1 of 2


plural hare or hares
: 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


2 of 2


hared; haring

intransitive verb

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

Did you know?

You're most likely familiar with 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.

Example Sentences

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
In the game, Joel and Ellie encounter Bill, an eccentric who has taken control of a town and littered it with hare-brained traps. Will Bedingfield, WIRED, 12 Jan. 2023 The Best Ideas for Kids Take their egg-hunting game to the next level with a series of hare-scratching clues. Marisa Iallonardo, Good Housekeeping, 28 Dec. 2022 Previously, a dung beetle and some hare remains had been the only signs of animal life at the site, Willerslev said. Maddie Burakoff, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Dec. 2022 The Arctic hare is without a doubt one of the most adorable cold-weather animals around. Monica Cull, Discover Magazine, 9 Dec. 2021 Today, the Kap København deposit is replete with petrified stumps and other remnants of an ancient boreal forest, but just one vertebrate fossil has ever been uncovered there: a hare’s tooth. Byrichard Stone, science.org, 7 Dec. 2022 But be warned: Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox are in hot pursuit of this wayward hare. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 2 Dec. 2022 During the race, the hare falls asleep in a stint of overconfidence while the tortoise keeps going and wins. Mythili Devarakonda, USA TODAY, 21 Nov. 2022 Think tortoise and hare fable: slow and steady wins the race. Henry Devries, Forbes, 18 Aug. 2022
Porter and Slotkin were both elected in 2018, and both hare strong fundraisers. Bridget Bowman, NBC News, 11 Jan. 2023 Crafting an opinion that nine individuals can all agree on is also likely to result in a judicial consistency that won’t shift with changing political tides, or hare off too far and fast in a particular direction. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 May 2022 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, 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, 4 Apr. 2018 See More

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.

Word History



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


derivative of hare entry 1

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1893, in the meaning defined above

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


Cite this Entry

“Hare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hare. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural hare or hares
: any of various swift animals that are like the related rabbits but usually have longer ears and hind legs and have young born with open eyes and a furry coat

More from Merriam-Webster on hare

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