\ 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

Noun 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 The body was then drained of blood, filled with spices, wrapped in hay, and buried for 15 days. National Geographic, "Europe's morbid 'mummy craze' has been an obsession for centuries," 10 Dec. 2019 The hay is in the barn, and the college football regular season and conference championships are in the books. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Bowl projections for Auburn ahead of final College Football Playoff rankings," 8 Dec. 2019 Some of the hay ends up feeding cows in American dairies. AZCentral.com, "In western Arizona, corporate megafarms turn water into profits, leaving small towns in the dust," 5 Dec. 2019 And the West just wants to hit the hay; their top search is for beds. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "These Are the Most-Searched IKEA Products in the U.S.," 21 Nov. 2019 Behind the hay was an opening in the hedgerow, a path surrounded by grass and kept carefully trampled by Aestas and Ander. cleveland, "Emerald Forest-wind: A story from Write About Now," 19 Nov. 2019 The politician to make the most hay out of Taylor was Ronald Reagan. Bryce Covert, The New Republic, "The Myth of the Welfare Queen," 2 July 2019 Catholics made hay by challenging the Protestant attachment to the text of the Bible. The Economist, "Believe me The narrow path from faith to doubt," 17 Dec. 2019 Grass, hay and straw stuffed into sacks or cloth bags served as a scratchy mattress for centuries. Brian Fagan, Quartzy, "The bizarre 77,000-year history of beds," 4 Oct. 2019 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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Learn More about hay

Time Traveler for hay

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hay

Last Updated

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hay.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hay. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for hay


How to pronounce Hay (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on hay

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experienced by way of someone else

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