This sentence is from the first chapter of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:

It was reported by those who encountered them in their Sunday walks, that they said nothing, looked singularly dull, and would hail with obvious relief the appearance of a friend.

I'm not sure what the word hail means in this context.

  • It means "to greet, to express a greeting". You can find a clearer definition of this gloss in your favorite dictionary.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 21:18
  • What does "with obvious relief" and "the appearance of a friend" mean? Also, how would they greet each other if "they said nothing"?
    – Ashly Chi
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 21:28
  • This is better asked on our sister site, English Language Learners.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


Picture this: You are waiting at the train station for a friend to show up. The train is about to depart and you are anxious not to miss it. There are people all around - you look everywhere but cannot see your friend. Suddenly, your friend appears, so you jump, wave and smile at them (this is hailing them - hail defined by Dictionary.com as to cheer, salute or greet) , relieved to see them suddenly appear just in time to catch the train. The word "obvious" is used because you clearly show relief with your body language. "Phew, that was close! I am very glad to see you arrived in time!"

That's the sort of thing it is portraying.

  • 1
    Alan, I think you might rewrite this answer to address the questioner's issue with the term "hail". As your answer is written, it does not answer. Thanks
    – J. Taylor
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 2:51
  • dictionary.com - hail: "to cheer, salute, or greet" I'd say I've answered it fine. In what way do you think it isn't answered?
    – Alan
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 2:53
  • 1
    "I'm not sure what the word hail means in this context."- that was the questioner's issue. I see no problem with your answer except you need to define "hail" in your answer, to satisfy the question.
    – J. Taylor
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 2:57
  • Done - I added a definition explicitly.
    – Alan
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 3:02
  • OK. I edited your answer to include a hyperlink to your source. I think we are on the right track. Thanks for your patience.
    – J. Taylor
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 3:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.