Make Your Editor Cry: Hale vs. Hail

Make Your Editor Cry: Hale vs. Hail

If you’re hale, you’re strong and in good health. Think “hale and hearty,” the well-known phrase to describe someone who can lift a piano or work ten hours in a field without blinking an eye. In Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death Prince Prospero invites 1,000 of his “hale and light-hearted” besties to his castle to cheat death. These days the word hale often describes healthy older people, but anyone healthy can be hale regardless of age.

Another far less common definition for the word hale is to drag, force slowly, or compel to go.

Example:

The deputy haled the accused into the courtroom.

As a noun, hail has the “i” for “ice,” and it is most commonly used when chunks of ice fall from the sky. But it’s also a verb as in to hail someone so as to greet them or say good things about them. You can raise your arm and hail a cab, hail the queen if you are a subject in that land, or hail a great success. Hail can also mean to call attention to something. Or it can be a way to tell people of your homeland or place of origin.

Example:

I hail from Tuscaloosa.

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