
at a person's birth. ЬЬhoroscopic adj. horoscopical adj.
horoscopy n. [F f. L horoscopus f. Gk horoskopos f. hora time
+ skopos observer]
adj. horrifying. ЬЬhorrendously adv. horrendousness n. [L
horrendus gerundive of horrere: see HORRID]
horrible adj. 1 causing or likely to cause horror; hideous, shocking. 2
colloq. unpleasant, excessive (horrible weather; horrible
noise). ЬЬhorribleness n. horribly adv. [ME f. OF (h)orrible
f. L horribilis f. horrere: see HORRID]
n. literary = goose-flesh. [LL horripilatio f. L horrere to
bristle + pilus hair]
horror n. & adj. --n. 1 a painful feeling of loathing and fear. 2 a
(often foll. by of) intense dislike. b (often foll. by at)
colloq. intense dismay. 3 a a person or thing causing horror.
b colloq. a bad or mischievous person etc. 4 (in pl.; prec. by
the) a fit of horror, depression, or nervousness, esp. as in
delirium tremens. 5 a terrified and revolted shuddering. 6 (in
pl.) an exclamation of dismay. --attrib. adj. (of literature,
films, etc.) designed to attract by arousing pleasurable
feelings of horror. ЬChamber of Horrors a place full of horrors
(orig. a room of criminals etc. in Madame Tussaud's waxworks).
horror-struck (or -stricken) horrified, shocked. [ME f. OF
(h)orrour f. L horror -oris (as HORRID)]
adj. 1 unrivalled, unequalled. 2 (of an exhibit or exhibitor)
not competing for a prize. [F, lit. 'outside competition']
hors de combat
adj. out of the fight, disabled. [F]
n. an appetizer served at the beginning of a meal or
(occasionally) during a meal. [F, lit. 'outside the work']
horse n. & v. --n. 1 a a solid-hoofed plant-eating quadruped, Equus
caballus, with flowing mane and tail, used for riding and to
carry and pull loads. b an adult male horse; a stallion or
gelding. c any other four-legged mammal of the genus Equus,
including asses and zebras. d (collect.; as sing.) cavalry. e
a representation of a horse. 2 a vaulting-block. 3 a
supporting frame esp. with legs (clothes-horse). 4 sl. heroin.
5 colloq. a unit of horsepower. 6 Naut. any of various ropes
and bars. 7 Mining an obstruction in a vein. --v. 1 intr.
(foll. by around) fool about. 2 tr. provide (a person or
vehicle) with a horse or horses. 3 intr. mount or go on
horseback. Ьfrom the horse's mouth (of information etc.) from
the person directly concerned or another authoritative source.
horse-and-buggy US old-fashioned, bygone. horse-block a small
platform of stone or wood for mounting a horse. horse-brass see
BRASS. horse-breaker one who breaks in horses. horse chestnut
1 any large ornamental tree of the genus Aesculus, with upright
conical clusters of white or pink or red flowers. 2 the dark
brown fruit of this (like an edible chestnut, but with a coarse
bitter taste). horse-cloth a cloth used to cover a horse, or as
part of its trappings. horse-coper a horse-dealer.
horse-doctor a veterinary surgeon attending horses. horse-drawn
(of a vehicle) pulled by a horse or horses. Horse Guards 1 (in
the UK) the cavalry brigade of the household troops. 2 the
headquarters of such cavalry, esp. a building in Whitehall.
horse latitudes a belt of calms in each hemisphere between the
trade winds and the westerlies. horse-mackerel any large fish
of the mackerel type, e.g. the scad or the tunny.
horse-mushroom a large edible mushroom, Agaricus arvensis.
horse opera US sl. a western film. horse-pistol a pistol for
use by a horseman. horse-pond a pond for watering and washing
horses, proverbial as a place for ducking obnoxious persons.
horse-race a race between horses with riders. horse-racing the
sport of conducting horse-races. horse sense colloq. plain
common sense. horses for courses the matching of tasks and
talents. horse's neck sl. a drink of flavoured ginger ale usu.
with spirits. horse-soldier a soldier mounted on a horse.
horse-trading 1 US dealing in horses. 2 shrewd bargaining. to
horse! (as a command) mount your horses. ЬЬhorseless adj.
horselike adj. [OE hors f. Gmc]
horseback n. the back of a horse, esp. as sat on in riding. Ьon
horseback mounted on a horse.
horsebean n. a broad bean used as fodder.
horsebox n. Brit. a closed vehicle for transporting a horse or horses.
n. 1 the flesh of a horse, esp. as food. 2 horses
horsefly n. (pl. -flies) any of various biting dipterous insects of the
family Tabanidae troublesome esp. to horses.
horsehair n. hair from the mane or tail of a horse, used for padding etc.
n. 1 a large kind of leech feeding by swallowing not sucking.
2 an insatiable person (cf. Prov. 30:15).
horseless adj. without a horse. Ьhorseless carriage archaic a motor car.
horseman n. (pl. -men) 1 a rider on horseback. 2 a skilled rider.
n. the art of riding on horseback; skill in doing this.
horseplay n. boisterous play.
n. (pl. same) 1 an imperial unit of power equal to 550
foot-pounds per second (about 750 watts). °Abbr.: hp. 2 the
power of an engine etc. measured in terms of this.
n. 1 a cruciferous plant, Armoracia rusticana, with long lobed
leaves. 2 the pungent root of this scraped or grated as a
condiment, often made into a sauce.
horseshoe n. 1 an iron shoe for a horse shaped like the outline of the
hard part of the hoof. 2 a thing of this shape; an object
shaped like C or U (e.g. a magnet, a table, a Spanish or
Islamic arch). Ьhorseshoe crab a large marine arthropod,
Xiphosura polyphemus, with a horseshoe-shaped shell and a long
tail-spine: also called king-crab.
horsetail n. 1 the tail of a horse (formerly used in Turkey as a
standard, or as an ensign denoting the rank of a pasha). 2 any
cryptogamous plant of the genus Equisetum, like a horse's tail,
with a hollow jointed stem and scale-like leaves. 3 =
horsewhip n. & v. --n. a whip for driving horses. --v.tr. (-whipped,
-whipping) beat with a horsewhip.
n. (pl. -women) 1 a woman who rides on horseback. 2 a skilled
horst n. Geol. a raised elongated block of land bounded by faults on
both sides. [G, = heap]
horsy adj. (also horsey) (horsier, horsiest) 1 of or like a horse. 2
concerned with or devoted to horses or horse-racing. 3
affectedly using the dress and language of a groom or jockey.
ЬЬhorsily adv. horsiness n.
hortative adj. (also hortatory) tending or serving to exhort.
ЬЬhortation n. [L hortativus f. hortari exhort]
hortensia n. a kind of hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla, with large
rounded infertile flower heads. [mod.L f. Hortense Lepaute,
n. the art of garden cultivation. ЬЬhorticultural adj.
horticulturist n. [L hortus garden, after AGRICULTURE]
n. 1 an arranged collection of dried plants. 2 a collection of
uninteresting facts etc. [L, = dry garden]
Hos. abbr. Hosea (Old Testament).
hosanna n. & int. a shout of adoration (Matt. 21:9, 15, etc.). [ME f.
LL f. Gk hosanna f. Heb. h“sa' na for h“sЊ' a-nnѓ save now!]
hose n. & v. --n. 1 (also hose-pipe) a flexible tube conveying
water for watering plants etc., putting out fires, etc. 2 a
(collect.; as pl.) stockings and socks (esp. in trade use). b
hist. breeches (doublet and hose). --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by
down) water or spray or drench with a hose. 2 provide with
hose. Ьhalf-hose socks. [OE f. Gmc]
hosier n. a dealer in hosiery.
hosiery n. 1 stockings and socks. 2 Brit. knitted or woven underwear.
hospice n. 1 Brit. a home for people who are ill (esp. terminally) or
destitute. 2 a lodging for travellers, esp. one kept by a
religious order. [F f. L hospitium (as HOST(2))]
adj. giving or disposed to give welcome and entertainment to
strangers or guests. ЬЬhospitably adv. [F f. hospiter f.
med.L hospitare entertain (as HOST(2))]
hospital n. 1 an institution providing medical and surgical treatment
and nursing care for ill or injured people. 2 hist. a a
hospice. b an establishment of the Knights Hospitallers. 3 Law
a charitable institution (also in proper names, e.g. Christ's
Hospital). Ьhospital corners a way of tucking in sheets, used
by nurses. hospital fever a kind of typhus formerly prevalent
in crowded hospitals. hospital ship a ship to receive sick and
wounded seamen, or to take sick and wounded soldiers home.
hospital train a train taking wounded soldiers from a
battlefield. [ME f. OF f. med.L hospitale neut. of L hospitalis
(adj.) (as HOST(2))]
US var. of HOSPITALLER.
n. the adverse effects of a prolonged stay in hospital.
n. the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of
guests or strangers. [ME f. OF hospitalit‚ f. L hospitalitas
-tatis (as HOSPITAL)]
v.tr. (also -ise) send or admit (a patient) to hospital.
n. (US hospitaler) 1 a member of a charitable religious order.
2 a chaplain (in some London hospitals). [ME f. OF hospitalier
f. med.L hospitalarius (as HOSPITAL)]
host(1) n. 1 (usu. foll. by of) a large number of people or things. 2
archaic an army. 3 (in full heavenly host) Bibl. a the sun,
moon, and stars. b the angels. Ьhost (or hosts) of heaven =
sense 3 of n. is a host in himself can do as much as several
ordinary people. Lord (or Lord God) of hosts God as Lord over
earthly or heavenly armies. [ME f. OF f. L hostis stranger,
enemy, in med.L 'army']
host(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a person who receives or entertains another as
a guest. 2 the landlord of an inn (mine host). 3 Biol. an
animal or plant having a parasite or commensal. 4 an animal or
person that has received a transplanted organ etc. 5 the
compЉre of a show, esp. of a television or radio programme.
--v.tr. act as host to (a person) or at (an event). [ME f. OF
oste f. L hospes -pitis host, guest]
host(3) n. the bread consecrated in the Eucharist. [ME f. OF (h)oiste
f. L hostia victim]
hosta n. any perennial garden plant of the genus Hosta (formerly
Funkia) with green or variegated ornamental leaves and loose
clusters of tubular mauve or white flowers. [mod.L, f. N. T.
Host, Austrian physician d. 1834]
hostage n. 1 a person seized or held as security for the fulfilment of
a condition. 2 a pledge or security. Ьa hostage to fortune an
acquisition, commitment, etc., regarded as endangered by
unforeseen circumstances. ЬЬhostageship n. [ME f. OF (h)ostage
ult. f. LL obsidatus hostageship f. L obses obsidis hostage]
hostel n. 1 Brit. a house of residence or lodging for students,
nurses, etc. 2 = youth hostel. 3 archaic an inn. [ME f. OF
(h)ostel f. med.L (as HOSPITAL)]
n. (US hosteling) the practice of staying in youth hostels,
esp. while travelling. ЬЬhosteller n.
hostelry n. (pl. -ies) archaic or literary an inn. [ME f. OF
(h)ostelerie f. (h)ostelier innkeeper (as HOSTEL)]
hostess n. 1 a woman who receives or entertains a guest. 2 a woman
employed to welcome and entertain customers at a nightclub etc.
3 a stewardess on an aircraft, train, etc. (air hostess). [ME
f. OF (h)ostesse (as HOST(2))]
hostile adj. 1 of an enemy. 2 (often foll. by to) unfriendly, opposed.
