\ ˈher How to pronounce hare (audio) \
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

Verb 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 The buggy brown hare’s mask body, ribbed with the tying thread for segmentation, looks like the shuck of a nymph, and the sprig of deer hair seems to suggest the emerging fly’s wings and limbs. Morgan Lyle, Field & Stream, "7 Great Trout Flies You Can Tie Using Wild-Game Fur and Feathers," 31 Jan. 2020 Not the rustling of crickets and hares, not a night sound, but the stride of farmers, ploddish some, quick and silent some. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Larry Heinemann, novelist who explored ghosts of Vietnam, dies at 75," 22 Dec. 2019 Inside the visitor center, Kate and William were shown a slideshow of animals found in the forested park such as leopards, cape hares, porcupines and a lizard. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Every Photo You Need to See from Kate Middleton and Prince William's Tour of Pakistan!," 16 Oct. 2019 Using remote cameras, researchers from the University of Georgia recovered more than 267,000 photos of more than 20 species -- including racoon dogs, wild boars, macaques, pheasants, foxes and Japanese hares in the areas surrounding the power plant. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Wildlife flourishing in uninhabited areas around Fukushima," 7 Jan. 2020 Tortoise hares: RBs Javon Leake and Anthony McFarland have formed a solid tandem for Maryland’s run game, combining to average more than 100 yards and 15 TDs between them on the ground. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football vs. Maryland: Scouting report, prediction," 28 Nov. 2019 During the summer months, researchers found brown hare, red deer, moose, wild boar, red fox, raccoon dogs, Eurasian lynx, and wolves alongside them, as well as a number of birds and bats. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Last Truly Wild Horses Are Alive and Well in Chernobyl," 17 Oct. 2019 The history of artificial intelligence, going back at least to the fifties, has been a kind of tortoise-versus-hare contest between these two approaches to making machines that can think. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "The New Yorker," 25 May 2018 While 55 hares were culled in 2018, no shoots have taken place so far this year. Fox News, "Hares in Ireland being sucked into plane engines near Dublin Airport, reports say," 25 Nov. 2019 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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for hare

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hare

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hare. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for hare


How to pronounce hare (audio)

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)

British, informal : to run or go very quickly


\ ˈher How to pronounce hare (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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