Main definitions of hail in English

: hail1hail2

hail1

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Pellets of frozen rain which fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds.

    ‘rain and hail bounced on the tiled roof’
    • ‘It was a very windy day, with great black clouds and blinding hail: a real storm.’
    • ‘Estimates of the amount of rain and hail which fell on Tuesday ranged from 30 mm to 75 mm in 15 minutes.’
    • ‘Wind hit an estimated 140 mph in Tennessee and the storms carried torrential rain and golf-ball-sized hail.’
    • ‘Outside, the rain turned to pellets of hail, clattering against the house.’
    • ‘The conditions had a major influence on this game with a strong, gusting wind blowing up the field, bringing with it freezing showers of rain and hail.’
    • ‘We had a blizzard, with hail, snow, rain and strong wind - we were terrified.’
    • ‘These kinds of storms can produce rain, hail snow, thunder and lightning.’
    • ‘On the second day, a storm of biblical proportions unleashes hail, rain and floods that carry away valuable equipment on rivers of mud.’
    • ‘Thunderstorms sometimes drop balls of ice known as hail in addition to rain.’
    • ‘Actually building something was very satisfying and I cracked on through the rain and hail to complete it.’
    • ‘A nest was considered storm-destroyed if it was flattened by wind or badly damaged by hail or rain.’
    • ‘It was raining hail and ice, and I looked on as the waves fiercely crashed against the shoreline.’
    • ‘Weather conditions could hardly have been worse for the event with a strong biting wind and frequent wintry showers of rain and hail putting a damper on proceedings.’
    • ‘The capital is again bearing the brunt of the bitter weather with freezing winds, rain and hail showers.’
    • ‘Soybeans stunted by lack of rain or damaged by hail can be salvaged as hay or silage.’
    • ‘The clouds parted and a torrent of rain and hail flowed down toward the earth.’
    • ‘Tomorrow's forecast is for a cold, windy day with some risk of sleet and hail showers, although the worst effects of the storm will have passed by 6am.’
    • ‘He had been hiking near his family's cabin in the mountains when a storm came in and it started pouring down rain and hail.’
    • ‘Pedestrians and motorcyclists sought shelter when the storm invaded the city and delivered hail and heavy rain.’
    • ‘It was practically dark as we prepared to put the sign onto the posts when a strong wind stormed through bringing an icy rain and hail with it.’
    frozen rain, hailstones, sleet, precipitation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[in singular]A large number of things hurled forcefully through the air.
      ‘a hail of bullets’
      • ‘Over the weekend, a 13-year-old Brooklyn boy used his own body to shield a young girl from a hail of bullets.’
      • ‘They drove straight through the roadblock in a hail of bullets.’
      • ‘She grabbed the bucket and, amid a hail of artillery fire, crossed the battery to the well.’
      • ‘I recall accosting some rowdy teenagers outside my house: my few cautionary words were met with a hail of stones, too small to injure but enough to frighten and humiliate.’
      • ‘Needless to say he came of worse and, in fact, nobody else was injured apart from the hapless chap who was quickly dispatched to the afterlife in a hail of well-aimed bullets.’
      • ‘Firefighters came under attack from a hail of stones hurled by children as young as 10.’
      • ‘But firefighters also had to contend with a hail of stones and water bombs from the children who crowded around them as they fought the fire.’
      • ‘The records showed his plan had been scotched by a hail of objections from all four of our adjoining neighbours - plus, it seemed, one other mystery objector.’
      • ‘Does someone else have to have a hail of bullets fired into their bedroom window before something is done?’
      • ‘And she says she will always treasure the memory of his last kiss and hug before seconds later he died in a hail of bullets.’
      • ‘His body twisted and contorted under a hail of bullets.’
      • ‘A phrase I wrote here not long ago has unleashed a hail of furious and strikingly similar emails.’
      • ‘The trickle of arrows became a hail of missiles, then, hurled with deadly accuracy.’
      • ‘The nephew and the bodyguards appear to have realized that they were in hostile territory, and tried to withdraw, but the effort was met with a hail of bullets.’
      • ‘Running towards the house alone, through a hail of bullets, he threw bombs at the position and silenced the gun.’
      • ‘If attackers do pop up, a hail of 10 mm projectiles can be fired at them in seconds.’
      • ‘Despite being shot in the leg, she drove though a hail of bullets before a colleague took her to hospital where doctors are battling to save her limb.’
      • ‘She picked up a hail of bad words from several of the other drivers.’
      • ‘So they looked at each other, under a hail of stones and bricks, shrugged, and as one, stopped to the pavement to pick up the stones which had been hurled at them by the students, and flung them right back.’
      • ‘If I did that one his way, the groom would have died in a hail of bullets before I got to say ‘I Do.’’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Hail falls.

