hail, hale

The words hail, hale sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do hail, hale sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: hail, hale are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Precipitation in the form of spherical or irregular pellets of ice larger than 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) in diameter.

  2. :: noun

    Something that falls with the force and quantity of a shower of ice and hard snow: a hail of pebbles; a hail of criticism.

  3. :: verb-intransitive

    To precipitate in pellets of ice and hard snow.

  4. :: verb-intransitive

    To fall like hailstones: Condemnations hailed down on them.

  1. :: adjective

    Free from infirmity or illness; sound. See Synonyms at healthy.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To compel to go: "In short order the human rights campaign was haled before a high court of indignation” ( Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)

  3. :: verb-transitive

    Archaic To pull, draw, drag, or hoist.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition and Wordnik.

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About Homophones

Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.

If they are spelled the same then they are also homographs (and homonyms); if they are spelled differently then they are also heterographs (literally "different writing").