As it’s near the end of October, in this Adventure in Etymology we’re investigating the origins of the word hallow, as in Halloween.
Hallow [ˈhæləʊ / ˈhæloʊ] is an old word that means:
- A saint; a holy person; an apostle.
- (plural) The relics or shrines of saints or non-Christian gods.
It comes from the Middle English halwe (saint, holy thing, shrine), from the Old English hālga (saint), from the Proto-Germanic *hailagô (holy person), from *hailagaz (holy, sacred), rom *hailaz (whole, intact, hale, healthy), from the PIE *kóylos (healthy, whole) [source].
The word Halloween comes from the Scots Hallow evin/even, from Allhallow evin, from Allhallow (all the saints) and evin (evening) [source].
English words from the same roots include holy, hale (healthy, sound, robust), as in hale and hearty, hail (to greet, salute, call) and whole [source].
Here’s a video I made of this information:
Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].