\ˈhāl \

Definition of hale 

(Entry 1 of 6)

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


haled; haling

Definition of hale (Entry 2 of 6)

transitive verb

1 : haul, pull

2 : to compel to go haled her into court


biographical name (1)
\ˈhāl \

Definition of Hale (Entry 3 of 6)

Edward Everett 1822–1909 American Unitarian clergyman and writer


biographical name (2)

Definition of Hale (Entry 4 of 6)

George Ellery 1868–1938 American astronomer


biographical name (3)

Definition of Hale (Entry 5 of 6)

Sir Matthew 1609–1676 English jurist


biographical name (4)

Definition of Hale (Entry 6 of 6)

Nathan 1755–1776 American Revolutionary hero

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for hale

Synonyms: Adjective

able-bodied, bouncing, fit, healthy, hearty, robust, sound, well, well-conditioned, whole, wholesome

Synonyms: Verb

drag, draw, haul, lug, pull, tow, tug

Antonyms: Adjective

ailing, diseased, ill, sick, unfit, unhealthy, unsound, unwell

Antonyms: Verb

drive, propel, push

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

What's the Difference Between hale,healthy, sound, and robust?


When you need a word to describe someone or something in good health, you might pick hale or a synonym such as healthy, sound, or robust. Of those terms, healthy is the most general, implying full strength and vigor or simply freedom from signs of disease. Sound generally emphasizes the complete absence of defects of mind or body. Robust implies the opposite of all that is delicate or sickly and usually suggests muscular strength as well as the ability to work or play long and hard. Hale applies especially to robustness in later life. The phrase "hale and hearty" is often used to describe an older person who retains the physical qualities of youth.

Examples of hale in a Sentence


still hale and strong at 80, often outdoing his younger golfing buddies


the fishermen haled the huge net onto the deck of the ship

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

As Woods rested, per doctors’ orders, so did a hale LaCava, who could have found lucrative work caddying for any number of other stars. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "In Tiger Woods’s Surging Play, a Steady Caddie," 10 Mar. 2018 What is more, the American economy seems as hale as ever. The Economist, "Rate rises affect global markets—and may feed back to America," 14 June 2018 Most importantly, though, is that New York's roster, which has been a veritable MASH unit over the last two years, has been hale and healthy—that is, up until a couple of days ago. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "The Mets Are Quite Literally Running Out of Healthy Catchers," 13 Apr. 2018 Greater transparency may encourage the hale and hearty not to take out health insurance. The Economist, "Data and medicineA revolution in health care is coming," 1 Feb. 2018 This hale and hearty chili from Kitchen Scoop columnist Alicia Ross features lots of veggies and the lean meatiness of ground turkey. OregonLive.com, "23 chili recipes to fire up your Super Bowl 2018 party," 23 Jan. 2018 His appeal, then and now, is a hale-fellow, Joe Biden-esque ability to come across as a scrappy average guy with a relatable stringy comb-over who is empathetic to the working poor. Steve Friess, Washington Post, "Detroit’s mayor seeks to continue urban renewal, relying on unique strategy," 30 Oct. 2017 Be sure to book an appointment at the Anara Spa, where the facials and full-body massages are taken under a hale, a thatched roof bungalow, and the scent of vanilla oil mingles with the fragrant floral overgrowth. Condé Nast Traveler, "Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa," 20 Oct. 2017 Suddenly, Strasburg is hale enough to start against the Chicago Cubs as Washington tries to stave off elimination in the NL Division Series, trailing 2-1. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Nationals deny they pressured Stephen Strasburg to start: 'He felt obligated'," 11 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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, "Dealt a body blow by the Supreme Court, unions ponder: Where do we go from here?," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hale


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hale


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hale

Listen to Our Podcast about hale

Statistics for hale

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hale

The first known use of hale was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hale



English Language Learners Definition of hale

: healthy and strong


\ˈhāl \

Kids Definition of hale

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: strong and healthy a hale and hearty man


haled; haling

Kids Definition of hale (Entry 2 of 2)

: to force to go The judge haled them into court.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on hale

What made you want to look up hale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!