Ьhostile witness Law a witness who appears hostile to the party
calling him or her and therefore untrustworthy. ЬЬhostilely
adv. [F hostile or L hostilis (as HOST(1))]
hostility n. (pl. -ies) 1 being hostile, enmity. 2 a state of warfare.
3 (in pl.) acts of warfare. 4 opposition (in thought etc.). [F
hostilit‚ or LL hostilitas (as HOSTILE)]
hostler n. 1 = OSTLER. 2 US a person in charge of vehicles or
machines, esp. railway engines, when they are not in use. [ME
f. hosteler (as OSTLER)]
hot adj., v., & adv. --adj. (hotter, hottest) 1 a having a
relatively or noticeably high temperature. b (of food or drink)
prepared by heating and served without cooling. 2 producing the
sensation of heat (hot fever; hot flush). 3 (of pepper, spices,
etc.) pungent. 4 (of a person) feeling heat. 5 a ardent,
passionate, excited. b (often foll. by for, on) eager, keen (in
hot pursuit). c angry or upset. d lustful. e exciting. 6 a
(of news etc.) fresh, recent. b Brit. colloq. (of Treasury
bills) newly issued. 7 Hunting (of the scent) fresh and strong,
indicating that the quarry has passed recently. 8 a (of a
player) very skilful. b (of a competitor in a race or other
sporting event) strongly fancied to win (a hot favourite). c
(of a hit, return, etc., in ball games) difficult for an
opponent to deal with. 9 (of music, esp. jazz) strongly
rhythmical and emotional. 10 sl. a (of goods) stolen, esp.
easily identifiable and hence difficult to dispose of. b (of a
person) wanted by the police. 11 sl. radioactive. 12 colloq.
(of information) unusually reliable (hot tip). --v. (hotted,
hotting) (usu. foll. by up) Brit. colloq. 1 tr. & intr. make
or become hot. 2 tr. & intr. make or become active, lively,
exciting, or dangerous. --adv. 1 angrily, severely (give it
him hot). 2 eagerly. Ьgo hot and cold feel alternately hot and
cold owing to fear etc. have the hots for sl. be sexually
attracted to. hot air sl. empty, boastful, or excited talk.
hot-air balloon a balloon (see BALLOON n. 2) consisting of a
bag in which air is heated by burners located below it, causing
it to rise. hot blast a blast of heated air forced into a
furnace. hot-blooded ardent, passionate. hot cathode a cathode
heated to emit electrons. hot cross bun see BUN. hot dog n.
colloq. a hot sausage sandwiched in a soft roll. --int. US
sl. expressing approval. hot flush see FLUSH(1). hot gospeller
see GOSPELLER. hot line a direct exclusive line of
communication, esp. for emergencies. hot metal Printing using
type made from molten metal. hot money capital transferred at
frequent intervals. hot potato colloq. a controversial or
awkward matter or situation. hot-press n. a press of glazed
boards and hot metal plates for smoothing paper or cloth or
making plywood. --v.tr. press (paper etc.) in this. hot rod a
motor vehicle modified to have extra power and speed. hot seat
sl. 1 a position of difficult responsibility. 2 the electric
chair. hot-short (of metal) brittle in its hot state (cf.
COLD-SHORT). hot spot 1 a small region that is relatively hot.
2 a lively or dangerous place. hot spring a spring of naturally
hot water. hot stuff colloq. 1 a formidably capable person. 2
an important person or thing. 3 a sexually attractive person.
4 a spirited, strong-willed, or passionate person. 5 a book,
film, etc. with a strongly erotic content. hot-tempered
impulsively angry. hot under the collar angry, resentful, or
embarrassed. hot war an open war, with active hostilities. hot
water colloq. difficulty, trouble, or disgrace (be in hot
water; get into hot water). hot-water bottle (US bag) a
container, usu. made of rubber, filled with hot water, esp. to
warm a bed. hot well 1 = hot spring. 2 a reservoir in a
condensing steam engine. hot-wire operated by the expansion of
heated wire. like hot cakes see CAKE. make it (or things) hot
for a person persecute a person. not so hot colloq. only
mediocre. ЬЬhotly adv. hotness n. hottish adj. [OE hat f.
Gmc: cf. HEAT]
hotbed n. 1 a bed of earth heated by fermenting manure. 2 (foll. by
of) an environment promoting the growth of something, esp.
something unwelcome (hotbed of vice).
n. (also (esp. in sense 3) hotchpot) 1 a confused mixture, a
jumble. 2 a dish of many mixed ingredients, esp. a mutton broth
or stew with vegetables. 3 Law the reunion and blending of
properties for the purpose of securing equal division (esp. of
the property of an intestate parent). [ME f. AF & OF hochepot
f. OF hocher shake + POT(1): -potch by assim.]
hotel n. 1 an establishment providing accommodation and meals for
payment. 2 Austral. & NZ a public house. [F h“tel, later form
hotelier n. a hotel-keeper. [F h“telier f. OF hostelier: see HOSTELRY]
hotheaded adj. impetuous, excitable. ЬЬhotheadedly adv. hotheadedness
hothouse n. 1 a heated building, usu. largely of glass, for rearing
plants out of season or in a climate colder than is natural for
them. 2 an environment that encourages the rapid growth or
development of something.
hotplate n. a heated metal plate etc. (or a set of these) for cooking
food or keeping it hot.
hotpot n. a casserole of meat and vegetables, usu. with a layer of
potato on top.
hotshot n. & adj. esp. US colloq. --n. an important or exceptionally
able person. --adj. (attrib.) important, able, expert, suddenly
hotspur n. a rash person. [sobriquet of Sir H. Percy, d. 1403]
Hottentot n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of a stocky Negroid people of SW
Africa. 2 their language. --adj. of this people. [Afrik.,
perh. = stammerer, with ref. to their mode of pronunc.]
hottie n. (also hotty) (pl. -ies) colloq. a hot-water bottle.
Houdini n. 1 an ingenious escape. 2 a person skilled at escaping. [H.
Houdini, professional name of E. Weiss, American escapologist d.
hough n. & v. Brit. --n. 1 = HOCK(1). 2 a cut of beef etc. from
this and the leg above it. --v.tr. hamstring. ЬЬhougher n.
[ME ho(u)gh = OE hoh (heel) in hohsinu hamstring]
hoummos var. of HUMMUS.
hound n. & v. --n. 1 a a dog used for hunting, esp. one able to
track by scent. b (the hounds) Brit. a pack of foxhounds. 2
colloq. a despicable man. 3 a runner who follows a trail in
hare and hounds. 4 a person keen in pursuit of something (usu.
in comb.: news-hound). --v.tr. 1 harass or pursue
relentlessly. 2 chase or pursue with a hound. 3 (foll. by at)
set (a dog or person) on (a quarry). 4 urge on or nag (a
person). Ьhound's tongue Bot. a tall plant, Cynoglossum
officinale, with tongue-shaped leaves. hound's-tooth a check
pattern with notched corners suggestive of a canine tooth. ride
to hounds go fox-hunting on horseback. ЬЬhounder n. houndish
adj. [OE hund f. Gmc]
hour n. 1 a twenty-fourth part of a day and night, 60 minutes. 2 a
time of day, a point in time (a late hour; what is the hour?).
3 (in pl. with preceding numerals in form 18.00, 20.30, etc.)
this number of hours and minutes past midnight on the 24-hour
clock (will assemble at 20.00 hours). 4 a a period set aside
for some purpose (lunch hour; keep regular hours). b (in pl.) a
fixed period of time for work, use of a building, etc. (office
hours; opening hours). 5 a short indefinite period of time (an
idle hour). 6 the present time (question of the hour). 7 a
time for action etc. (the hour has come). 8 the distance
traversed in one hour by a means of transport stated or implied
(we are an hour from London). 9 RC Ch. a prayers to be said at
one of seven fixed times of day (book of hours). b any of these
times. 10 (prec. by the) each time o'clock of a whole number of
hours (buses leave on the hour; on the half hour; at quarter
past the hour). 11 Astron. 15ш of longitude or right ascension.
Ьafter hours after closing-time. hour-hand the hand on a clock
or watch which shows the hour. hour-long adj. lasting for one
hour. --adv. for one hour. till all hours till very late. [ME
ure etc. f. AF ure, OF ore, eure f. L hora f. Gk hora season,
hourglass n. a reversible device with two connected glass bulbs
containing sand that takes an hour to pass from the upper to the
houri n. a beautiful young woman, esp. in the Muslim Paradise. [F f.
Pers. huri f. Arab. hur pl. of hawra' gazelle-like (in the
hourly adj. & adv. --adj. 1 done or occurring every hour. 2
frequent, continual. 3 reckoned hour by hour (hourly wage).
--adv. 1 every hour. 2 frequently, continually.
house n. & v. --n. (pl.) 1 a a building for human habitation. b
(attrib.) (of an animal) kept in, frequenting, or infesting
houses (house-cat; housefly). 2 a building for a special
purpose (opera-house; summer-house). 3 a building for keeping
animals or goods (hen-house). 4 a a religious community. b the
buildings occupied by it. 5 a a body of pupils living in the
same building at a boarding-school. b such a building. c a
division of a day-school for games, competitions, etc. 6 a a
college of a university. b (the House) Christ Church, Oxford.
7 a family, esp. a royal family; a dynasty (House of York). 8 a
a firm or institution. b its place of business. c (the House)
Brit. colloq. the Stock Exchange. 9 a a legislative or
deliberative assembly. b the building where it meets. c (the
House) (in the UK) the House of Commons or Lords; (in the US)
the House of Representatives. 10 a an audience in a theatre,
cinema, etc. b a performance in a theatre or cinema (second
house starts at 9 o'clock). c a theatre. 11 Astrol. a twelfth
part of the heavens. 12 (attrib.) living in a hospital as a
member of staff (house officer; house physician; house surgeon).
13 a a place of public refreshment, a restaurant or inn
(coffee-house; public house). b (attrib.) (of wine) selected by
the management of a restaurant, hotel, etc. to be offered at a
special price. 14 US a brothel. 15 Sc. a dwelling that is one
of several in a building. 16 Brit. sl. = HOUSEY-HOUSEY. 17 an
animal's den, shell, etc. 18 (the House) Brit. hist. euphem.
the workhouse. --v.tr. 1 provide (a person, a population,
etc.) with a house or houses or other accommodation. 2 store
(goods etc.). 3 enclose or encase (a part or fitting). 4 fix
in a socket, mortise, etc. Ьas safe as houses thoroughly or
completely safe. house-agent Brit. an agent for the sale and
letting of houses. house and home (as an emphatic) home. house
arrest detention in one's own house etc., not in prison.
house-broken = house-trained. house church 1 a charismatic
church independent of traditional denominations. 2 a group
meeting in a house as part of the activities of a church.
house-dog a dog kept to guard a house. house-father a man in
charge of a house, esp. of a home for children. house-flag a
flag indicating to what firm a ship belongs. house guest a
guest staying for some days in a private house. house-hunting
seeking a house to live in. house-husband a husband who carries
out the household duties traditionally carried out by a
housewife. house lights the lights in the auditorium of a
theatre. house magazine a magazine published by a firm and
dealing mainly with its own activities. house-martin a black
and white swallow-like bird, Delichon urbica, which builds a mud
nest on house walls etc. house-mother a woman in charge of a
house, esp. of a home for children. house of cards 1 an
insecure scheme etc. 2 a structure built (usu. by a child) out
of playing cards. House of Commons (in the UK) the elected
chamber of Parliament. house of God a church, a place of
worship. house of ill fame archaic a brothel. House of Keys
(in the Isle of Man) the elected chamber of Tynwald. House of
Lords 1 (in the UK) the chamber of Parliament composed of peers
and bishops. 2 a committee of specially qualified members of
this appointed as the ultimate judicial appeal court. House of
Representatives the lower house of the US Congress and other
legislatures. house-parent a house-mother or house-father.
house party a group of guests staying at a country house etc.
house-plant a plant grown indoors. house-proud attentive to, or
unduly preoccupied with, the care and appearance of the home.
