We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Idioms for hail

    within hail, within range of hearing; audible: The mother kept her children within hail of her voice.

Origin of hail

1150–1200; Middle English haile, earlier heilen, derivative of hail health <Old Norse heill; cognate with Old English hǣl.See heal, wassail


hailer, noun

Definition for hail (2 of 2)

[ heyl ]
/ heɪl /


showery precipitation in the form of irregular pellets or balls of ice more than 0.2 inch (5 millimeters) in diameter, falling from a cumulonimbus cloud (distinguished from sleet).
a shower or storm of such precipitation.
a shower of anything: a hail of bullets.

verb (used without object)

to pour down hail (often used impersonally with it as subject): It hailed this afternoon.
to fall or shower as hail: Arrows hailed down on the troops as they advanced.

verb (used with object)

to pour down on as or like hail: The plane hailed leaflets on the city.

Origin of hail

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English hægl, variant of hagol; cognate with German Hagel, Old Norse hagl
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for hail

British Dictionary definitions for hail (1 of 2)

/ (heɪl) /


small pellets of ice falling from cumulonimbus clouds when there are very strong rising air currents
a shower or storm of such pellets
words, ideas, etc, directed with force and in great quantitya hail of abuse
a collection of objects, esp bullets, spears, etc, directed at someone with violent force


(intr; with it as subject) to be the case that hail is falling
(often with it as subject) to fall or cause to fall as or like hailto hail criticism; bad language hailed about him

Word Origin for hail

Old English hægl; related to Old Frisian heil, Old High German hagal hail, Greek kakhlēx pebble

British Dictionary definitions for hail (2 of 2)

/ (heɪl) /

verb (mainly tr)


sentence substitute

poetic an exclamation of greeting

Derived forms of hail

hailer, noun

Word Origin for hail

C12: from Old Norse heill whole; see hale 1, wassail
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

Scientific definitions for hail

[ hāl ]

Precipitation in the form of rounded pellets of ice and hard snow that usually falls during thunderstorms. Hail forms when raindrops are blown up and down within a cloud, passing repeatedly through layers of warm and freezing air and collecting layers of ice until they are too heavy for the winds to keep them from falling.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for hail


Pellets of ice that form when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops to high altitudes, where the water freezes and then falls back to Earth. Hailstones as large as baseballs have been recorded. Hail can damage crops and property.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with hail


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.