1 of 2


: free from defect, disease, or infirmity : sound
also : retaining exceptional health and vigor
a hale and hearty old man


2 of 2


haled; haling

transitive verb

: haul, pull
: to compel to go
haled her into court
Choose the Right Synonym for hale

healthy, sound, wholesome, robust, hale, well mean enjoying or indicative of good health.

healthy implies full strength and vigor as well as freedom from signs of disease.

a healthy family

sound emphasizes the absence of disease, weakness, or malfunction.

a sound heart

wholesome implies appearance and behavior indicating soundness and balance.

a face with a wholesome glow

robust implies the opposite of all that is delicate or sickly.

a lively, robust little boy

hale applies particularly to robustness in old age.

still hale at the age of eighty

well implies merely freedom from disease or illness.

she has never been a well person

Examples of hale in a Sentence

Adjective still hale and strong at 80, often outdoing his younger golfing buddies Verb the fishermen haled the huge net onto the deck of the ship
Recent Examples on the Web
Oscar, still hale and hearty, celebrated his 15th birthday in July of 2022. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 29 Oct. 2022 The symphony sounds remarkably hale under Payare’s baton, and as the movement grew, so did the power and immediacy of the orchestra, always bringing balance and poise back to the beloved processional of the main melody. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2022 What this signal reveals is a home range that hardly budged in Fred’s early adolescence, while the hale and hearty growth rates of childhood dramatically fell off. Peter Brannen, The Atlantic, 22 June 2022 The Chamber of Commerce dream demographic for new Angelenos was hale, white, middle- and yeoman-class Americans. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2022 At a hale 77, Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a medical biochemist, botanist, organic chemist, poet, author and developer of artificial blood. New York Times, 24 Feb. 2022 After all, just how much did wearing a mask hinder a hale and hearty person from getting to their final destination? Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2022 Out in the cold sunshine of the patio, parents lead wobbly kids from the slopes toward the parking lots, weaving through an assortment of free-ranging dogs and hale locals, who share BYO beers and the deep laughter of the young and the free. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Feb. 2022
Even though no one is being haled into court, parents still need to behave civilly. Paul Sullivan, New York Times, 8 May 2020 Then an employer who attempts union-busting could be haled into court and face an injunction against demoting or firing union organizers, followed by a trial and possibly heavy damages. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, 28 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hale.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



partly from Middle English (northern) hale, from Old English hāl; partly from Middle English hail, from Old Norse heill — more at whole


Middle English halen, from Anglo-French haler, aler — more at haul

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hale was in the 13th century


Dictionary Entries Near hale

Cite this Entry

“Hale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hale. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: sound entry 1 sense 1a, healthy
grandmother was still hale and hearty at eighty


2 of 2 verb
haled; haling
: to force to go
haled them into court


partly from Middle English hale "healthy, unhurt," from Old English hāl (same meaning) and partly from Middle English hail (an interjection of approval or greeting), derived from early Norse heill "healthy" — related to hail entry 3, health, wassail, whole


Middle English halen "to pull," from early French haler (same meaning); of Germanic origin — related to haul

Biographical Definition

Hale 1 of 4

biographical name (1)

Edward Everett 1822–1909 American Unitarian clergyman and writer


2 of 4

biographical name (2)

George Ellery 1868–1938 American astronomer


3 of 4

biographical name (3)

Sir Matthew 1609–1676 English jurist


4 of 4

biographical name (4)

Nathan 1755–1776 American Revolutionary hero

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