\ˈher \
plural hare or hares

Definition of hare 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: any of various swift, gnawing, herbivorous, usually shy lagomorph mammals (family Leporidae and especially genus Lepus) that have long ears, short tails, and powerful long hind legs, are usually solitary or sometimes live in pairs, have the young open-eyed and furred at birth, and live in aboveground nests — compare rabbit sense 1a


hared; haring

Definition of hare (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to go swiftly : tear entry 1 hare off down the road

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Did You Know?


No doubt you've heard Aesop's fable about the speedy hare and the plodding tortoise. The hare may have lost that race due to a tactical error (stopping to take a nap before reaching the finish line), but the long-eared mammal's overall reputation for swiftness remains intact. It's no surprise, then, that hare is used as a verb meaning "to move quickly." The noun hare (which refers, in its most specific zoological sense, to a member of the genus Lepus, whose young are usually able to hop a few minutes after birth) is a very old word. It first appeared as hara in a Latin-Old English glossary around the year 700. The verb was in use by the end of the 19th century, and people have been "haring off" and "haring about" ever since.

Examples of hare in a Sentence


He came haring round the corner at top speed. she's always haring off to attend to some emergency

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For the moment, Musk the hare had darted ahead: His powerful Falcon 9 rocket had lifted a payload into orbit, whereas Bezos’ smaller New Shephard craft had merely gone up into the edge of space and returned. Walter Isaacson, New York Times, "In This Space Race, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk Are Competing to Take You There," 24 Apr. 2018 Ground crews reportedly found only one hare carcass, leading to speculation that another had been sucked into the engine. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "Aer Lingus flight turns back after possibly sucking hare into engine," 11 May 2018 Currently, the hare is only mismatched by a week or two. Author: Livia Albeck Ripka, Brad Plumer, Anchorage Daily News, "5 plants and animals utterly confused by climate change," 10 Apr. 2018 Among them was an ivory netsuke of a trembling hare with amber-inlaid eyes. Scott Reyburn, New York Times, "Looming Ivory Ban Will Create a Mountain of Unsellable Antiques," 12 Apr. 2018 Worse, humans also hunt the animals — deer, badgers and hares — that wild Amur feed on. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "For the Fourth, bring out the (San Diego Zoo) babies!," 3 July 2018 According to the legend, following a long winter, the goddess of spring, Eastre, turned a frozen bird into a snow hare that could lay colorful eggs. Taysha Murtaugh, Woman's Day, "'Do Bunnies Lay Eggs?' Is an Actual Question People Ask Google," 15 Feb. 2018 Photos: Andrea Morales for The Wall Street Journal(3) Two-engine planes exert more brute force—the hares to the 747’s tortoise. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "Last Rites for a Boeing 747," 6 June 2018 An Aer Lingus flight bound for Spain returned to its origin city of Dublin on Thursday over fears that the aircraft may have struck two hares, or sucked one into the engine, upon takeoff. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "Aer Lingus flight turns back after possibly sucking hare into engine," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Karius looked stricken as the game ticked through its final minutes, as Cristiano Ronaldo hared around, desperately searching for the goal that would allow him his moment in the spotlight. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Real Madrid Beats Liverpool in Champions League Final on a Wonder and Two Blunders," 27 May 2018 Sadio Mane intercepted a stray pass on the edge of his area, before playing a through ball between two defenders to set Mohamed Salah haring down the line. Matias Grez, CNN, "Liverpool stun Manchester City to take commanding lead in Champions League tie," 4 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hare.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hare


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1893, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hare


Middle English, from Old English hara; akin to Old High German haso hare, Sanskrit śaśa, Old English hasu gray


see hare entry 1

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Statistics for hare

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for hare

The first known use of hare was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hare



English Language Learners Definition of hare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a fast animal that resembles a rabbit



English Language Learners Definition of hare (Entry 2 of 2)

: to run or go very quickly


\ˈher \

Kids Definition of hare

: a gnawing animal that resembles the related rabbit but is usually larger and tends to live by itself

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More from Merriam-Webster on hare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hare

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hare

Spanish Central: Translation of hare

Nglish: Translation of hare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hare for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hare

Comments on hare

What made you want to look up hare? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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