Hallow is a word usually used as a verb, meaning "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate". [cite web|url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hallow|date=2007-01-15|accessdate=2007-01-23|title=Dictionary.com|publisher=Lexico Publishing Group, LLC.] The adjective form "hallowed", as used in "The Lord's Prayer", means holy, consecrated, sacred, or revered. [ "Webster's Collegiate Dictionary" entry for "hallowed"]


The noun is from the Old English adjective "hálig", nominalized as "se hálga" "the holy man", The Gothic for "holy" is either "hailags" or "weihaba", "weihs". "To hold as holy" or "to become holy" is "weihnan", "to make holy, to sanctify" is "weihan". Holiness or sanctification is "weihia". Old English like Gothic had a second term of similar meaning, "weoh" "holy", with a substantive "wih" or "wig" , in Old High German "wih" or "wihi" (Middle High German "wîhe", Modern German "Weihe"). The Nordendorf fibula has "wigiþonar", interpreted as "wigi-þonar" "holy Donar" or "sacred to Donar". Old Norse "" means "temple". The "weihs" group is cognate to Latin "victima", an animal dedicated to the gods and destined to be sacrificed.

In current usage

In modern English usage, the noun "hallow" appears mostly in compounds in "Halloween" and "Hallowmas". Halloween (or "Hallowe'en") is a shortened form of "All Hallow Even", meaning "All Hallows' Eve" or "All Saints' Eve". ["Webster's Collegiate Dictionary" entry for "Halloween" ] Hallowmas, the day after Halloween, is shortened from "Hallows' mass", and is also known as "All Hallows' Day" or "All Saints' Day". ["Webster's Collegiate Dictionary" entry for "Hallowmas" ]

Hallows can refer to saints, the relics (including remains) of the saints, the relics of gods, or shrines in which relics are kept.cite web|url=http://www.uidaho.edu/student_orgs/arthurian_legend/grail/fisher/|date=April 1999|accessdate=2007-01-23|title=The Fisher King|publisher=University of Idaho] [cite book|title=Oxford English Dictionary|publisher=Oxford University Press] Since the essence of these saints or gods were often considered present at their shrines and in their relics, hallows came to refer to the saints or gods themselves, rather than just their relics or shrines. Because of these various usage possibilities, the hallowed (sacred) hallows (relics) of a hallowed (holy) hallow (saint) might be hallowed (venerated) in a hallowed (consecrated) hallow (shrine).

In legend

Some important and powerful objects in legends could be referred to as "hallows" because of their function and symbolism. [cite web|url=http://www.mystical-www.co.uk/arthuriana2z/h.htm#HOB|accessdate=2007-02-16|title= Arthurian A-ZZ|publisher=Mystical WWW] The Tuatha de Danaan in Ireland possessed four "hallows", the Four Treasures of Ireland: the Spear of Lugh, Stone of Fal, the Sword of Light of Nuada, and The Dagda's Cauldron. In the modern period, these were adapted to become the four suits in the Rider-Waite Tarot cards deck (swords, wands, pentacles and cups), and also took on the representation of the four classical elements of air, fire, earth and water. [cite web|url=http://www.tylwythteg.com/dynionmwyn/lesson1/thirteen22.html|date=1998|accessdate=2007-01-29|title=THE FOUR BASIC TOOLS|publisher=Rhuddlwm Gawr]

Coronation ceremonies for monarchs still invokes four ritual objects, now represented as the sceptre, sword, ampulla of oil, and crown. Similar objects also appear in Arthurian legends, where the Fisher King is the guardian of four "hallows" representing the four elements: a dish (earth), Arthur's sword Excalibur (air), the Holy Lance or spear, baton, or a magic wand (fire), and the Holy Grail (water).

Earlier Welsh tradition, as recorded in Trioedd Ynys Prydain, also refers to Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain, being the Thirteen Royal Treasures of the Isle of Britain. Symbolically, these could also be interpreted as "hallows", although not actually described as such in the medieval Welsh texts.

In literature

J. R. R. Tolkien

In J. R. R. Tolkien's tale "The Lord of the Rings", the kings and stewards of Gondor were laid to rest in tombs in "the Hallows" of Rath Dínen (the "Silent Street") in the city of Minas Tirith as described in "The Return of the King". [ J. R. R. Tolkien, "The Return of the King", Book V ch. 4, 7, and 8, and Book VI ch. 5 and 6; Allen & Unwin, Houghton Mifflin, and Random House's Del Rey Books and Ballantine Books editions.]

J.K. Rowling

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. The Deathly Hallows refer to three legendary magical objects mentioned in a fairy tale: the Elder Wand which could defeat all others in battle, the Resurrection Stone which could bring back the souls of the deceased, and the Cloak of Invisibility which could hide the wearer from most forms of detection. [Alastor Moody's magical eye and the "homenum revelio" spell could overcome the cloak's stealth.HP4 Moreover, Dementors used people's emotions to perceive their location, so the cloak was useless against them.HP3] Together the objects were said to make their owner a "Master of Death".HP7


ee also

*Vili and Vé

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  • Hallow — Hal low (h[a^]l l[ o]), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Hallowed}( l[ o]d); p. pr. & vb. n. {Hallowing}.] [OE. halowen, halwien, halgien, AS. h[=a]lgian, fr. h[=a]lig holy. See {Holy}.] To make holy; to set apart for holy or religious use; to consecrate; to …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hallow — index dedicate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • hallow — (v.) O.E. halgian to make holy, to honor as holy, consecrate, ordain, related to halig holy, from P.Gmc. *hailaga (Cf. O.S. helagon, M.Du. heligen, O.N. helga), from PIE root *kailo whole, uninjured, of good omen (see HEALTH (Cf. health)). Used… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hallow — vb consecrate, dedicate, *devote Contrasted words: see those at CONSECRATE …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • hallow — ► VERB 1) make holy; consecrate. 2) honour as holy. 3) (hallowed) greatly revered. ► NOUN archaic ▪ a saint or holy person. ORIGIN Old English, related to HOLY(Cf. ↑ …   English terms dictionary

  • hallow — hallow1 [hal′ō] vt. [ME halowen < OE halgian (used for L sanctificare) < Gmc base of halig (see HOLY): akin to Ger heiligen] 1. to make holy or sacred; sanctify; consecrate 2. to regard as holy; honor as sacred; venerate SYN. DEVOTE hallow2 …   English World dictionary

  • hallow — hal•low [[t]ˈhæl oʊ[/t]] v. t. lowed, low•ing 1) to make holy; sanctify; consecrate: to hallow the name of the Lord[/ex] 2) to honor as holy; consider sacred; venerate: to hallow a battlefield[/ex] • Etymology: bef. 900; ME hal(o)wen, OE hālgian… …   From formal English to slang

  • hallow — hallow1 hallower, n. /hal oh/, v.t. 1. to make holy; sanctify; consecrate. 2. to honor as holy; consider sacred; venerate: to hallow a battlefield. [bef. 900; ME hal(o)wen, OE halgian (c. G heiligen, ON helga), deriv. of halig HOLY] …   Universalium

  • hallow — [OE] Hallow is essentially the same word as holy. The noun, as in Halloween, the eve of All Hallows, or All Saints, comes from a noun use of Old English Hālig, which as an adjective developed into modern English holy; and the verb was formed in… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • hallow-e'en — n.; (also hallow even) Eve or vigil of All Saints, the night of 31st October …   New dictionary of synonyms

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