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Hal is a short form of the forename Henry. There are two main types of such shortenings: they are convenient for writing, e.g. in lists; or they are essentially spoken pet-names, and thus informal. (See Conventional abbreviations for forenames.)

Short form Long form Informal or written Other short forms Remarks
Hal Henry informal Harry In American English, Hal is also a clipping of Harold

There is a list of similar names at Conventional abbreviations for forenames, as well as the category:short names

Note that any informal form may be spelled in different ways. Notably, any spelling listed that ends in '-ie' may be written with the ending '-y', and vice versa.
  • Bluff King Hal is a nickname for Henry VIII.
  • Prince Hal is the nickname given in Shakespeare's Henry IV, parts 1 and 2 and Henry V to the Prince of Wales who would succeed to the throne as Henry V
  • HAL was the name given to a computer in the film 2001: a Space Odyssey and its sequels. It is an acronym for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer: the human name that results is part of the attempt, as the spaceship is designed, to make the machine more sympathetic to the humans who have to interact with it - and the audience.