• From Middle English hole ("healthy, unhurt, whole"), from Old English hāl ("healthy, safe"), from Proto-West Germanic *hail, from Proto-Germanic *hailaz ("whole, safe, sound"), from Proto-Indo-European *kóylos ("healthy, whole").
  • The spelling with wh-, introduced in the 15th century, was for disambiguation with hole, and was absent in Scots.
  • Compare West Frisian hiel, Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish and Norwegian Bokmål hel, Norwegian Nynorsk heil; also Welsh coel ("omen"), Breton kel ("omen, mention"), Old Prussian kails ("healthy"), Old Church Slavonic цѣлъ ("healthy, unhurt"). Related to hale, health, hail, hallow, heal, and holy.

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