\ 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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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 Then the hare population plummets and predators start to die off. Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Aug. 2021 For too long, governments have been acting like the tortoise while tobacco companies have been moving like the hare. Kelly Henning, CNN, 21 July 2021 Bezos was not in a rush back then; Blue Origin’s mascot is a tortoise, and for years Bezos, who would devote one day of his workweek to Blue Origin, was content to move slowly and let the hare in the industry, Musk, run loose. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 20 July 2021 To assess the Black Series's track prowess, we were dispatched for lap sessions with a professional driver in an AMG GT acting as the guide-slash-hare. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 14 July 2021 There’s also lots of detail about Blaine’s orb, Williams’s hare and all the other treasure hunts, tie-in books and gimmicks. Edward Kosner, WSJ, 13 June 2021 Policy-makers could respond to international competition with a hare-brained scheme that does nothing to improve welfare. Tom Spencer, National Review, 20 Apr. 2021 The tradition spread throughout the U.S., where the hare's gifts eventually became chocolates and candies and the nests were replaced by baskets. Erin Cavoto, Country Living, 16 Feb. 2021 Mainieri says sussing out the answers to these questions will take more research, including further comparisons between swamp wallabies and the European brown hare. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Mar. 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, 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 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


derivative of hare entry 1

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Time Traveler for hare

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

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hare. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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