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[hee; unstressed ee] /hi; unstressed i/
pronoun, nominative he, possessive his, objective him; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
the male person or animal being discussed or last mentioned; that male.
anyone (without reference to gender); that person:
He who hesitates is lost.
noun, plural hes.
any male person or animal; a man:
hes and shes.
male (usually used in combination):
a he-goat.
Origin of he1
before 900; Middle English, Old English (masculine nominative singular); cognate with Dutch hij, Old Saxon hē, Old High German her he; see his, him, she, her, it1
Usage note
Traditionally, the masculine singular pronouns he1, his, and him have been used generically to refer to indefinite pronouns like anyone, everyone, and someone (Everyone who agrees should raise his right hand) and to singular nouns that can be applied to either gender (painter, parent, person, teacher, writer, etc.): Every writer knows that his first book is not likely to be a bestseller. This generic use is often criticized as sexist, although many speakers and writers continue the practice.
Those who object to the generic use of he have developed various ways of avoiding it. One is to use he/she or she/he (or he or she or she or he) or the appropriate case forms of these pairs: Everyone who agrees should raise his or her (or her or his or his/her or her/his) right hand. Forms blending the feminine and masculine pronouns, as s/he, have not been widely adopted, probably because of confusion over how to say them.
Another solution is to change the antecedent pronoun or noun from singular to plural so that the plural pronouns they, their, and them can be used: All who agree should raise their right hands. All writers know that their first books are not likely to be bestsellers. See also they.


or heh

[hey] /heɪ/
the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
any of the sounds represented by this letter.
From the Hebrew word hēʾ


[heez; unstressed eez] /hiz; unstressed iz/
contraction of he is.
contraction of he has.
Usage note Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hes
Historical Examples
  • hes the lad that must fix it up with the banker when the note is renewed.

    Treading the Narrow Way R. E. Barrett
  • Because whatever else he may be, hes not a liar, retorted Peggy.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
  • This man may be an ass; but hes got the Manual of Military Law behind him, and dont forget it.

    John Brown Captain R. W. Campbell
  • hes bound, anyway, to stand by you, because hes getting wages from your uncle.

  • Nine men out of ten in the doctors position would do exactly what hes done.

    The Search Party G. A. Birmingham
  • He could hardly be my father, as hes forty-five and Ithirty!

  • hes thinking that were just a couple of dumb-bells, walking right into the trap that he and Bud Hyslop set for us.

    Gypsies of the Air Bess Moyer
  • Jims been drinking, and hes very rough when hes been drinking.

  • Theres a very lovely girl out in California hes devoted to; a young poetess.

    Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • Cant you see, Mr. President, that hes not paying any attention to us?

    A Place in the Sun C.H. Thames
British Dictionary definitions for hes


Chemical symbol


high explosive
His Eminence
His (or Her) Excellency


he is or he has


/hiː; unstressed /
pronoun (subjective)
refers to a male person or animal: he looks interesting, he's a fine stallion
refers to an indefinite antecedent such as one, whoever, or anybody: everybody can do as he likes in this country
refers to a person or animal of unknown or unspecified sex: a member of the party may vote as he sees fit
  1. a male person or animal
  2. (in combination): he-goat
  1. a children's game in which one player chases the others in an attempt to touch one of them, who then becomes the chaser Compare tag2
  2. the person chasing Compare it1 (sense 7)
Word Origin
Old English hē; related to Old Saxon hie, Old High German her he, Old Slavonic this, Latin cis on this side


/heɪ; Hebrew he/
the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet (ה), transliterated as h


/hiː; heɪ/
an expression of amusement or derision Also he-he!, hee-hee!
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
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Word Origin and History for hes



Old English he (see paradigm of Old English third person pronoun below), from Proto-Germanic *hi- (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch he, hi, Dutch hy, Old High German he), from PIE *ki-, variant of *ko-, the "this, here" (as opposed to "that, there") root (cf. Hittite ki "this," Greek ekeinos "that person," Old Church Slavonic si, Lithuanian šis "this"), and thus the source of the third person pronouns in Old English. The feminine, hio, was replaced in early Middle English by forms from other stems (see she), while the h- wore off Old English neuter hit to make modern it. The Proto-Germanic root also is the source of the first element in German heute "today," literally "the day" (cf. Old English heodæg).

- masc. neut. fem. (all genders)
nom. he hit heo, hio hie, hi
acc. hine hit hie, hi hie, hi
gen. his his hire hira, heora
dat. him him hire him, heom

Pleonastic use with the noun ("Mistah Kurtz, he dead") is attested from late Old English. With animal words, meaning "male" (he-goat, etc.) from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hes in Medicine

The symbol for the element helium.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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hes in Science
The symbol for helium.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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