Houses of Parliament 1 the Houses of Lords and Commons regarded
together. 2 the buildings where they meet. house sparrow a
common brown and grey sparrow, Passer domesticus, which nests in
the eaves and roofs of houses. house style a particular
printer's or publisher's etc. preferred way of presentation.
house-to-house performed at or carried to each house in turn.
house-trained Brit. 1 (of animals) trained to be clean in the
house. 2 colloq. well-mannered. house-warming a party
celebrating a move to a new home. keep house provide for or
manage a household. keep (or make) a House secure the presence
of enough members for a quorum in the House of Commons. keep
open house provide general hospitality. keep to the house (or
keep the house) stay indoors. like a house on fire 1
vigorously, fast. 2 successfully, excellently. on the house at
the management's expense, free. play house play at being a
family in its home. put (or set) one's house in order make
necessary reforms. set up house begin to live in a separate
dwelling. ЬЬhouseful n. (pl. -fuls). houseless adj. [OE
hus, husian, f. Gmc]
houseboat n. a boat fitted up for living in.
adj. unable to leave one's house through illness etc.
houseboy n. a boy or man as a servant in a house.
n. 1 a person guilty of housebreaking. 2 Brit. a person who is
employed to demolish houses.
n. the act of breaking into a building, esp. in daytime, to
commit a crime. °In 1968 replaced as a statutory crime in
English law by burglary.
housecarl n. (also housecarle) hist. a member of the bodyguard of a
Danish or English king or noble. [OE hЈscarl f. ON hЈskarl f.
hЈs HOUSE + karl man: cf. CARL]
housecoat n. a woman's garment for informal wear in the house, usu. a
long dresslike coat.
n. Brit. skill in household management.
housefly n. any fly of the family Muscidae, esp. Musca domestica,
breeding in decaying organic matter and often entering houses.
household n. 1 the occupants of a house regarded as a unit. 2 a house
and its affairs. 3 (prec. by the) (in the UK) the royal
household. Ьhousehold gods 1 gods presiding over a household,
esp. the lares and penates. 2 the essentials of home life.
household troops (in the UK) troops nominally employed to guard
the sovereign. household word (or name) 1 a familiar name or
saying. 2 a familiar person or thing.
n. 1 a person who owns or rents a house. 2 the head of a
housekeep v.intr. (past and past part. -kept) colloq. keep house.
n. 1 a person, esp. a woman, employed to manage a household. 2
a person in charge of a house, office, etc.
n. 1 the management of household affairs. 2 money allowed for
this. 3 operations of maintenance, record-keeping, etc., in an
houseleek n. a plant, Sempervivum tectorum, with pink flowers, growing on
walls and roofs.
housemaid n. a female servant in a house, esp. in charge of reception
rooms and bedrooms. Ьhousemaid's knee inflammation of the
kneecap, often due to excessive kneeling.
houseman n. (pl. -men) 1 Brit. a resident doctor at a hospital etc. 2
n. (fem. housemistress) the teacher in charge of a house at a
houseroom n. space or accommodation in one's house. Ьnot give houseroom
to not have in any circumstances.
housetop n. the roof of a house. Ьproclaim (or shout etc.) from the
housetops announce publicly.
housewife n. (pl. -wives) 1 a woman (usu. married) managing a household.
2 a case for needles, thread, etc. ЬЬhousewifely adj.
housewifeliness n. [ME hus(e)wif f. HOUSE + WIFE]
n. 1 housekeeping. 2 skill in this, housecraft.
housework n. regular work done in housekeeping, e.g. cleaning and
n. (also housie-housie) Brit. sl. a gambling form of lotto.
n. 1 a dwelling-houses collectively. b the provision of these.
2 shelter, lodging. 3 a rigid casing, esp. for moving or
sensitive parts of a machine. 4 the hole or niche cut in one
piece of wood to receive some part of another in order to join
them. Ьhousing estate a residential area planned as a unit.
n. a cloth covering put on a horse for protection or ornament.
[ME = covering, f. obs. house f. OF houce f. med.L hultia f.
hove past of HEAVE.
hovel n. 1 a small miserable dwelling. 2 a conical building
enclosing a kiln. 3 an open shed or outhouse. [ME: orig.
hover v. & n. --v.intr. 1 (of a bird, helicopter, etc.) remain in
one place in the air. 2 (often foll. by about, round) wait
close at hand, linger. 3 remain undecided. --n. 1 hovering.
2 a state of suspense. Ьhover-fly (pl. -flies) any fly of the
family Syrphidae which hovers with rapidly beating wings.
ЬЬhoverer n. [ME f. obs. hove hover, linger]
n. (pl. same) a vehicle or craft that travels over land or
water on a cushion of air provided by a downward blast.
hoverport n. a terminal for hovercraft.
n. a train that travels on a cushion of air like a hovercraft.
how(1) adv., conj., & n. --interrog. adv. 1 by what means, in what
way (how do you do it?; tell me how you do it; how could you
behave so disgracefully?; but how to bridge the gap?). 2 in
what condition, esp. of health (how is the patient?; how do
things stand?). 3 a to what extent (how far is it?; how would
you like to take my place?; how we laughed!). b to what extent
good or well, what ... like (how was the film?; how did they
play?). --rel. adv. in whatever way, as (do it how you can).
--conj. colloq. that (told us how he'd been in India). --n.
the way a thing is done (the how and why of it). Ьand how! sl.
very much so (chiefly used ironically or intensively). here's
how! I drink to your good health. how about 1 would you like
(how about a game of chess?). 2 what is to be done about. 3
what is the news about. how are you? 1 what is your state of
health? 2 = how do you do? how come? see COME. how do? an
informal greeting on being introduced to a stranger. how do you
do? a formal greeting. how-do-you-do (or how-d'ye-do) n. (pl.
-dos) an awkward situation. how many what number. how much 1
what amount (how much do I owe you?; did not know how much to
take). 2 what price (how much is it?). 3 (as interrog.) joc.
what? ('She is a hedonist.' 'A how much?'). how now? archaic
what is the meaning of this? how so? how can you show that
that is so? how's that? 1 what is your opinion or explanation
of that? 2 Cricket (said to an umpire) is the batsman out or
not? [OE hu f. WG]
how(2) int. a greeting used by N. American Indians. [perh. f. Sioux
h o, Omaha hau]
howbeit adv. archaic nevertheless.
howdah n. a seat for two or more, usu. with a canopy, for riding on
the back of an elephant or camel. [Urdu hawda f. Arab. hawdaj
howdy int. US = how do you do? [corrupt.]
however adv. 1 a in whatever way (do it however you want). b to
whatever extent, no matter how (must go however inconvenient).
2 nevertheless. 3 colloq. (as an emphatic) in what way, by
what means (however did that happen?).
howitzer n. a short gun for high-angle firing of shells at low
velocities. [Du. houwitser f. G Haubitze f. Czech houfnice
howl n. & v. --n. 1 a long loud doleful cry uttered by a dog, wolf,
etc. 2 a prolonged wailing noise, e.g. as made by a strong
wind. 3 a loud cry of pain or rage. 4 a yell of derision or
merriment. 5 Electronics a howling noise in a loudspeaker due
to electrical or acoustic feedback. --v. 1 intr. make a howl.
2 intr. weep loudly. 3 tr. utter (words) with a howl. Ьhowl
down prevent (a speaker) from being heard by howls of derision.
[ME houle (v.), prob. imit.: cf. OWL]
howler n. 1 colloq. a glaring mistake. 2 a S. American monkey of the
genus Alouatta. 3 a person or animal that howls.
howling adj. 1 that howls. 2 sl. extreme (a howling shame). 3 archaic
dreary (howling wilderness). Ьhowling dervish see DERVISH.
howsoever adv. (also poet. howsoe'er) 1 in whatsoever way. 2 to
hoy(1) int. & n. --int. used to call attention, drive animals, or
Naut. hail or call aloft. --n. Austral. a game of chance
resembling bingo, using playing cards. [ME: natural cry]
hoy(2) n. hist. a small vessel, usu. rigged as a sloop, carrying
passengers and goods esp. for short distances. [MDu. hoei,
hoede, of unkn. orig.]
hoy(3) v.tr. Austral. sl. throw. [Brit. dial.: orig. unkn.]
hoya n. any climbing shrub of the genus Hoya, with pink, white, or
yellow waxy flowers. [mod.L f. T. Hoy, Engl. gardener d. 1821]
hoyden n. a boisterous girl. ЬЬhoydenish adj. [orig. = rude fellow,
prob. f. MDu. heiden (= HEATHEN)]
Hoyle n. Ьaccording to Hoyle adv. correctly, exactly. --adj.
correct, exact. [E. Hoyle, Engl. writer on card-games d. 1769]
hub n. 1 the central part of a wheel, rotating on or with the axle,
and from which the spokes radiate. 2 a central point of
interest, activity, etc. Ьhub-cap a cover for the hub of a
vehicle's wheel. [16th c.: perh. = HOB(1)]
n. 1 a rudimentary form of hookah. 2 a bubbling sound. 3
confused talk. [redupl. of BUBBLE]
hubbub n. 1 a confused din, esp. from a crowd of people. 2 a
disturbance or riot. [perh. of Ir. orig.: cf. Gael. ubub int.
of contempt, Ir. abЈ, used in battle-cries]
hubby n. (pl. -ies) colloq. a husband. [abbr.]
hubris n. 1 arrogant pride or presumption. 2 (in Greek tragedy)
excessive pride towards or defiance of the gods, leading to
nemesis. ЬЬhubristic adj. [Gk]
huckaback n. a stout linen or cotton fabric with a rough surface, used
for towelling. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 any low-growing N. American shrub of the genus
Gaylussacia. 2 the blue or black soft fruit of this plant.
[prob. alt. of hurtleberry, WHORTLEBERRY]
huckster n. & v. --n. 1 a mercenary person. 2 US a publicity agent,
esp. for broadcast material. 3 a pedlar or hawker. --v. 1
intr. bargain, haggle. 2 tr. carry on a petty traffic in. 3
tr. adulterate. [ME prob. f. LG: cf. dial. huck to bargain,
huddle v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. (often foll. by up) crowd together;
nestle closely. 2 intr. & refl. (often foll. by up) coil one's
body into a small space. 3 tr. Brit. heap together in a
muddle. --n. 1 a confused or crowded mass of people or things.
2 colloq. a close or secret conference (esp. in go into a
huddle). 3 confusion, bustle. [16th c.: perh. f. LG and ult.
rel. to HIDE(3)]
hue n. 1 a a colour or tint. b a variety or shade of colour caused
by the admixture of another. 2 the attribute of a colour by
virtue of which it is discernible as red, green, etc. ЬЬ-hued
adj. hueless adj. [OE hiew, hew form, beauty f. Gmc: cf. ON hy
down on plants]
hue and cry
n. 1 a loud clamour or outcry. 2 hist. a a loud cry raised
for the pursuit of a wrongdoer. b a proclamation for the
capture of a criminal. [AF hu e cri f. OF hu outcry (f. huer
shout) + e and + cri cry]
huff v. & n. --v. 1 intr. give out loud puffs of air, steam, etc.
2 intr. bluster loudly or threateningly (huffing and puffing).
3 intr. & tr. take or cause to take offence. 4 tr. Draughts
remove (an opponent's man that could have made a capture) from
the board as a forfeit (orig. after blowing on the piece). --n.
a fit of petty annoyance. Ьin a huff annoyed and offended.
ЬЬhuffish adj. [imit. of the sound of blowing]
huffy adj. (huffier, huffiest) 1 apt to take offence. 2 offended.
ЬЬhuffily adv. huffiness n.
hug v. & n. --v.tr. (hugged, hugging) 1 squeeze tightly in one's
arms, esp. with affection. 2 (of a bear) squeeze (a person)
between its forelegs. 3 keep close to (the shore, kerb, etc.).
4 cherish or cling to (prejudices etc.). 5 refl. congratulate
or be pleased with (oneself). --n. 1 a strong clasp with the
arms. 2 a squeezing grip in wrestling. ЬЬhuggable adj. [16th
c.: prob. f. Scand.: cf. ON hugga console]
huge adj. 1 extremely large; enormous. 2 (of immaterial things)
very great (a huge success). ЬЬhugeness n. [ME huge f. OF
ahuge, ahoge, of unkn. orig.]
hugely adv. 1 enormously (hugely successful). 2 very much (enjoyed it
adj., adv., n., & v. --adj. & adv. 1 in secret. 2 confused;
in confusion. --n. 1 secrecy. 2 confusion. --v.intr. proceed
in a secret or muddled fashion. [prob. rel. to ME hoder huddle,
mokere conceal: cf. 15th-c. hoder moder, 16th-c. hucker mucker
in the same sense]
Huguenot n. hist. a French Protestant. [F, assim. of eiguenot (f. Du.
eedgenot f. Swiss G Eidgenoss confederate) to the name of a
Geneva burgomaster Hugues]
huh int. expressing disgust, surprise, etc. [imit.]
hula n. (also hula-hula) a Polynesian dance performed by women, with
flowing movements of the arms. Ьhula hoop a large hoop for
spinning round the body with hula-like movements. hula skirt a
long grass skirt. [Hawaiian]
hulk n. 1 a the body of a dismantled ship, used as a store vessel
etc. b (in pl.) hist. this used as a prison. 2 an unwieldy
vessel. 3 colloq. a large clumsy-looking person or thing. [OE
hulc & MLG, MDu. hulk: cf. Gk holkas cargo ship]
hulking adj. colloq. bulky; large and clumsy.
hull(1) n. & v. --n. the body or frame of a ship, airship, flying boat,
etc. --v.tr. pierce the hull of (a ship) with gunshot etc.
[ME, perh. rel. to HOLD(2)]
hull(2) n. & v. --n. 1 the outer covering of a fruit, esp. the pod of
peas and beans, the husk of grain, or the green calyx of a
strawberry. 2 a covering. --v.tr. remove the hulls from (fruit
etc.). [OE hulu ult. f. helan cover: cf. HELE]
n. (pl. hullabaloos) an uproar or clamour. [18th c.: redupl.
of hallo, hullo, etc.]
hullo var. of HELLO.
hum(1) v. & n. --v. (hummed, humming) 1 intr. make a low steady
continuous sound like that of a bee. 2 tr. (also absol.) sing
(a wordless tune) with closed lips. 3 intr. utter a slight
inarticulate sound. 4 intr. colloq. be in an active state
(really made things hum). 5 intr. Brit. colloq. smell
unpleasantly. --n. 1 a humming sound. 2 an unwanted
low-frequency noise caused by variation of electric current,
usu. the alternating frequency of the mains, in an amplifier
etc. 3 Brit. colloq. a bad smell. Ьhum and haw (or ha)
hesitate, esp. in speaking. ЬЬhummable adj. hummer n. [ME,
hum(2) int. expressing hesitation or dissent. [imit.]
human adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or belonging to the genus Homo. 2
consisting of human beings (the human race). 3 of or
characteristic of mankind as opposed to God or animals or
machines, esp. susceptible to the weaknesses of mankind (is only
human). 4 showing (esp. the better) qualities of man (proved to
be very human). --n. a human being. Ьhuman being any man or
woman or child of the species Homo sapiens. human chain a line
of people formed for passing things along, e.g. buckets of water
to the site of a fire. human engineering 1 the management of
industrial labour, esp. as regards man-machine relationships. 2
the study of this. human equation a bias or prejudice. human
interest (in a newspaper story etc.) reference to personal
experience and emotions etc. human nature the general
characteristics and feelings of mankind. human relations
relations with or between people or individuals. human rights
rights held to be justifiably belonging to any person.
ЬЬhumanness n. [ME humain(e) f. OF f. L humanus f. homo human
humane adj. 1 benevolent, compassionate. 2 inflicting the minimum of
pain. 3 (of a branch of learning) tending to civilize or confer
refinement. Ьhumane killer an instrument for the painless
slaughter of animals. ЬЬhumanely adv. humaneness n. [var. of
HUMAN, differentiated in sense in the 18th c.]
humanism n. 1 an outlook or system of thought concerned with human
rather than divine or supernatural matters. 2 a belief or
outlook emphasizing common human needs and seeking solely
rational ways of solving human problems, and concerned with
mankind as responsible and progressive intellectual beings. 3
(often Humanism) literary culture, esp. that of the Renaissance
humanist n. 1 an adherent of humanism. 2 a humanitarian. 3 a student
(esp. in the 14th-16th c.) of Roman and Greek literature and
antiquities. ЬЬhumanistic adj. humanistically adv. [F
humaniste f. It. umanista (as HUMAN)]
n. & adj. --n. 1 a person who seeks to promote human welfare.
2 a person who advocates or practises humane action; a
philanthropist. --adj. relating to or holding the views of
humanitarians. ЬЬhumanitarianism n.
humanity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the human race. b human beings
collectively. c the fact or condition of being human. 2
humaneness, benevolence. 3 (in pl.) human attributes. 4 (in
pl.) learning or literature concerned with human culture, esp.
the study of Latin and Greek literature and philosophy. [ME f.
OF humanit‚ f. L humanitas -tatis (as HUMAN)]
humanize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make human; give a human character to. 2
make humane. ЬЬhumanization n. [F humaniser (as HUMAN)]
humankind n. human beings collectively.
humanly adv. 1 by human means (I will do it if it is humanly possible).
2 in a human manner. 3 from a human point of view. 4 with
humble adj. & v. --adj. 1 a having or showing a low estimate of one's
own importance. b offered with or affected by such an estimate
(if you want my humble opinion). 2 of low social or political
rank (humble origins). 3 (of a thing) of modest pretensions,
dimensions, etc. --v.tr. 1 make humble; bring low; abase. 2
lower the rank or status of. Ьeat humble pie make a humble
apology; accept humiliation. ЬЬhumbleness n. humbly adv. [ME
umble, humble f. OF umble f. L humilis lowly f. humus ground:
humble pie f. UMBLES]
n. = BUMBLE-BEE. [ME prob. f. MLG hummelbe, MDu. hommel, OHG
humbug n. & v. --n. 1 deceptive or false talk or behaviour. 2 an
impostor. 3 Brit. a hard boiled sweet usu. flavoured with
peppermint. --v. (humbugged, humbugging) 1 intr. be or behave
like an impostor. 2 tr. deceive, hoax. ЬЬhumbuggery n. [18th
c.: orig. unkn.]
humdinger n. sl. an excellent or remarkable person or thing. [20th c.:
humdrum adj. & n. --adj. 1 commonplace, dull. 2 monotonous. --n. 1
commonplaceness, dullness. 2 a monotonous routine etc. [16th
c.: prob. f. HUM(1) by redupl.]
humectant adj. & n. --adj. retaining or preserving moisture. --n. a
substance, esp. a food additive, used to reduce loss of
moisture. [L (h)umectant- part. stem of (h)umectare moisten f.
umere be moist]
humeral adj. 1 of the humerus or shoulder. 2 worn on the shoulder. [F
hum‚ral & LL humeralis (as HUMERUS)]
humerus n. (pl. humeri) 1 the bone of the upper arm in man. 2 the
corresponding bone in other vertebrates. [L, = shoulder]
humic adj. of or consisting of humus.
humid adj. (of the air or climate) warm and damp. ЬЬhumidly adv. [F
humide or L humidus f. umere be moist]
n. a device for keeping the atmosphere moist in a room etc.
humidify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) make (air etc.) humid or damp.
humidity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a humid state. 2 moisture. 3 the degree of
moisture esp. in the atmosphere. Ьrelative humidity the
proportion of moisture to the value for saturation at the same
temperature. [ME f. OF humidit‚ or L humiditas (as HUMID)]
humidor n. a room or container for keeping cigars or tobacco moist.
[HUMID after cuspidor]
humify v.tr. & intr. (-ies, -ied) make or be made into humus.
humiliate v.tr. make humble; injure the dignity or self-respect of.
ЬЬhumiliating adj. humiliatingly adv. humiliation n.
humiliator n. [LL humiliare (as HUMBLE)]
humility n. 1 humbleness, meekness. 2 a humble condition. [ME f. OF
humilit‚ f. L humilitas -tatis (as HUMBLE)]
n. any small nectar-feeding tropical bird of the family
Trochilidae that makes a humming sound by the vibration of its
wings when it hovers.
n. a child's top which hums as it spins.
hummock n. 1 a hillock or knoll. 2 US a piece of rising ground, esp.
in a marsh. 3 a hump or ridge in an ice-field. ЬЬhummocky adj.
[16th c.: orig. unkn.]
hummus n. (also hoummos) a thick sauce or spread made from ground
chick-peas and sesame oil flavoured with lemon and garlic.