    ‘it hailed so hard we had to stop’
    • ‘The multi-coloured roofs twinkle from a distance in the occasional sunshine, but usually it's raining or hailing.’
    • ‘In a city where it hardly even rains, it hailed last night.’
    • ‘Two minutes later, it was sleeting and hailing, we were both soaked to the skin, and we were both bloody miserable.’
    • ‘Yesterday it hailed so hard it looked like snow.’
    • ‘I rush round closing all the windows and notice it is hailing.’
    • ‘It was raining and hailing, the weather was very poor.’
    • ‘It was an overcast morning with thunderstorms predicted, and although it rained and hailed around lunchtime, most of the day remained fine.’
    • ‘Last night it Hailed a couple of times so we got a picture of it. I’
    • ‘Well, actually, in the City it was usually raining, or hailing, or giant-asteroiding, but that's beside the point.’
    beat, shower, rain, fall, pour, drop
    pelt, pepper, batter, bombard, volley, assail
    View synonyms
  • 2[with adverbial of direction] (of a large number of objects) fall or be hurled forcefully.

    ‘missiles and bombs hail down from the sky’

Origin

Old English hagol, hægl (noun), hagalian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hagel and German Hagel.

Pronunciation:

hail

/heɪl/

Main definitions of hail in English

: hail1hail2

hail2

verb

  • 1[with object] Call out to (someone) to attract attention.

    ‘I hailed her in English’
    • ‘He hailed me at half-past nine in Trafalgar Square.’
    • ‘A dive master hails me from a nearby floating group, ‘Any idea what that was?’’
    • ‘She hailed me like an old friend and said: ‘Your new skirt looks great!’’
    • ‘One Sunday morning I was hailed by a trader known as The Banana King who used more pure oratory selling a bunch of bananas than any politician had used since Churchill.’
    • ‘I much prefer if you type a short paragraph hailing me up (saying hello) rather than being included in a list of names.’
    • ‘They cheerfully hailed us in Dari, then Urdu, then broken English.’
    • ‘Once a member of our Parish hailed me on the street and invited me to enter his house.’
    • ‘One of them hails me at the fuel pump in order to report that her sister has tried to read the book.’
    • ‘I may bridle at the strange young thing who rings up out of the blue and breezily hails me by my first name but it does not help when the company she represents can only be reached through her.’
    greet, salute, address, halloo, speak to, call out to, shout to, say hello to, initiate a discussion with, talk to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Signal (an approaching taxi) to stop.
      ‘she raised her hand to hail a cab’
      • ‘Opting against hailing a taxi, she took the car, figuring that she needed some practice.’
      • ‘These vehicles are the only ones licensed and insured to ply for hire, that is take passengers from the taxi ranks or be hailed in the street.’
      • ‘On Saturday afternoon, a friend (also a wheelchair user) and I were trying to hail a taxi on Charing Cross Road.’
      • ‘Michelle took us out for supper, explained how to hail a taxi in Hong Kong and helped us shop for some food for breakfast.’
      • ‘I can walk, I can run, I can hop onto a bus, I can try the Tube, I could hail a taxi, I can see if there's a train.’
      • ‘Absentmindedly, she hailed a taxi and entered, telling the driver her address before sinking into the seat.’
      • ‘Soon I give up and, nerves snapping, fight my way down teeming concrete canyons to a roundabout where I manage to hail an antiquated taxi.’
      • ‘He walked with his chin tucked under his overcoat collar, his hand out to hail a taxi.’
      • ‘To hail a taxi or bus, one wags a finger or fingers depending on the number of passengers in need of a ride.’
      • ‘I didn't know what else to do, so I hailed a taxi and came here.’
      • ‘I gave the car a wide berth as it began to smoulder, and hailed a taxi.’
      • ‘A man who looks like a business executive talks into a mobile phone as he tries to hail a taxi.’
      • ‘As soon as I left, I hailed the first available taxi, and within an hour I was on the plane to Washington.’
      • ‘Keeping in mind that the fact that I was female, alone and in one of the worst neighborhoods in New York I hailed a Taxi cab that was in desperate need of a car wash.’
      • ‘If I want the views of a cab driver I'll hail a taxi, thanks.’
      • ‘The next thing she was aware of was hailing a taxi outside the airport, and someone touching her arm lightly.’
      • ‘Finally the security hailed a taxi cab and pushed us in and it drove away.’
      • ‘She hailed a taxi and headed straight for his house.’
      • ‘But there is not enough room for the six members of our tour, so he hails another taxi, which also stops instantly.’
      • ‘Five minutes later they were out on the sidewalk, hailing a taxi.’
  • 2[with object] Praise (someone or something) enthusiastically.

