H

hadji: One who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca. Arabic “hajj”=pilgrimage, religious journey + “‘i”=suffix indicating a person.

Haiti: A Creole- and French-speaking Caribbean country, officially the Republic of Haiti. From Taino “ayti” = mountainous land.

halcyon: peaceful, calm. From Greek myth of Alcyone. 14 days of calm around December 21st, brought by kingfisher. Gk: “alkyon”=kingfisher.

hamas: Militant Islamic group. From Arabic “hamas”=zeal < (b)acronym of “harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya”=Islamic Resistance Movement.

hamlet: Village without a church. From Old English “ham”=home, village + “-let”=diminutive suffix meaning small.

handsome: Good looking, having a pleasing appearance. Originally “easy to handle” from Old English “hond”=hand + “-som”=adjective suffix

happy: Having feelings of pleasure. From Old Norse “happ”=chance/luck + suffix “-y” < Old English “ig”=full of. Literally “full of luck.

harass: To annoy persistently. From Middle French “harer”=to set the dogs on < Old French “hare”=a call to dogs. Common misspell “harrass.”

harbor: Body of water protected and deep enough to provide safety for ships. From Old English “herebeorg” < “here”=army ” + “beorg”=shelter.

harry: Continually harass or annoy. From Old English “hergian”=make war and plunder < Greek “koiranos”=ruler.

hate: To dislike intensely. From Old English “hatian”=detest, bear malice toward.

haven: Place of sanctuary or rest. From Old English “hæfen” < Old Norse “hofn”=contain.

havoc: Great confusion, disorder, possibly destruction. From Old French “havot”=disorder <“crier havoc”=cry havoc (order to pillage).

headache: Dull, throbbing pain located in the head. From Old English “heafod”=top of the body + “acan”=to suffer pain.

heaven: The sky seen from the earth, or the abode of gods. From Old English “heofan”=sky/covering.

hegemony: Dominance of one group/state over another. From Greek “igemonia”=”leadership < “igemon”=leader

heinous: Exceptionally wicked or vile. From Middle English “hainous” < Old French “hainos” < “haine”=hatred.

hell: In many religions a place where the dead exist, often a place of punishment. From Old English “helle/hel”=underworld.

herculean: Extremely difficult job/task. From Greek “Hercules,” a demi-god < “Hera,” Zeus’ wife + “kleos”=glory: Lit. having Hera’s glory.

hermit: Someone living in solitude from society, often for religious reason. From Greek “eremites”=desert person < “eremos”=uninhabited.

hesternal: Adjective meaning “of yesterday.” From Latin “hesterus”=yesterday or yester + “-al”=pertaining to.

hirsuite: hairy; having rough or shaggy hair. From Latin “hirsutus”=rough, shaggy.

hoax: Action intended to deceive or trick someone – deliberate lie. Shortened from “hocus pocus”=mock-Latin spell used by magician.

hocus-pocus: Trickery or deceit; word used by conjurer. From 17th century magician called “Hocus Pocus” after mock Latin he used as a spell.

holiday: An officially sanctioned period of time away from work. From Old English “halig”=holy + “daeg”=day.

home: Village or town; place where one lives. Old English “ham” > Greek “kome”=village ?< Sanskrit “ksemas”=safe dwelling.

homophone: Word that sounds like another word e.g. meet/meat; to/too/two. From Greek “homos”=same + “phone”=sound.

honey: Sweet, sticky, edible substance made by bees. From Old English “hunig.”

honor: High respect, esteem, or reverence to someone. From Old French “honor” < Latin “honorem”=repute, esteem, or dignity – also a gift.

hoodwink: To hide the truth; deliberate evasion. For Old English “hod”=head covering + “wincian”=to nod; to close ones eyes.

hook: Small curved piece of metal used to catch fish. From Old English “hoc”=corner or angle. Also related to Old English “haca”=bolt.

hooker: a prostitute (typically US use). Thought to come from the notion of “one who hooks/ensnares.” Middle Dutch “hoec”=fishhook.

hooter: Slang for “nose” probably from the sound made blowing the nose. From Middle English “houten”=the sound of hoot.

hop: To jump on one leg; to move in a light, skipping motion. From Old English “hoppian”=to spring or dance.

hope: To wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment. From Old English “hopian”=wish or look forward to.

horde: Crowd or throng of people. Originally nomadic tribes (1555). From Turkic “orda”=residence of the Khan.

hornswoggle: to cheat or swindle someone. Unknown origin, first mentioned in 1829 .

hour: Unit of time equal to 1/24th equal parts of a day. Old French “hore”=one-twelfth of a day (sunrise/set) < Greek “hora”=Limited time.

Houston: Name of 4th largest city in the US, after the then-President of Texas, Sam Houston. From Scottish “Hugh’s Town.” OE “tun”=town.

hubris: Excessive pride, presumption or arrogance. Also describes the action of someone challenging the gods. From Greek “hybris”=insolence.

humble: Modest. Showing a consciousness of one’s defects or shortcomings. From Latin “humilis”=lowly or slight < “humus”=earth.

humdrum: Quality of wearisome constancy, routine, lack of variety. Probably from 1550 – repetition of “hum” < monotonous sound.

humongous: US slang for very large. Uncertain origin, poss. Old French “ahuge”=large + Latin “monstrum”=monster + “osos”=adjective suffix.

hungry: Wanting or needing something very much, usually food. From Old English “hungor”=state of wanting food + suffix “-y”=have quality of.

hurricane: A wind with a speed greater than 74 miles per hour. From Spanish “huracan” < Mayan “Jun Raquan”=storm god (lit. one-legged!)

hymn: Religious song of worship. From Old English “ymen” < Latin “hymnus”=song of praise < Greek “ymnos”=song or ode to gods or heroes.

hyperbole: Verbal exaggeration; extravagant excess. Greek “yper”=over, above measure + “ballein”=to throw (like a curve).

hypochondria: Chronic and abnormal anxiety about imagined illness. From Greek “hypo”=below + “chondros”=cartilage (breastbone).

hysteria: Medical condition where someone feels abnormally nervous and/or anxious. From Greek “isterikos”=of the womb < “istera”=womb.