[Turk. humus mashed chick-peas]
humor US var. of HUMOUR.
humoral adj. 1 hist. of the four bodily humours. 2 Med. relating to
body fluids, esp. as distinct from cells. [F humoral or med.L
humoralis (as HUMOUR)]
n. a short lively piece of music. [G Humoreske f. Humor
humorist n. 1 a facetious person. 2 a humorous talker, actor, or
writer. ЬЬhumoristic adj.
humorous adj. 1 showing humour or a sense of humour. 2 facetious,
comic. ЬЬhumorously adv. humorousness n.
humour n. & v. (US humor) --n. 1 a the condition of being amusing or
comic (less intellectual and more sympathetic than wit). b the
expression of humour in literature, speech, etc. 2 (in full
sense of humour) the ability to perceive or express humour or
take a joke. 3 a mood or state of mind (bad humour). 4 an
inclination or whim (in the humour for fighting). 5 (in full
cardinal humour) hist. each of the four chief fluids of the body
(blood, phlegm, choler, melancholy), thought to determine a
person's physical and mental qualities. --v.tr. 1 gratify or
indulge (a person or taste etc.). 2 adapt oneself to; make
concessions to. Ьout of humour displeased. ЬЬ-humoured adj.
humourless adj. humourlessly adv. humourlessness n. [ME f. AF
umour, humour, OF umor, humor f. L humor moisture (as HUMID)]
humous adj. like or consisting of humus.
hump n. & v. --n. 1 a rounded protuberance on the back of a camel
etc., or as an abnormality on a person's back. 2 a rounded
raised mass of earth etc. 3 a mound over which railway vehicles
are pushed so as to run by gravity to the required place in a
marshalling yard. 4 a critical point in an undertaking, ordeal,
etc. 5 (prec. by the) Brit. sl. a fit of depression or
vexation (it gives me the hump). --v.tr. 1 a (often foll. by
about) colloq. lift or carry (heavy objects etc.) with
difficulty. b esp. Austral. hoist up, shoulder (one's pack
etc.). 2 make hump-shaped. 3 annoy, depress. 4 coarse sl.
have sexual intercourse with. °In sense 4 usually considered a
taboo word. Ьhump bridge = humpback bridge. live on one's hump
colloq. be self-sufficient. over the hump over the worst; well
begun. ЬЬhumped adj. humpless adj. [17th c.: perh. rel. to LG
humpel hump, LG humpe, Du. homp lump, hunk (of bread)]
humpback n. 1 a a deformed back with a hump. b a person having this. 2
a baleen whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, with a dorsal fin
forming a hump. Ьhumpback bridge Brit. a small bridge with a
steep ascent and descent. ЬЬhumpbacked adj.
humph int. & n. an inarticulate sound expressing doubt or
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a short dumpy person. 2 a person or thing
that once overthrown cannot be restored. [the nursery rhyme
Humpty-Dumpty, perh. ult. f. HUMPY(1), DUMPY]
humpy(1) adj. (humpier, humpiest) 1 having a hump or humps. 2 humplike.
humpy(2) n. (pl. -ies) Austral. a primitive hut. [Aboriginal oompi,
infl. by HUMP]
humus n. the organic constituent of soil, usu. formed by the
decomposition of plants and leaves by soil bacteria. ЬЬhumusify
v.tr. & intr. (-ies, -ied). [L, = soil]
Hun n. 1 a member of a warlike Asiatic nomadic people who invaded
and ravaged Europe in the 4th-5th c. 2 offens. a German (esp.
in military contexts). 3 an uncivilized devastator; a vandal.
ЬЬHunnish adj. [OE Hune pl. f. LL Hunni f. Gk Hounnoi f. Turki
hunch v. & n. --v. 1 tr. bend or arch into a hump. 2 tr. thrust out
or up to form a hump. 3 intr. (usu. foll. by up) US sit with
the body hunched. --n. 1 an intuitive feeling or conjecture.
2 a hint. 3 a hump. 4 a thick piece. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
hunchback n. = HUMPBACK. ЬЬhunchbacked adj.
hundred n. & adj. --n. (pl. hundreds or (in sense 1) hundred) (in
sing., prec. by a or one) 1 the product of ten and ten. 2 a
symbol for this (100, c, C). 3 a set of a hundred things. 4
(in sing. or pl.) colloq. a large number. 5 (in pl.) the years
of a specified century (the seventeen hundreds). 6 Brit. hist.
a subdivision of a county or shire, having its own court.
--adj. 1 that amount to a hundred. 2 used to express whole
hours in the 24-hour system (thirteen hundred hours). Ьa (or
one) hundred per cent adv. entirely, completely. --adj. 1
entire, complete. 2 (usu. with neg.) fully recovered. hundreds
and thousands tiny coloured sweets used chiefly for decorating
cakes etc. ЬЬhundredfold adj. & adv. hundredth adj. & n. [OE
n. (pl. same or -weights) 1 (in full long hundredweight) Brit.
a unit of weight equal to 112 lb. avoirdupois (about 50.8 kg).
2 (in full metric hundredweight) a unit of weight equal to 50
kg. 3 (in full short hundredweight) US a unit of weight equal
to 100 lb. (about 45.4 kg).
hung past and past part. of HANG.
Hungarian n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native or national of Hungary in E.
Europe. b a person of Hungarian descent. 2 the Finno-Ugric
language of Hungary. --adj. of or relating to Hungary or its
people or language. [med.L Hungaria f. Hungari Magyar nation]
hunger n. & v. --n. 1 a feeling of pain or discomfort, or (in
extremes) an exhausted condition, caused by lack of food. 2
(often foll. by for, after) a strong desire. --v.intr. 1
(often foll. by for, after) have a craving or strong desire. 2
feel hunger. Ьhunger march a march undertaken by a body of
unemployed etc. to call attention to their condition. hunger
marcher a person who goes on a hunger march. hunger strike the
refusal of food as a form of protest, esp. by prisoners. hunger
striker a person who takes part in a hunger strike. [OE hungor,
hyngran f. Gmc]
hungry adj. (hungrier, hungriest) 1 feeling or showing hunger; needing
food. 2 inducing hunger (a hungry air). 3 a eager, greedy,
craving. b Austral. mean, stingy. 4 (of soil) poor, barren.
ЬЬhungrily adv. hungriness n. [OE hungrig (as HUNGER)]
hunk n. 1 a a large piece cut off (a hunk of bread). b a thick or
clumsy piece. 2 colloq. a a very large person. b esp. US a
sexually attractive man. ЬЬhunky adj. (hunkier, hunkiest).
[19th c.: prob. f. Flem. hunke]
hunkers n.pl. the haunches. [orig. Sc., f. hunker crouch, squat]
adj. esp. US colloq. excellent. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
hunt v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (also absol.) a pursue and kill (wild
animals, esp. foxes, or game), esp. on horseback and with
hounds, for sport or food. b (of an animal) chase (its prey).
2 intr. (foll. by after, for) seek, search (hunting for a pen).
3 intr. a oscillate. b (of an engine etc.) run alternately too
fast and too slow. 4 tr. (foll. by away etc.) drive off by
pursuit. 5 tr. scour (a district) in pursuit of game. 6 tr.
(as hunted adj.) (of a look etc.) expressing alarm or terror as
of one being hunted. 7 tr. (foll. by down, up) move the place
of (a bell) in ringing the changes. --n. 1 the practice of
hunting or an instance of this. 2 a an association of people
engaged in hunting with hounds. b an area where hunting takes
place. 3 an oscillating motion. Ьhunt down pursue and capture.
hunt out find by searching; track down. [OE huntian, weak grade
of hentan seize]
huntaway n. Austral. & NZ a dog trained to drive sheep forward.
hunter n. 1 a (fem. huntress) a person or animal that hunts. b a
horse used in hunting. 2 a person who seeks something. 3 a
watch with a hinged cover protecting the glass. Ьhunter's moon
the next full moon after the harvest moon.
hunting n. the practice of pursuing and killing wild animals, esp. for
sport. Ьhunting-crop see CROP n. 3. hunting-ground 1 a place
suitable for hunting. 2 a source of information or object of
exploitation likely to be fruitful. hunting horn a straight
horn used in hunting. hunting-pink see PINK(1). [OE huntung
n. Med. see CHOREA. [G. Huntington, Amer. neurologist, d.
huntsman n. (pl. -men) 1 a hunter. 2 a hunt official in charge of
hurdle n. & v. --n. 1 Athletics a each of a series of light frames to
be cleared by athletes in a race. b (in pl.) a hurdle-race. 2
an obstacle or difficulty. 3 a portable rectangular frame
strengthened with withes or wooden bars, used as a temporary
fence etc. 4 hist. a frame on which traitors were dragged to
execution. --v. 1 Athletics a intr. run in a hurdle-race. b
tr. clear (a hurdle). 2 tr. fence off etc. with hurdles. 3 tr.
overcome (a difficulty). [OE hyrdel f. Gmc]
hurdler n. 1 Athletics a person who runs in hurdle-races. 2 a person
who makes hurdles.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a musical instrument with a droning sound,
played by turning a handle, esp. one with a rosined wheel turned
by the right hand to sound the drone-strings, and keys played by
the left hand. 2 colloq. a barrel-organ. [prob. imit.]
hurl v. & n. --v. 1 tr. throw with great force. 2 tr. utter (abuse
etc.) vehemently. 3 intr. play hurling. --n. 1 a forceful
throw. 2 the act of hurling. [ME, prob. imit., but corresp. in
form and partly in sense with LG hurreln]
n. Med. a defect in metabolism resulting in mental
retardation, a protruding abdomen, and deformities of the bones,
including an abnormally large head. Also called GARGOYLISM. [G.
Hurler, Ger. paediatrician]
hurling n. (also hurley) 1 an Irish game somewhat resembling hockey,
played with broad sticks. 2 a stick used in this.
n. boisterous activity; commotion. [redupl. f. HURL]
hurrah int., n., & v. (also hurray) --int. & n. an exclamation of joy
or approval. --v.intr. cry or shout 'hurrah' or 'hurray'.
[alt. of earlier huzza, perh. orig. a sailor's cry when hauling]
hurricane n. 1 a storm with a violent wind, esp. a W. Indian cyclone. 2
Meteorol. a wind of 65 knots (75 m.p.h.) or more, force 12 on
the Beaufort scale. 3 a violent commotion. Ьhurricane-bird a
frigate-bird. hurricane-deck a light upper deck on a ship etc.
hurricane-lamp an oil-lamp designed to resist a high wind. [Sp.
huracan & Port. furac°.o of Carib orig.]
hurry n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a great haste. b (with neg. or
interrog.) a need for haste (there is no hurry; what's the
hurry?). 2 (often foll. by for, or to + infin.) eagerness to
get a thing done quickly. --v. (-ies, -ied) 1 move or act with
great or undue haste. 2 tr. (often foll. by away, along) cause
to move or proceed in this way. 3 tr. (as hurried adj.) hasty;
done rapidly owing to lack of time. Ьhurry along (or up) make
or cause to make haste. in a hurry 1 hurrying, rushed; in a
rushed manner. 2 colloq. easily or readily (you will not beat
that in a hurry; shall not ask again in a hurry). ЬЬhurriedly
adv. hurriedness n. [16th c.: imit.]
n., adj., & adv. --n. disorderly haste. --adj. & adv. in
confusion. [jingling redupl. of HURRY]
hurst n. 1 a hillock. 2 a sandbank in the sea or a river. 3 a wood
or wooded eminence. [OE hyrst, rel. to OS, OHG hurst, horst]
hurt v. & n. --v. (past and past part. hurt) 1 tr. (also absol.)
cause pain or injury to. 2 tr. cause mental pain or distress to
(a person, feelings, etc.). 3 intr. suffer pain or harm (my arm
hurts). --n. 1 bodily or material injury. 2 harm, wrong.
ЬЬhurtless adj. [ME f. OF hurter, hurt ult. perh. f. Gmc]
hurtful adj. causing (esp. mental) hurt. ЬЬhurtfully adv. hurtfulness
hurtle v. 1 intr. & tr. move or hurl rapidly or with a clattering
sound. 2 intr. come with a crash. [HURT in obs. sense 'strike
husband n. & v. --n. a married man esp. in relation to his wife.
--v.tr. manage thriftily; use (resources) economically.
ЬЬhusbander n. husbandhood n. husbandless adj. husbandlike
adj. husbandly adj. husbandship n. [OE husbonda house-dweller
f. ON hЈsbўndi (as HOUSE, bўndi one who has a household)]
husbandry n. 1 farming. 2 a management of resources. b careful
hush v., int., & n. --v.tr. & intr. make or become silent or quiet.