    ‘he has been hailed as the new James Dean’
    • ‘They were then ushered into the airport's arrivals terminal where they were hailed as heroes by fans who had turned up to welcome the athletes home.’
    • ‘The book had appeared the year before, to much acclaim; it was hailed as a masterpiece of the age.’
    • ‘This prospect is frequently hailed as facilitating a return to the pristine, paradigmatic democracies of ancient Greece.’
    • ‘On the one hand it was hailed as groundbreaking and praised for encouraging debate.’
    • ‘Both show are hailed as great by some and hated by others.’
    • ‘The 1984 elections were hailed as fair by both the international media and observing organisations, something that has not happened since.’
    • ‘When the vaccine was introduced in 1988 it was hailed as the key to eradicating the three childhood diseases measles, mumps and rubella in this country.’
    • ‘It was hailed as the sensation of the festival - a film so shocking and scandalous that it required an official warning on the tickets to alert those of a sensitive disposition.’
    • ‘However, the fourth Sunday of Lent was hailed as a day for honouring mothers, when servants would have the day off and be encouraged to return home.’
    • ‘Again, like all other ‘fad’ diets, it is hailed as being simple to do.’
    • ‘Looking at some of their efforts, I suspect that if they spell their name correctly it is hailed as a triumph, and incorrectly, as expressionism.’
    • ‘Its relatively peaceful transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy was rightly hailed as a miracle.’
    • ‘Last year's inaugural event was hailed as an outstanding success and this year promises to be no less an occasion with a very busy and interesting schedule of events planned.’
    • ‘Instead of being kicked out as cowards they were hailed as heroes.’
    • ‘When the traffic police mooted a proposal to ban parking on the city's arterial roads two years ago, it was hailed as the most revolutionary move.’
    • ‘The election was hailed as a victory for the left.’
    • ‘Working too much takes its toll on people's health and relationships, yet most workaholics are hailed as heroes, or at least model employees.’
    • ‘Three quick-thinking passers-by were today hailed as heroes for saving a man's life with emergency first aid as he lay on the pavement.’
    • ‘This target was hailed as completely unreasonable by the agricultural sector, and she was derided for lack of consultation.’
    • ‘This event was hailed as ‘a major step towards successful production of animal organs and cells for human transplantation’.’
    acclaim, praise, applaud, commend, rave about, extol, eulogize, vaunt, hymn, lionize, express approval of, express admiration for, pay tribute to, speak highly of, sing the praises of, make much of
    View synonyms
  • 3[no object] Have one's home or origins in (a place)

