\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 other April full moon names all refer to the birth of spring grass sprouting, birds laying eggs, fish being more plentiful, hares breeding and people planting seeds. Briana Rice, Cincinnati.com, "Tonight's super 'Full Pink Moon' will be biggest and brightest supermoon of 2020," 7 Apr. 2020 Alaska wildlife officials recently issued a warning for residents in Fairbanks: Beware of hares. Fox News, "Alaska officials warn hares could spread deadly disease to people, pets," 8 June 2019 The source of the brown hare’s introduction, however, remains unknown. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Hares and Chickens Were Revered as Gods—Not Food—in Ancient Britain," 13 Apr. 2020 With the upcycle of hares there had been an upcycle of raptors — a common occurrence in cyclic prey populations. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Bird dogs and raptors seem to share an ancient connection," 8 Mar. 2020 The Bible has no mention of a mythical hare who delivers eggs to children on the day of Jesus Christ's resurrection — so how exactly did the Easter Bunny become a prominent symbol of one of Christianity's most important holidays? Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "What Are the Easter Bunny's Origins? Here's the Fascinating History of the Easter Bunny," 4 Mar. 2020 As the story goes, the rabbit would lay colorful eggs as gifts to children who were good — so the kids would make nests in which the bunny could leave his eggs, and would even sometimes leave out carrots in case the hare got hungry! Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "What Are the Easter Bunny's Origins? Here's the Fascinating History of the Easter Bunny," 4 Mar. 2020 But the hares have distinct breeding seasons and are not continuously pregnant most or all of their adult lives, as female swamp wallabies are. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "This marsupial is the only animal that's always pregnant," 2 Mar. 2020 The name refers to the wolpertinger, a winged and horned hare in German folklore that resides in the forests of Bavaria. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Horned Hare restaurant by Snack Boys will open in the Dubbel Dutch hotel downtown," 17 Feb. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hare

Time Traveler for hare

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about hare

Statistics for hare

Last Updated

8 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hare. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on hare

What made you want to look up hare? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!