--int. calling for silence. --n. an expectant stillness or
silence. Ьhush money money paid to prevent the disclosure of a
discreditable matter. hush puppy US quickly fried maize bread.
hush up suppress public mention of (an affair). [back-form. f.
obs. husht int., = quiet!, taken as a past part.]
hushaby int. (also hushabye) used to lull a child.
hush-hush adj. colloq. (esp. of an official plan or enterprise etc.)
highly secret or confidential.
husk n. & v. --n. 1 the dry outer covering of some fruits or seeds,
esp. of a nut or US maize. 2 the worthless outside part of a
thing. --v.tr. remove a husk or husks from. [ME, prob. f. LG
huske sheath, dimin. of hus HOUSE]
husky(1) adj. (huskier, huskiest) 1 (of a person or voice) dry in the
throat; hoarse. 2 of or full of husks. 3 dry as a husk. 4
tough, strong, hefty. ЬЬhuskily adv. huskiness n.
husky(2) n. (pl. -ies) 1 a dog of a powerful breed used in the Arctic
for pulling sledges. 2 this breed. [perh. contr. f. ESKIMO]
huss n. dogfish as food. [ME husk, of unkn. orig.]
hussar n. 1 a soldier of a light cavalry regiment. 2 a Hungarian
light horseman of the 15th c. [Magyar husz r f. OSerb. husar
f. It. corsaro CORSAIR]
Hussite n. hist. a member or follower of the movement begun by John
Huss, Bohemian religious and nationalist reformer d. 1415.
hussy n. (pl. -ies) derog. an impudent or immoral girl or woman.
[phonetic reduction of HOUSEWIFE (the orig. sense)]
hustings n. 1 parliamentary election proceedings. 2 Brit. hist. a
platform from which (before 1872) candidates for Parliament were
nominated and addressed electors. [late OE husting f. ON
hЈsthing house of assembly]
hustle v. & n. --v. 1 tr. push roughly; jostle. 2 tr. a (foll. by
into, out of, etc.) force, coerce, or deal with hurriedly or
unceremoniously (hustled them out of the room). b (foll. by
into) coerce hurriedly (was hustled into agreeing). 3 intr.
push one's way; hurry, bustle. 4 tr. sl. a obtain by forceful
action. b swindle. 5 intr. sl. engage in prostitution. --n.
1 an act or instance of hustling. 2 colloq. a fraud or swindle.
[MDu. husselen shake, toss, frequent. of hutsen, orig. imit.]
hustler n. sl. 1 an active, enterprising, or unscrupulous individual.
2 a prostitute.
hut n. & v. --n. 1 a small simple or crude house or shelter. 2
Mil. a temporary wooden etc. house for troops. --v. (hutted,
hutting) 1 tr. provide with huts. 2 tr. Mil. place (troops
etc.) in huts. 3 intr. lodge in a hut. ЬЬhutlike adj. [F
hutte f. MHG hЃtte]
hutch n. 1 a box or cage, usu. with a wire mesh front, for keeping
small pet animals. 2 derog. a small house. [ME, = coffer, f.
OF huche f. med.L hutica, of unkn. orig.]
hyacinth n. 1 any bulbous plant of the genus Hyacinthus with racemes of
usu. purplish-blue, pink, or white bell-shaped fragrant flowers.
2 = grape hyacinth. 3 the purplish-blue colour of the hyacinth
flower. 4 an orange variety of zircon used as a precious stone.
5 poet. hair or locks like the hyacinth flower (as a Homeric
epithet of doubtful sense). Ьwild (or wood) hyacinth = BLUEBELL
1. ЬЬhyacinthine adj. [F hyacinthe f. L hyacinthus f. Gk
huakinthos, flower and gem, also the name of a youth loved by
Hyades n.pl. a group of stars in Taurus near the Pleiades, whose
heliacal rising was once thought to foretell rain. [ME f. Gk
Huades (by popular etym. f. huo rain, but perh. f. hus pig)]
hyaena var. of HYENA.
hyalin n. a clear glassy substance produced as a result of the
degeneration of certain body tissues. [Gk hualos glass + -IN]
hyaline adj. & n. --adj. glasslike, vitreous, transparent. --n.
literary a smooth sea, clear sky, etc. Ьhyaline cartilage n. a
common type of cartilage. [L hyalinus f. Gk hualinos f. hualos
hyalite n. a colourless variety of opal. [Gk hualos glass]
hyaloid adj. Anat. glassy. Ьhyaloid membrane a thin transparent
membrane enveloping the vitreous humour of the eye. [F hyalo‹de
f. LL hyaloides f. Gk hualoeides (as HYALITE)]
hybrid n. & adj. --n. 1 Biol. the offspring of two plants or animals
of different species or varieties. 2 often offens. a person of
mixed racial or cultural origin. 3 a thing composed of
incongruous elements, e.g. a word with parts taken from
different languages. --adj. 1 bred as a hybrid from different
species or varieties. 2 Biol. heterogeneous. Ьhybrid vigour
heterosis. ЬЬhybridism n. hybridity n. [L hybrida, (h)ibrida
offspring of a tame sow and wild boar, child of a freeman and
hybridize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. subject (a species etc.) to
cross-breeding. 2 intr. a produce hybrids. b (of an animal or
plant) interbreed. ЬЬhybridizable adj. hybridization n.
hydatid n. Med. 1 a cyst containing watery fluid (esp. one formed by,
and containing, a tapeworm larva). 2 a tapeworm larva.
ЬЬhydatidiform adj. [mod.L hydatis f. Gk hudatis -idos watery
vesicle f. hudor hudatos water]
hydra n. 1 a freshwater polyp of the genus Hydra with tubular body
and tentacles around the mouth. 2 any water-snake. 3 something
which is hard to destroy. [ME f. L f. Gk hudra water-snake,
esp. a fabulous one with many heads that grew again when cut
hydrangea n. any shrub of the genus Hydrangea with large white, pink, or
blue flowers. [mod.L f. Gk hudor water + aggos vessel (from the
cup-shape of its seed-capsule)]
hydrant n. a pipe (esp. in a street) with a nozzle to which a hose can
be attached for drawing water from the main. [irreg. f. HYDRO-
hydrate n. & v. --n. Chem. a compound of water combined with another
compound or with an element. --v.tr. 1 a combine chemically
with water. b (as hydrated adj.) chemically bonded to water. 2
cause to absorb water. ЬЬhydratable adj. hydration n.
hydrator n. [F f. Gk hudor water]
hydraulic adj. 1 (of water, oil, etc.) conveyed through pipes or channels
usu. by pressure. 2 (of a mechanism etc.) operated by liquid
moving in this manner (hydraulic brakes; hydraulic lift). 3 of
or concerned with hydraulics (hydraulic engineer). 4 hardening
under water (hydraulic cement). Ьhydraulic press a device in
which the force applied to a fluid creates a pressure which when
transmitted to a larger volume of fluid gives rise to a greater
force. hydraulic ram an automatic pump in which the kinetic
energy of a descending column of water raises some of the water
above its original level. ЬЬhydraulically adv. hydraulicity n.
[L hydraulicus f. Gk hudraulikos f. hudor water + aulos pipe]
n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the science of the conveyance of
liquids through pipes etc. esp. as motive power.
hydrazine n. Chem. a colourless alkaline liquid which is a powerful
reducing agent and is used as a rocket propellant. °Chem.
formula: NH. [HYDROGEN + AZO- + -INE(4)]
hydride n. Chem. a binary compound of hydrogen with an element, esp.
with a metal.
n. Chem. a solution of the colourless gas hydrogen iodide in
water. °Chem. formula: HI. [HYDROGEN + IODINE]
hydro n. (pl. -os) colloq. 1 a hotel or clinic etc. orig. providing
hydropathic treatment. 2 a hydroelectric power plant. [abbr.]
hydro- comb. form (also hydr- before a vowel) 1 having to do with water
(hydroelectric). 2 Med. affected with an accumulation of serous
fluid (hydrocele). 3 Chem. combined with hydrogen
(hydrochloric). [Gk hudro- f. hudor water]
n. Chem. a solution of the colourless gas hydrogen bromide in
water. °Chem. formula: HBr.
n. Chem. a compound of hydrogen and carbon.
hydrocele n. Med. the accumulation of serous fluid in a body sac.
n. Med. an abnormal amount of fluid within the brain, esp. in
young children, which makes the head enlarge and can cause
mental deficiency. ЬЬhydrocephalic adj.
n. Chem. a solution of the colourless gas hydrogen chloride in
water. °Chem. formula: HCl.
n. Chem. a compound of an organic base with hydrochloric acid.
n. Biochem. a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex,
used medicinally to treat inflammation and rheumatism.
n. Chem. a highly poisonous volatile liquid with a
characteristic odour of bitter almonds. °Chem. formula: HCN.
Also called prussic acid.
n. the science of forces acting on or exerted by fluids (esp.
liquids). ЬЬhydrodynamic adj. hydrodynamical adj.
hydrodynamicist n. [mod.L hydrodynamicus (as HYDRO-, DYNAMIC)]
adj. 1 generating electricity by utilization of water-power. 2
(of electricity) generated in this way. ЬЬhydroelectricity n.
n. Chem. a solution of the colourless liquid hydrogen fluoride
in water. °Chem. formula: HF.
hydrofoil n. 1 a boat equipped with a device consisting of planes for
lifting its hull out of the water to increase its speed. 2 this
device. [HYDRO-, after AEROFOIL]
hydrogen n. Chem. a colourless gaseous element, without taste or odour,
the lightest of the elements and occurring in water and all
organic compounds. °Symb.: H. Ьhydrogen bomb an immensely
powerful bomb utilizing the explosive fusion of hydrogen nuclei:
also called H-BOMB. hydrogen bond a weak electrostatic
interaction between an electronegative atom and a hydrogen atom
bonded to a different electronegative atom. hydrogen peroxide a
colourless viscous unstable liquid with strong oxidizing
properties. °Chem. formula: HO. hydrogen sulphide a
colourless poisonous gas with a disagreeable smell, formed by
rotting animal matter. °Chem. formula: HS. ЬЬhydrogenous
adj. [F hydrogЉne (as HYDRO-, -GEN)]
n. Biochem. any enzyme which catalyses the oxidation of
hydrogen and the reduction of protons.
v.tr. charge with or cause to combine with hydrogen.
n. the science of surveying and charting seas, lakes, rivers,
etc. ЬЬhydrographer n. hydrographic adj. hydrographical adj.
hydroid adj. & n. Zool. any usu. polypoid hydrozoan of the order
Hydroida, including hydra.
hydrolase n. Biochem. any enzyme which catalyses the hydrolysis of a
hydrology n. the science of the properties of the earth's water, esp. of
its movement in relation to land. ЬЬhydrologic adj.
hydrological adj. hydrologically adv. hydrologist n.
hydrolyse v.tr. & intr. (US hydrolyze) subject to or undergo the chemical
action of water.
n. the chemical reaction of a substance with water, usu.
resulting in decomposition. ЬЬhydrolytic adj.
adj. involving hydrodynamics and magnetism;
n. a craving for water.
n. the mechanics of liquids; hydrodynamics.
n. an instrument for measuring the density of liquids.
ЬЬhydrometric adj. hydrometry n.
n. Chem. = HYDROXONIUM ION. [contr.]
n. the (medically unorthodox) treatment of disease by external
and internal application of water. ЬЬhydropathic adj.
hydropathist n. [HYDRO-, after HOMOEOPATHY etc.]
adj. 1 having an affinity for water. 2 wettable by water.
