\ ˈhā How to pronounce hay (audio) \

Definition of hay

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : herbage and especially grass mowed and cured for fodder
2 : reward
3 slang : bed
4 : a small sum of money a saving of … $14 million is not hay— H. C. Schonberg


hayed; haying; hays

Definition of hay (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to cut, cure, and store hay

transitive verb

: to feed with hay


biographical name
\ ˈhā How to pronounce Hay (audio) \

Definition of Hay (Entry 3 of 4)

John Milton 1838–1905 American statesman


geographical name
\ ˈhā How to pronounce Hay (audio) \

Definition of Hay (Entry 4 of 4)

river 530 miles (853 kilometers) long in northern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories, Canada, flowing northeast into Great Slave Lake

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Examples of hay in a Sentence


their credit card debt isn't hay—it'll take years to pay it off dragging myself out of the hay on such a cold, dreary morning seemed like an act of sheer masochism

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Luckily there's also a few furs spread around to make a roll in the hay a little more comfortable. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 8," 24 Dec. 2018 The question now is whether anyone other than the three front-runners can make political hay out of a good showing Tuesday. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Gavin Newsom catches it from all sides in California gubernatorial debate," 8 May 2018 These initial matches first consisted of players trying to stack as many bales of hay as possible. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "There's Real Money in Virtual Farming," 23 Jan. 2019 Big Morongo Feed and Tack in Morongo Valley has always specialized in alfalfa hay pellets, chicken feed and exotic hens, but is carving out a new niche business by offering 20-foot shipping containers for $2,900, including delivery. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "Joshua Tree was once a sleepy high desert community. Now it's a vacation rental destination," 4 June 2018 Today the area is renowned for its grasses, as the alfalfa hay grown by farmers in the region is considered some of the finest in the world, and is highly sought on the international market. Herald And News, OregonLive.com, "Columbian Mammoth tracks found at Fossil Lake," 5 Mar. 2018 One of seven ranches Mr. Crosby operated in the area, the property spans about 3,000 acres and includes a working cattle ranch, a private airstrip and airplane hangar and various structures for ranch operations and hay barns. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "Remote Nevada Ranch, Once Bing Crosby’s Hideaway, Goes Up for Sale," 14 Feb. 2019 An alpine hay and flower wrap followed by an ayurvedic massage will bring you a new level of serenity. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "This Austrian Spa and Ski Town Is Straight Out of a Wes Anderson Film," 11 Jan. 2019 Jughead is the one who figures all of this out, because Archie is too busy living his best farm boy life to care, just shirtlessly slinging bales of hay and making bedroom eyes at Laurie. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Betty's In Serious Trouble on This Week's Riverdale," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The fields are still hayed and a small herd of cattle often draws visits from people driving along a busy Route 151. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Preserving An East Haddam Farm With A Lifetime Full Of Memories," 18 Aug. 2017 Seybolt used the Belgians to hay, spread manure and log. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Reva Seybolt: A Quiet Force Of Nature," 3 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hay.' 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 hay


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1535, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for hay


Middle English hey, from Old English hīeg; akin to Old High German hewi hay, Old English hēawan to hew

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Statistics for hay

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Time Traveler for hay

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

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More Definitions for hay



English Language Learners Definition of hay

: grass that has been cut and dried to be used as food for animals
US, informal : a small amount of money


\ ˈhā How to pronounce hay (audio) \

Kids Definition of hay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any of various herbs (as grasses) cut and dried for use as food for animals bales of hay


hayed; haying

Kids Definition of hay (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cut plants for hay

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More from Merriam-Webster on hay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hay

Spanish Central: Translation of hay

Nglish: Translation of hay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hay for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hay

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