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.

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
But for rabbits and hares, large females were the norm. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Mar. 2024 Archaeologists later interpreted the rituals to have religious meaning, with hares representing rebirth. Grace Tucker, The Enquirer, 20 Mar. 2024 There are photos of brown hares and foxes, synonymous with the British countryside, but also fluorescent firework anemones and an Arctic walrus. Nell Lewis, CNN, 14 Mar. 2024 Long before the German custom, however, hares carried religious significance. Grace Tucker, The Enquirer, 20 Mar. 2024 However, since ancient times, the hare has been said to represent rebirth, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Joyce Orlando, Detroit Free Press, 1 Mar. 2024 For 15 years, Andrew Parkinson has been photographing the hares here. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 To this day, hares — and particularly snowshoe hares — are prevalent in Wyoming and neighboring areas. Julia Daye, Sacramento Bee, 13 Feb. 2024 German Lutherans used an Easter hare for the Easter season, similar to Santa Claus' role during Christmas. Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 19 Jan. 2024
Why hare off to nurse in the Spanish-American War? Denise Davidson Writer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Feb. 2021 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hare.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 24 May. 2024.

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

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