[HYDRO- + Gk philos loving]
n. 1 a morbid aversion to water, esp. as a symptom of rabies in
man. 2 rabies, esp. in man. [LL f. Gk hudrophobia (as HYDRO-,
adj. 1 of or suffering from hydrophobia. 2 a lacking an
affinity for water. b not readily wettable.
n. an instrument for the detection of sound-waves in water.
n. an aquatic plant, or a plant which needs much moisture.
n. & v. --n. 1 a light fast motor boat designed to skim over
the surface of water. 2 a finlike attachment which enables a
submarine to rise and fall in water. --v.intr. 1 (of a boat)
skim over the surface of water with its hull lifted. 2 =
AQUAPLANE v. 2.
n. the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid,
without soil and with added nutrients. ЬЬhydroponic adj.
hydroponically adv. [HYDRO- + Gk ponos labour]
n. a substance formed by the reduction of quinone, used as a
n. the waters of the earth's surface.
adj. of the equilibrium of liquids and the pressure exerted by
liquid at rest. Ьhydrostatic press = hydraulic press.
ЬЬhydrostatical adj. hydrostatically adv. [prob. f. Gk
hudrostates hydrostatic balance (as HYDRO-, STATIC)]
n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the branch of mechanics concerned
with the hydrostatic properties of liquids.
n. the use of water in the treatment of disorders, usu.
exercises in swimming pools for arthritic or partially paralysed
patients. ЬЬhydrotherapist n. hydrotherapic adj.
adj. of the action of heated water on the earth's crust.
n. the condition of having fluid in the pleural cavity.
adj. a tendency of plant roots etc. to turn to or from
hydroxide n. Chem. a metallic compound containing oxygen and hydrogen
either in the form of the hydroxide ion (OH-) or the hydroxyl
n. Chem. the hydrated hydrogen ion, HO(+). [HYDRO- +
OXY-(2) + -onium]
hydroxy- comb. form Chem. having a hydroxide ion (or ions) or a hydroxyl
group (or groups) (hydroxybenzoic acid). [HYDROGEN + OXYGEN]
hydroxyl n. Chem. the univalent group containing hydrogen and oxygen,
as -OH. [HYDROGEN + OXYGEN + -YL]
hydrozoan n. & adj. --n. any aquatic coelenterate of the class Hydrozoa
of mainly marine polyp or medusoid forms, including hydra and
Portuguese man-of-war. [mod.L Hydrozoa (as HYDRA, Gk zoion
hyena n. (also hyaena) any flesh-eating mammal of the order
Hyaenidae, with hind limbs shorter than forelimbs. Ьlaughing
hyena n. a hyena, Crocuta crocuta, whose howl is compared to a
fiendish laugh. [ME f. OF hyene & L hyaena f. Gk huaina fem. of
hygiene n. 1 a a study, or set of principles, of maintaining health. b
conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health. 2
sanitary science. [F hygiЉne f. mod.L hygieina f. Gk hugieine
(tekhne) (art) of health f. hugies healthy]
hygienic adj. conducive to hygiene; clean and sanitary. ЬЬhygienically
hygienics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) = HYGIENE 1a.
hygienist n. a specialist in the promotion and practice of cleanliness
for the preservation of health.
hygro- comb. form moisture. [Gk hugro- f. hugros wet, moist]
hygrology n. the study of the humidity of the atmosphere etc.
n. an instrument for measuring the humidity of the air or a
gas. ЬЬhygrometric adj. hygrometry n.
adj. (of a plant) growing in a moist environment.
n. = HYDROPHYTE.
n. an instrument which indicates but does not measure the
humidity of the air.
adj. 1 of the hygroscope. 2 (of a substance) tending to absorb
moisture from the air. ЬЬhygroscopically adv.
hying pres. part. of HIE.
hylic adj. of matter; material. [LL hylicus f. Gk hulikos f. hule
hylo- comb. form matter. [Gk hulo- f. hule matter]
n. the theory that physical objects are composed of matter and
form. [HYLO- + Gk morphe form]
hylozoism n. the doctrine that all matter has life. [HYLO- + Gk zoe
hymen n. Anat. a membrane which partially closes the opening of the
vagina and is usu. broken at the first occurrence of sexual
intercourse. ЬЬhymenal adj. [LL f. Gk humen membrane]
hymeneal adj. literary of or concerning marriage. [Hymen (L f. Gk
Humen) Greek and Roman god of marriage]
hymenium n. (pl. hymenia) the spore-bearing surface of certain fungi.
[mod.L f. Gk humenion dimin. of humen membrane]
n. any insect of the order Hymenoptera having four transparent
wings, including bees, wasps, and ants. ЬЬhymenopterous adj.
[mod.L hymenoptera f. Gk humenopteros membrane-winged (as
HYMENIUM, pteron wing)]
hymn n. & v. --n. 1 a song of praise, esp. to God in Christian
worship, usu. a metrical composition sung in a religious
service. 2 a song of praise in honour of a god or other exalted
being or thing. --v. 1 tr. praise or celebrate in hymns. 2
intr. sing hymns. Ьhymn-book a book of hymns. ЬЬhymnic adj.
[ME ymne etc. f. OF ymne f. L hymnus f. Gk humnos]
hymnal n. & adj. --n. a hymn-book. --adj. of hymns. [ME f. med.L
hymnale (as HYMN)]
hymnary n. (pl. -ies) a hymn-book.
hymnody n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the singing of hymns. b the composition of
hymns. 2 hymns collectively. ЬЬhymnodist n. [med.L hymnodia
f. Gk humnoidia f. humnos hymn: cf. PSALMODY]
n. a writer of hymns. ЬЬhymnography n. [Gk humnographos f.
hymnology n. (pl. -ies) 1 the composition or study of hymns. 2 hymns
collectively. ЬЬhymnologist n.
hyoid n. & adj. Anat. --n. (in full hyoid bone) a U-shaped bone in
the neck which supports the tongue. --adj. of or relating to
this. [F hyo‹de f. mod.L hyo‹des f. Gk huoeides shaped like the
letter upsilon (hu)]
hyoscine n. a poisonous alkaloid found in plants of the nightshade
family, esp. of the genus Scopolia, and used as an antiemetic in
motion sickness and a preoperative medication for examination of
the eye. Also called SCOPOLAMINE.
n. a poisonous alkaloid obtained from henbane, having similar
properties to hyoscine. [mod.L hyoscyamus f. Gk huoskuamos
henbane f. hus huos pig + kuamos bean]
n. (US hypesthesia) a diminished capacity for sensation, esp.
of the skin. ЬЬhypaesthetic adj. [mod.L (as HYPO-, Gk
-aisthesia f. aisthanomai perceive)]
adj. (also hypethral) 1 open to the sky; roofless. 2 open-air.
[L hypaethrus f. Gk hupaithros (as HYPO-, aither air)]
hypallage n. Rhet. the transposition of the natural relations of two
elements in a proposition (e.g. Melissa shook her doubtful
curls). [LL f. Gk hupallage (as HYPO-, allasso exchange)]
hype(1) n. & v. sl. --n. 1 extravagant or intensive publicity
promotion. 2 cheating; a trick. --v.tr. 1 promote (a product)
with extravagant publicity. 2 cheat, trick. [20th c.: orig.
hype(2) n. sl. 1 a drug addict. 2 a hypodermic needle or injection.
Ьhyped up stimulated by or as if by a hypodermic injection.
[abbr. of HYPODERMIC]
adj. (of a person, esp. a child) abnormally active.
n. (US hyperemia) an excessive quantity of blood in the vessels
supplying an organ or other part of the body. ЬЬhyperaemic adj.
[mod.L (as HYPER-, -AEMIA)]
n. (US hyperesthesia) an excessive physical sensibility, esp.
of the skin. ЬЬhyperaesthetic adj. [mod.L (as HYPER-, Gk -
aisthesia f. aisthanomai perceive)]
adj. (of a gas) at a pressure greater than normal. [HYPER- +
Gk barus heavy]
n. Rhet. the inversion of the normal order of words, esp. for
the sake of emphasis (e.g. this I must see). [L f. Gk
huperbaton (as HYPER-, baino go)]
hyperbola n. (pl. hyperbolas or hyperbolae) Geom. the plane curve of
two equal branches, produced when a cone is cut by a plane that
makes a larger angle with the base than the side of the cone
(cf. ELLIPSE). [mod.L f. Gk huperbole excess (as HYPER-, ballo
hyperbole n. Rhet. an exaggerated statement not meant to be taken
literally. ЬЬhyperbolical adj. hyperbolically adv.
hyperbolism n. [L (as HYPERBOLA)]
adj. Geom. of or relating to a hyperbola. Ьhyperbolic
function a function related to a rectangular hyperbola, e.g. a
n. Geom. a solid or surface having plane sections that are
hyperbolas, ellipses, or circles. ЬЬhyperboloidal adj.
n. & adj. --n. 1 an inhabitant of the extreme north of the
earth. 2 (Hyperborean) (in Greek mythology) a member of a race
worshipping Apollo and living in a land of sunshine and plenty
beyond the north wind. --adj. of the extreme north of the
earth. [LL hyperboreanus f. L hyperboreus f. Gk huperboreos (as
HYPER-, Boreas god of the north wind)]
adj. (foll. by of) acutely or excessively aware.
adj. excessively critical, esp. of small faults.
hyperemia US var. of HYPERAEMIA.
US var. of HYPERAESTHESIA.
n. the distance on which a camera lens can be focused to bring
the maximum range of object-distances into focus.
hypergamy n. marriage to a person of equal or superior caste or class.
[HYPER- + Gk gamos marriage]
n. (US hyperglycemia) an excess of glucose in the bloodstream,
often associated with diabetes mellitus. ЬЬhyperglycaemic adj.
[HYPER- + GLYCO- + -AEMIA]
adj. (of a rocket propellant) igniting spontaneously on contact
with an oxidant etc. [G Hypergol (perh. as HYPO-, ERG(1), -OL)]
hypericum n. any shrub of the genus Hypericum with five-petalled yellow
flowers. Also called ST JOHN'S WORT. [L f. Gk hupereikon (as
HYPER-, ereike heath)]
n. Brit. a very large self-service store with a wide range of
goods and extensive car-parking facilities, usu. outside a town.
[transl. F hypermarch‚ (as HYPER-, MARKET)]
n. the condition of having long sight. ЬЬhypermetropic adj.
[mod.L f. HYPER- + Gk metron measure, ops eye]
hyperon n. Physics an unstable elementary particle which is classified
as a baryon apart from the neutron or proton. [HYPER- + -ON]
hyperopia n. = HYPERMETROPIA. ЬЬhyperopic adj. [mod.L f. HYPER- + Gk
n. the enlargement of an organ or tissue from the increased
production of cells. [HYPER- + Gk plasis formation]
adj. abnormally or excessively sensitive. ЬЬhypersensitiveness
n. hypersensitivity n.
adj. 1 relating to speeds of more than five times the speed of
sound (Mach 5). 2 relating to sound-frequencies above about a
thousand million hertz. ЬЬhypersonically adv. [HYPER-, after
n. a rock-forming mineral, magnesium iron silicate, of greenish
colour. [F hyperstЉne (as HYPER-, Gk sthenos strength, from its
being harder than hornblende]
n. 1 abnormally high blood pressure. 2 a state of great
emotional tension. ЬЬhypertensive adj.
n. Med. the condition of having a body-temperature greatly
above normal. ЬЬhyperthermic adj. [HYPER- + Gk therme heat]
n. Med. overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in rapid
heartbeat and an increased rate of metabolism. ЬЬhyperthyroid
n. & adj. hyperthyroidic adj.
adj. 1 (of muscles) having high tension. 2 (of a solution)
having a greater osmotic pressure than another solution.
