'Hail' vs 'Hale': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on August 6, 2023

If you are looking for an explanation of the difference between 'hail' vs. 'hale,' you are in luck!

Here is the quick answer: 

  • 'Hail' is a noun, verb, or interjection that describes frozen rain or a greeting or salute. 
  • 'Hale' is a verb or adjective that means to haul or pull something or that something is free of defects. 

The short answer above gives the differences in the definitions, but there is much more to learn. So, read this entire post with definitions, usage tips, pronunciations, and other details to gain a deeper understanding.

What is the Difference Between 'Hail' vs. 'Hale?'

'Hail' and 'hale' are homophones that sound identical but have different spellings and meanings.

  • The first term is a 'noun,' 'verb,' or 'interjection' with several meanings that differ depending on your use.

For example:

  • 'Hail' can refer to frozen rain or large balls of ice that are common during bad storms.
    • It can also be a verb that means to rain down violently like hail or to greet someone approvingly.
    • It can also be an exclamation used to greet someone, especially in the presence of others.
  • 'Hale' is an adjective or a verb. When you use it as a verb, it means to haul, pull, or force someone or something.
    • As an adjective, it means free from imperfections, flaws, or defects.

Definition of 'Hail': What Does 'Hail' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'hail' is a noun that means:

  • Precipitation that forms balls or chunks of ice that sometimes consist of many layers
  • Something that is like a hail storm
  • An exclamation or greeting

It can also be a verb that means:

  • To precipitate hail or rain down like a hailstorm
  • To acclaim or greet approvingly
  • To greet or salute
  • To summon by calling, for example, a taxi
  • To call out a greeting in passing

It can also be an interjection used to:

  • Express acclamation or used as a salutation

Synonyms of 'Hail'

  • Praise
  • Salute
  • Greet
  • Recommend
  • Cheer
  • Applaud
  • Recognize
  • Acclaim
  • Laud
  • Tout
  • Honor
  • Celebrate
  • Congratulate
  • Idolize
  • Support
  • Summon
  • Call
  • Invite
  • Ask
  • Request
  • Beckon
  • Ring
  • Buzz
  • Flag

Definition of 'Hale': What Does 'Hale' Mean?

The same defines 'hale' as an adjective that means:

  • Free from disease, defects, or ailments
  • Having exceptional health

It can also be a verb that means:

  • Compel, pull, or haul

Synonyms of 'Hale'

  • Healthy
  • Robust
  • Well
  • Hearty
  • Active
  • Bouncing
  • Energetic
  • Agile
  • Strong
  • Able-bodied
  • Fit
  • Whole
  • In the pink
  • Vital
  • Good
  • Spry
  • Chipper
  • Right

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Hail' vs. 'Hale'

Learning pronunciations can help you remember the difference between terms and how to spell them in some cases. Unfortunately, when it comes to 'hail' vs. 'hale,' they have the same pronunciation but different spellings.

Nevertheless, knowing how to say these terms will give you the confidence to use them.

So, here is a quick pronunciation guide.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'hail':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'hale':


When and How to Use 'Hail' vs. 'Hale'

Now that you know the difference between them, let's look at when and how to use 'hail' vs. 'hale.'

  • Use 'hail' when you are talking about the weather.

For example, you might say:

I hope it does not start to hail while I am driving; I do not want my new car to get hail damage. 

  • Use 'hail' as an interjection.

As an example, you could say:

Hail to the prom king and queen. 

  • Use 'hail' to say you are flagging down a taxi or car.

So, you could say:

I am going to hail a cab in about 20 minutes. So I should be there around 5 p.m.

  • Use 'hale' to say that someone is in good health.

For example, you might hear someone say:

Despite some health problems when he was younger, he is a hale older man.

  • Use 'hale' as a verb to say that you are dragging or pulling someone or something.

As an example, you could say:

She is not going to come in on her own accord. You are going to have to hale her in. 

Sample Sentences Using 'Hail' vs. 'Hale'

Here are some sample sentences using 'hail' vs. 'hale.' Read them to ensure that you understand how to use each.


  • People who live in New York have to hail cabs all the time.
  • Large hail is common in thunderstorms that produce tornadoes.
  • All hail the greatest king of all time.
  • We were at the park when it started suddenly hailing golf ball-sized hail.
  • The huge balls of hail broke windows and caused roof damage.
  • We were upset that the maize maze was damaged during the hail storm.


  • The hale seniors get together once per week to train for the marathon.
  • If you have to hale her to the courthouse.
  • It was sad to see the once hale and active couple wither away.
  • If you want to be hale well into your 80s and 90s, you must remain active and take care of yourself.
  • You should be grateful that you are hale and capable of taking care of yourself.
  • My grandmother was hale and able to walk without assistance until last year.

The Last Word on the Difference Between 'Hail' vs. 'Hale'

We covered a lot of information. So, here is a review of the difference between 'hail' vs. 'hale':

  • 'Hail' is a noun, verb, and interjection that refers to large chunks of ice that fall during some severe thunderstorms or the act of calling someone or something. 
  • 'Hale' is a noun and verb that means in good health or to pull or compel someone to do something.  

You should be an expert on the difference between these terms. However, if you ever find yourself wondering which of these words to use, you can always come back to review this lesson.

You can also use the other confusing word guides here to verify the meanings and accurate usages of other commonly misused terms. These guides are also helpful if you are learning English as a second language. They can help you expand your vocabulary and learn how to use terms differently.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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