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  1. one's luck or lot.
  2. an occurrence, happening, or accident.
verb (used without object), happed, hap·ping.
  1. to happen: if it so hap.

Origin of hap1

1150–1200; Middle English < Old Norse happ luck, chance; akin to Old English gehæp fit, convenient; probably akin to OCS kobŭ auspice, Old Irish cob victory


[hap, ap]Chiefly Pennsylvania.
  1. a comforter or quilt.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cover with or as with a comforter or quilt.

Origin of hap2

1350–1400; Middle English happen to cover; perhaps blend of lappen lap2 and Old French happer to seize


[hahp, khahp]
  1. Apis.


  1. Benedict,1741–1801, American general in the Revolutionary War who became a traitor.
  2. Sir Edwin,1832–1904, English poet and journalist.
  3. Henry H.Hap, 1886–1950, U.S. general.
  4. Matthew,1822–88, English essayist, poet, and literary critic.
  5. his fatherThomas,1795–1842, English clergyman, educator, historian, and writer.
  6. Thur·man Wesley [thur-muh n] /ˈθɜr mən/, 1891–1969, U.S. lawyer and writer.
  7. a town in E Missouri.
  8. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning “eagle” and “power.”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hap

Historical Examples

  • "Hap yourself well," he had said when they crossed the gangway on to the boat.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Uncle Jack often calls them Hap and Hazard, and that is the only difference between them.

    Five Mice in a Mouse-trap

    Laura E. Richards

  • They “got by” with it until the matter came to Hap's notice.

    Working With the Working Woman

    Cornelia Stratton Parker

  • But on Hap's shoulders rests the output for our entire department.

    Working With the Working Woman

    Cornelia Stratton Parker

  • It was the only time even Hap so much as paid the least attention to what went on.

    Working With the Working Woman

    Cornelia Stratton Parker

British Dictionary definitions for hap


noun archaic
  1. luck; chance
  2. an occurrence
verb haps, happing or happed
  1. (intr) an archaic word for happen

Word Origin

C13: from Old Norse happ good luck; related to Old English gehæplic convenient, Old Slavonic kobǔ fate


verb (tr)
  1. to cover up; wrap up warmly
  1. a covering of any kind

Word Origin

C14: perhaps of Norse origin


  1. a town in N central England, in S Nottinghamshire. Pop: 37 402 (2001)


  1. Sir Malcolm. 1921–2006, English composer, esp of orchestral works in a traditional idiom
  2. Matthew. 1822–88, English poet, essayist, and literary critic, noted particularly for his poems Sohrab and Rustum (1853) and Dover Beach (1867), and for his Essays in Criticism (1865) and Culture and Anarchy (1869)
  3. his father, Thomas. 1795–1842, English historian and educationalist, headmaster of Rugby School, noted for his reforms in public-school education
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hap


c.1200, "chance, a person's luck, fortune, fate;" also "unforeseen occurrence," from Old Norse happ "chance, good luck," from Proto-Germanic *khapan (source of Old English gehæp "convenient, fit"), from PIE *kob- "to suit, fit, succeed" (cf. Old Church Slavonic kobu "fate, foreboding, omen," Old Irish cob "victory"). Meaning "good fortune" is from early 13c.


"to happen," mid-14c., from hap (n.) "chance."


masc. proper name, from Old High German Arenwald, literally "having the strength of an eagle," from arn "eagle" (see erne) + wald "power" (see wield).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper