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Meaning and Origin of: Hale

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Last name origins & meanings:

  1. English (also well established in South Wales): topographic name for someone who lived in a nook or hollow, from Old English and Middle English hale, dative of h(e)alh ‘nook’, ‘hollow’. In northern England the word often has a specialized meaning, denoting a piece of flat alluvial land by the side of a river, typically one deposited in a bend. In southeastern England it often referred to a patch of dry land in a fen. In some cases the surname may be a habitational name from any of the several places in England named with this fossilized inflected form, which would originally have been preceded by a preposition, e.g. in the hale or at the hale.
  2. English: from a Middle English personal name derived from either of two Old English bynames, Hæle ‘hero’ or Hægel, which is probably akin to Germanic Hagano ‘hawthorn’ (see Hain 2).
  3. Irish: reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Céile (see McHale).
  4. Jewish (Ashkenazic): variant spelling of Halle.
  5. Robert Hale, who settled in Cambridge, MA, in 1632, was an ancestor of the revolutionary war patriot and spy Nathan Hale (1755–76) of CT. The common English surname was brought independently in the 17th century to VA and MD.
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