    ‘they hail from Turkey’
    • ‘Though based in Glasgow, three members of the band originally hail from the north-east of Scotland.’
    • ‘He hails from Prestwich and has lived most of his life in and around Bury, apart from the ten years he spent working in television in London.’
    • ‘Originally he hailed from Malaysia, then studied architecture at Oxford, qualifying in 1984.’
    • ‘The sisters, who originally hail from Ramsbottom, took ten months to set up the new business.’
    • ‘Humble origin and hailing from a small town of Kakinada do not appear to deter him.’
    • ‘Despite my strong Scottish ties, all I knew about my ancestors was that they had originally hailed from Africa.’
    • ‘Wayne originally hails from Wexford and has lived in Sligo for almost ten years.’
    • ‘He hails from Virginia but has resided for several years in the Swinford area.’
    • ‘Although hailing from York originally, the family moved to Yeadon during the war.’
    • ‘Gladys, a former mill worker, originally hails from Castleford but has lived in Haworth for most of her life.’
    come from, be from, be a native of, have been born in, originate in, have one's roots in
    View synonyms

exclamation

Archaic
  • Expressing greeting or acclaim.

    ‘hail, Caesar!’
    • ‘Hail, good old stranger!’
    • ‘Hail good citizens!’
    • ‘Hail, ye lone voices in the wilderness!’

noun

  • A shout or call used to attract attention.

    • ‘The craft did not make a hostile move toward the science vessel, but did not respond to hails.’
    • ‘A moment later the whole ship was ringing with cheers and hails.’
    • ‘The mystery ship did not respond to hails and fired on Japanese ships when they approached.’
    • ‘She is not answering our hails and has not decelerated.’
    • ‘We have received your hails and are willing to accept you and any wounded, so long as you disarm and power down.’
    • ‘She puffs on a cigarette, hails departing guests, gossips with regulars, accepts congratulations.’
    • ‘The Radar has just entered out jurisdiction and is not responding to our hails.’
    • ‘Maybe it was because your fleet was too high and mighty to respond to our previous hails.’
    • ‘Now Central would be wondering what was wrong, why he wasn't answering the hails.’
    • ‘She looked at the view screen awaiting a response to the hails.’
    • ‘Sitting inside the venue, I could easily feel the radiant enthusiasm of spectators as hails, whistles and waving fluorescent sticks accompanied the name of every familiar Chinese star that the host announced.’
    • ‘All relays aren't responding to our hails, and contact with the fleet is severed.’
    • ‘Gandalf hails Theoden, but the King is angry with him.’
    • ‘She shook her head, her pink hair flowing around her face as the communications officer answered, ‘No response to standard hails.’’
    • ‘Young, hyper children sped along the quiet roads and cracked sidewalks, throwing their arms up in their imaginary play and bursting out hails of the loudest cries their lungs could take.’
    • ‘There's no response to hails, but they probably just use an unknown channel.’
    • ‘Include as many hails of derisive laughter in your answer as possible.’
    • ‘Her hails had the desired effect, and Mark stopped and turned.’
    greeting, hello, hallo, halloo, call, cry, shout, salutation
    acknowledgement, welcome, salute
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • within hail

    • dated At a distance within which someone may be called to; within earshot.

      ‘the line keeps within hail of the River Dee’
      • ‘The Race Committee shall fly flag ‘L', which means ‘come within hail or follow this boat’, and then locate the starting area, where the Race Committee believes the best wind conditions are.’
      • ‘Come within hail for verbal instructions or follow the official boat displaying Code Flag ‘L'.’
      • ‘The only place where that incipient panic is not usual is the front line, because there the enemy is within hail and is known to be another unlucky fool.’
      • ‘After finishing, a yacht shall come within hail of the Committee for instructions as to possible inspection.’
      • ‘If upon the ocean, would any passing vessel be within hail to rescue them from their critical position?’

Origin

Middle English: from the obsolete adjective hail ‘healthy’ (occurring in greetings and toasts, such as wæs hæil: see wassail), from Old Norse heill, related to hale and whole.

Pronunciation:

hail

/heɪl/