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
Related formshail·er, noun

Synonyms for hail




showery precipitation in the form of irregular pellets or balls of ice more than 1/5 (0.2) inch (5 mm) 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

before 900; Middle English; Old English hægl, variant of hagol; cognate with German Hagel, Old Norse hagl Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hailing

Contemporary Examples of hailing

Historical Examples of hailing

  • The house at the light was empty; but, on my hailing, a woman's voice answered from the cellar.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • After hailing the morn with this second salutation, he threw a boot at the woman as a third.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • Not any better than her mistress, however, who at this moment was hailing a street-car.

  • And still the air, the sky—a ghost, something invisible was hailing the ship.


    Joseph Conrad

  • I heard them pulling about in the dark, hailing, and so on, but after a bit they gave up.

    The Secret Sharer

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for hailing




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



verb (mainly tr)

to greet, esp enthusiasticallythe crowd hailed the actress with joy
to acclaim or acknowledgethey hailed him as their hero
to attract the attention of by shouting or gesturingto hail a taxi; to hail a passing ship
(intr foll by from) to be a native (of); originate (in)she hails from India


the act or an instance of hailing
a shout or greeting
distance across which one can attract attention (esp in the phrase within hail)

sentence substitute

poetic an exclamation of greeting
Derived Formshailer, 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

Word Origin and History for hailing



"greetings!" c.1200, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse heill "health, prosperity, good luck;" and from Old English hals, shortening of wæs hæil "be healthy" (see health and cf. wassail).



"frozen rain," Old English hægl, hagol (Mercian hegel) "hail, hailstorm," also the name of the rune for H, from West Germanic *haglaz (cf. Old Frisian heil, Old Saxon, Old High German hagal, Old Norse hagl, German Hagel "hail"), probably from PIE *kaghlo- "pebble" (cf. Greek kakhlex "round pebble").



"to call from a distance," 1560s, originally nautical, from hail (interj.). Related: Hailed; hailing. Hail fellow well met is 1580s, from a familiar greeting. Hail Mary (c.1300) is the angelic salutation (Latin ave Maria), cf. Luke i:58, used as a devotional recitation. As a desperation play in U.S. football, attested by 1940. To hail from is 1841, originally nautical. "Hail, Columbia," the popular patriotic song, was a euphemism for "hell" in American English slang from c.1850-1910.



Old English hagolian, from root of hail (n.). Related: Hailed; hailing. Figurative use from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for hailing



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.

Culture definitions for hailing


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 hailing


In addition to the idiom beginning with hail

  • hail from

also see:

  • within call (hail)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.