\ 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 Add a small frog, an adorable bunny, a possible step-brother and a magical hare and things get overloaded. Mark Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Review: Charming 'Over the Moon' gets lost in lunar orbit," 20 Oct. 2020 The best forecasters combined the good qualities of both the tortoise and the hare. Pavel Atanasov, Scientific American, "How the Best Forecasters Predict Events Such as Election Outcomes," 20 Oct. 2020 So there were no wild-hare procedural moves, no mass boycott of the hearings — no red meat for progressives, but also no reason for moderates and independents to look side-eyes at the party. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Willie Brown: California politics may soon look like San Francisco’s. That’s not good," 17 Oct. 2020 With no grown-up available, Little Nutbrown Hare hops off alone and meets a white snow hare named Tipps. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: A Sequel to ‘Guess How Much I Love You’," 25 Sep. 2020 Hares, meanwhile, were tied to an unknown hare goddess. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Hares and Chickens Were Revered as Gods—Not Food—in Ancient Britain," 13 Apr. 2020 The hare is currently near the peak of its multi-year boom-and-bust cycle, so the normally human-avoidant Arctic cats have been spotted lately in neighborhoods of Alaska’s biggest city, Anchorage, writes Jenna Schnuer for Nat Geo. National Geographic, "Will koalas and kangaroos bounce back?," 23 July 2020 Sirius appears in the constellation canis major, which, according to popular lore, is a dog chasing a hare across the sky. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Sniff out some new activities during the dog days of summer: Valley Views," 13 July 2020 In November, Xinhuanet reported a diagnosis of bubonic plague in an Inner Mongolia resident who hunted and ate a hare. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, "China Issues an Alert About Bubonic Plague—Here's What You Need to Know About This Deadly Disease," 6 July 2020 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

29 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hare. Accessed 30 Oct. 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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