ЬЬhypertonia n. (in sense 1). hypertonicity n.
n. the enlargement of an organ or tissue from the increase in
size of its cells. ЬЬhypertrophic adj. hypertrophied adj.
[mod.L hypertrophia (as HYPER-, Gk - trophia nourishment)]
n. breathing at an abnormally rapid rate, resulting in an
increased loss of carbon dioxide.
hypethral var. of HYPAETHRAL.
hypha n. (pl. hyphae) a filament in the mycelium of a fungus.
ЬЬhyphal adj. [mod.L f. Gk huphe web]
hyphen n. & v. --n. the sign (-) used to join words semantically or
syntactically (as in fruit-tree, pick-me-up, rock-forming), to
indicate the division of a word at the end of a line, or to
indicate a missing or implied element (as in man- and
womankind). --v.tr. 1 write (a compound word) with a hyphen.
2 join (words) with a hyphen. [LL f. Gk huphen together f.
hupo under + hen one]
hyphenate v.tr. = HYPHEN v. ЬЬhyphenation n.
hypno- comb. form sleep, hypnosis. [Gk hupnos sleep]
n. the induction of a hypnotic state.
hypnology n. the science of the phenomena of sleep. ЬЬhypnologist n.
n. learning by hearing while asleep.
hypnosis n. 1 a state like sleep in which the subject acts only on
external suggestion. 2 artificially produced sleep. [mod.L f.
Gk hupnos sleep + -OSIS]
n. the treatment of disease by hypnosis.
hypnotic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or producing hypnotism. 2 (of a drug)
soporific. --n. 1 a thing, esp. a drug, that produces sleep.
2 a person under or open to the influence of hypnotism.
ЬЬhypnotically adv. [F hypnotique f. LL hypnoticus f. Gk
hupnotikos f. hupnoo put to sleep]
hypnotism n. the study or practice of hypnosis. ЬЬhypnotist n.
hypnotize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 produce hypnosis in. 2 fascinate; capture
the mind of (a person). ЬЬhypnotizable adj. hypnotizer n.
hypo(1) n. Photog. the chemical sodium thiosulphate (incorrectly
called hyposulphite) used as a photographic fixer. [abbr.]
hypo(2) n. (pl. -os) colloq. = HYPODERMIC n. [abbr.]
hypo- prefix (before a vowel or h usu. hyp-) 1 under (hypodermic). 2
below normal (hypoxia). 3 slightly (hypomania). 4 Chem.
containing an element combined in low valence (hypochlorous).
[Gk f. hupo under]
hypoblast n. Biol. = ENDODERM. [mod.L hypoblastus (as HYPO-, -BLAST)]
hypocaust n. a hollow space under the floor in ancient Roman houses, into
which hot air was sent for heating a room or bath. [L
hypocaustum f. Gk hupokauston place heated from below (as HYPO-,
kaio, kau- burn)]
n. 1 abnormal anxiety about one's health. 2 morbid depression
without real cause. [LL f. Gk hupokhondria soft parts of the
body below the ribs, where melancholy was thought to arise (as
HYPO-, khondros sternal cartilage)]
n. & adj. --n. a person suffering from hypochondria. --adj.
(also hypochondriacal) of or affected by hypochondria. [F
hypocondriaque f. Gk hupokhondriakos (as HYPOCHONDRIA)]
adj. Gram. of the nature of a pet name. [Gk hupokoristikos f.
hupokorizomai call by pet names]
hypocotyl n. Bot. the part of the stem of an embryo plant beneath the
stalks of the seed leaves or cotyledons and directly above the
hypocrisy n. (pl. -ies) 1 the assumption or postulation of moral
standards to which one's own behaviour does not conform;
dissimulation, pretence. 2 an instance of this. [ME f. OF
ypocrisie f. eccl.L hypocrisis f. Gk hupokrisis acting of a
part, pretence (as HYPO-, krino decide, judge)]
hypocrite n. a person given to hypocrisy. ЬЬhypocritical adj.
hypocritically adv. [ME f. OF ypocrite f. eccl.L f. Gk
hupokrites actor (as HYPOCRISY)]
n. Math. the curve traced by a point on the circumference of a
circle rolling on the interior of another circle.
adj. & n. --adj. Med. 1 of or relating to the area beneath
the skin. 2 a (of a drug etc. or its application) injected
beneath the skin. b (of a needle, syringe, etc.) used to do
this. --n. a hypodermic injection or syringe. ЬЬhypodermically
adv. [HYPO- + Gk derma skin]
n. (pl. hypogastria) the part of the central abdomen which is
situated below the region of the stomach. ЬЬhypogastric adj.
[mod.L f. Gk hupogastrion (as HYPO-, gaster belly)]
hypogean adj. (also hypogeal) 1 (existing or growing) underground. 2
(of seed germination) with the seed leaves remaining below the
ground. [LL hypogeus f. Gk hupogeios (as HYPO-, ge earth)]
hypogene adj. Geol. produced under the surface of the earth. [HYPO- +
Gk gen- produce]
hypogeum n. (pl. hypogea) an underground chamber. [L f. Gk hupogeion
neut. of hupogeios: see HYPOGEAL]
n. (US hypoglycemia) a deficiency of glucose in the
bloodstream. ЬЬhypoglycaemic adj. [HYPO- + GLYCO- + -AEMIA]
hypoid n. a gear with the pinion offset from the centre-line of the
wheel, to connect non-intersecting shafts. [perh. f.
n. (pl. hypolimnia) the lower layer of water in stratified
lakes. [HYPO- + Gk limnion dimin. of limne lake]
hypomania n. a minor form of mania. ЬЬhypomanic adj. [mod.L f. G
Hypomanie (as HYPO-, MANIA)]
hyponasty n. Bot. the tendency in plant-organs for growth to be more
rapid on the under-side. ЬЬhyponastic adj. [HYPO- + Gk nastos
n. (pl. hypophyses) Anat. = pituitary gland. ЬЬhypophyseal
adj. (also -physial). [mod.L f. Gk hupophusis offshoot (as
HYPO-, phusis growth)]
n. (pl. hypostases) 1 Med. an accumulation of fluid or blood
in the lower parts of the body or organs under the influence of
gravity, in cases of poor circulation. 2 Metaphysics an
underlying substance, as opposed to attributes or to that which
is unsubstantial. 3 Theol. a the person of Christ, combining
human and divine natures. b each of the three persons of the
Trinity. ЬЬhypostasize v.tr. (also -ise) (in senses 1, 2).
[eccl.L f. Gk hupostasis (as HYPO-, STASIS standing, state)]
adj. (also hypostatical) Theol. relating to the three persons
of the Trinity. Ьhypostatic union the divine and human natures
hypostyle adj. Archit. having a roof supported by pillars. [Gk
hupostulos (as HYPO-, STYLE)]
hypotaxis n. Gram. the subordination of one clause to another.
ЬЬhypotactic adj. [Gk hupotaxis (as HYPO-, taxis arrangement)]
n. abnormally low blood pressure. ЬЬhypotensive adj.
n. the side opposite the right angle of a right-angled
triangle. [L hypotenusa f. Gk hupoteinousa (gramme) subtending
(line) fem. part. of hupoteino (as HYPO-, teino stretch)]
n. (pl. -mi) Anat. the region of the brain which controls
body-temperature, thirst, hunger, etc. ЬЬhypothalamic adj.
[mod.L formed as HYPO-, THALAMUS]
hypothec n. (in Roman and Scottish law) a right established by law over
property belonging to a debtor. ЬЬhypothecary adj. [F
hypothЉque f. LL hypotheca f. Gk hupotheke deposit (as HYPO-,
v.tr. pledge, mortgage. ЬЬhypothecation n. [med.L hypothecare
n. Med. the condition of having an abnormally low
body-temperature. [HYPO- + Gk therme heat]
n. (pl. hypotheses) 1 a proposition made as a basis for
reasoning, without the assumption of its truth. 2 a supposition
made as a starting-point for further investigation from known
facts (cf. THEORY). 3 a groundless assumption. [LL f. Gk
hupothesis foundation (as HYPO-, THESIS)]
v. (also -ise) 1 intr. frame a hypothesis. 2 tr. assume a
hypothesis. ЬЬhypothesist n. hypothesizer n.
adj. 1 of or based on or serving as a hypothesis. 2 supposed
but not necessarily real or true. ЬЬhypothetically adv.
n. Med. subnormal activity of the thyroid gland, resulting in
cretinism in children, and mental and physical slowing in
adults. ЬЬhypothyroid n. & adj. hypothyroidic adj.
n. breathing at an abnormally slow rate, resulting in an
increased amount of carbon dioxide in the blood.
n. (US hypoxemia) Med. an abnormally low concentration of
oxygen in the blood. [mod.L (as HYPO-, OXYGEN, -AEMIA)]
hypoxia n. Med. a deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues.
ЬЬhypoxic adj. [HYPO- + OX- + -IA(1)]
hypso- comb. form height. [Gk hupsos height]
n. a description or mapping of the contours of the earth's
surface. ЬЬhypsographic adj. hypsographical adj.
n. 1 a device for calibrating thermometers at the boiling point
of water. 2 this instrument when used to estimate height above
sea level. ЬЬhypsometric adj.
hyrax n. any small mammal of the order Hyracoidea, including
rock-rabbit and dassie. [mod.L f. Gk hurax shrew-mouse]
hyson n. a kind of green China tea. [Chin. xichun, lit. 'bright
hyssop n. 1 any small bushy aromatic herb of the genus Hyssopus, esp.
H. officinalis, formerly used medicinally. 2 Bibl. a a plant
whose twigs were used for sprinkling in Jewish rites. b a bunch
of this used in purification. [OE (h)ysope (reinforced in ME by
OF ysope) f. L hyssopus f. Gk hyssopos, of Semitic orig.]
n. (pl. -ies) the surgical removal of the womb.
ЬЬhysterectomize v.tr. (also -ise). [Gk hustera womb +
n. Physics the lagging behind of an effect when its cause
varies in amount etc., esp. of magnetic induction behind the
magnetizing force. [Gk husteresis f. hustereo be behind f.
husteros coming after]
hysteria n. 1 a wild uncontrollable emotion or excitement. 2 a
functional disturbance of the nervous system, of psychoneurotic
origin. [mod.L (as HYSTERIC)]
hysteric n. & adj. --n. 1 (in pl.) a a fit of hysteria. b colloq.
overwhelming mirth or laughter (we were in hysterics). 2 a
hysterical person. --adj. = HYSTERICAL. [L f. Gk husterikos of
the womb (hustera), hysteria being thought to occur more
frequently in women than in men and to be associated with the
adj. 1 of or affected with hysteria. 2 morbidly or
uncontrolledly emotional. 3 colloq. extremely funny or amusing.
n. Rhet. a figure of speech in which what should come last is
put first; an inversion of the natural order (e.g. I die! I
faint! I fail!). [LL f. Gk husteron proteron the latter (put in
place of) the former]