\ 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 As his feud with Fox News has intensified—and as his pathetic attempt to overturn a legitimate election becomes more hare-brained—Donald Trump has drifted further and further into the fringes. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Barack Obama, Media Critic," 17 Nov. 2020 Might be asking a lot for a 324-pound guy to run down Russell Wilson, like an elephant chasing a hare, but this would be a good time for Kinlaw to raise his visibility. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "What’s Pete Carroll chewing? And other burning questions," 1 Nov. 2020 Only one other mammal is known to exhibit this behavior: the European brown hare (Lepus europeaus), which can conceive about four days before delivering a litter. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Swamp Wallabies Can Get Pregnant While Pregnant," 2 Mar. 2020 In her version, the persistent and confident tortoise who quietly outpaces the hare is a female. Alicia Rancilio, Star Tribune, "Natalie Portman releases children's book of inclusive fables," 21 Oct. 2020 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 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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

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