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Yours, Etc.: Origins and Uses of 8 Sign-Offs

he1

[hee; unstressed ee] /hi; unstressed i/
pronoun, nominative he, possessive his, objective him; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
1.
the male person or animal being discussed or last mentioned; that male.
2.
anyone (without reference to sex); that person:
He who hesitates is lost.
noun, plural hes.
3.
any male person or animal; a man:
hes and shes.
adjective
4.
male (usually used in combination):
a he-goat.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English, Old English (masculine nominative singular); cognate with Dutch hij, Old Saxon hē, Old High German her he; see his, him, she, her, it1
Usage note
Traditionally, the masculine singular pronouns he1, his, and him have been used generically to refer to indefinite pronouns like anyone, everyone, and someone (Everyone who agrees should raise his right hand) and to singular nouns that can be applied to either sex (painter, parent, person, teacher, writer, etc.): Every writer knows that his first book is not likely to be a bestseller. This generic use is often criticized as sexist, although many speakers and writers continue the practice.
Those who object to the generic use of he have developed various ways of avoiding it. One is to use he/she or she/he (or he or she or she or he) or the appropriate case forms of these pairs: Everyone who agrees should raise his or her (or her or his or his/her or her/his) right hand. Forms blending the feminine and masculine pronouns, as s/he, have not been widely adopted, probably because of confusion over how to say them.
Another solution is to change the antecedent pronoun or noun from singular to plural so that the plural pronouns they, their, and them can be used: All who agree should raise their right hands. All writers know that their first books are not likely to be bestsellers. See also they.

he2

[hey] /heɪ/
noun
1.
the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
2.
any of the sounds represented by this letter.
Also, heh.
Origin
< Hebrew hēʾ

HE

1.
high explosive.
Also, H.E.

He

Symbol, Chemistry
1.

H.E.

1.
high explosive.
Also, HE.
2.
His Eminence.
3.
His Excellency; Her Excellency.

he's

[heez; unstressed eez] /hiz; unstressed iz/
1.
contraction of he is.
2.
contraction of he has.
Usage note
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for he
  • Do not be misled by the personality of the holy spirit and the reference to it as he.
British Dictionary definitions for he

he1

/hiː; unstressed /
pronoun (subjective)
1.
refers to a male person or animal: he looks interesting, he's a fine stallion
2.
refers to an indefinite antecedent such as one, whoever, or anybody: everybody can do as he likes in this country
3.
refers to a person or animal of unknown or unspecified sex: a member of the party may vote as he sees fit
noun
4.
  1. a male person or animal
  2. (in combination): he-goat
5.
  1. a children's game in which one player chases the others in an attempt to touch one of them, who then becomes the chaser Compare tag2
  2. the person chasing Compare it1 (sense 7)
Word Origin
Old English hē; related to Old Saxon hie, Old High German her he, Old Slavonic this, Latin cis on this side

he2

/heɪ; Hebrew he/
noun
1.
the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet (ה), transliterated as h

he3

/hiː; heɪ/
interjection
1.
an expression of amusement or derision Also he-he!, hee-hee!

He

Chemical symbol
1.
helium

HE

abbreviation
1.
high explosive
2.
His Eminence
3.
His (or Her) Excellency

he's

/hiːz/
contraction
1.
he is or he has
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for he
pron.

Old English he (see paradigm of Old English third person pronoun below), from Proto-Germanic *hi- (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch he, hi, Dutch hy, Old High German he), from PIE *ki-, variant of *ko-, the "this, here" (as opposed to "that, there") root (cf. Hittite ki "this," Greek ekeinos "that person," Old Church Slavonic si, Lithuanian šis "this"), and thus the source of the third person pronouns in Old English. The feminine, hio, was replaced in early Middle English by forms from other stems (see she), while the h- wore off Old English neuter hit to make modern it. The Proto-Germanic root also is the source of the first element in German heute "today," literally "the day" (cf. Old English heodæg).

case SINGULAR - - PLURAL
- masc. neut. fem. (all genders)
nom. he hit heo, hio hie, hi
acc. hine hit hie, hi hie, hi
gen. his his hire hira, heora
dat. him him hire him, heom

Pleonastic use with the noun ("Mistah Kurtz, he dead") is attested from late Old English. With animal words, meaning "male" (he-goat, etc.) from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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he in Medicine

He
The symbol for the element helium.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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he in Science
He  
The symbol for helium.
helium
  (hē'lē-əm)   
Symbol He
A very lightweight, colorless, odorless element in the noble gas group. Helium occurs in natural gas, in radioactive ores, and in small amounts in the atmosphere. It has the lowest boiling point of any substance and is the second most abundant element in the universe. Helium is used to provide lift for balloons and blimps and to create artificial air that will not react chemically. Atomic number 2; atomic weight 4.0026; boiling point -268.9°C; density at 0°C 0.1785 gram per liter. See Periodic Table.

Our Living Language  : The second most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen, Helium (symbol He) is a colorless, odorless, nonmetallic gas that is produced abundantly by the nuclear fusion in all stars and is found in smaller amounts on Earth. It was discovered by the British scientist—and founding editor of the journal Nature—Joseph Norman Lockyer in 1868, while he was studying a solar eclipse with a spectroscope, an instrument that breaks light up into a spectrum. If an element is heated up enough to glow, the emitted light produces a unique spectrum when refracted through a prism. Lockyer noticed that the spectrum of the Sun's corona, which is visible only during a solar eclipse, contained lines produced by an unknown element. He named the element helium from helios, the Greek word for "sun." Helios gives us many other words pertaining to the Sun, such as heliocentric and perihelion.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Related Abbreviations for he

he

Hebrew

He

helium

HE

  1. Her (or His) Excellency
  2. high explosive
  3. His (or Her) Eminence
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for he

type of ancient Chinese bronze vessel that was used to heat liquids and to serve wine.

Learn more about he with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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5
4
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