\ 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 Colbert asked: People who want to make hay in Washington are going to try to use your adult son as a cudgel against you. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "There’s Nothing Unfair about Investigating the Bidens’ Shady Dealings," 20 Dec. 2020 The commander there, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, worried the Taliban would make propaganda hay of the futuristic weapon by claiming the U.S. was microwaving Afghans and giving them cancer, according to Wired. Tim Elfrink, Washington Post, "Safety and ethics worries sidelined a ‘heat ray’ for years. The feds asked about using it on protesters.," 17 Sep. 2020 Next to the fields, hay bales were neatly stacked in piles, ready to be loaded onto trucks. Ian James, The Arizona Republic, "Colorado River tribes seek approval from Congress to put water on the market in Arizona," 24 Dec. 2020 Outside of the main community center at Fairhaven sit two hay bales painted to resemble Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and his female counterpart, Clarice. Megan Woodward, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Fairhaven resident paints hay bales to bring holiday cheer to isolated individuals in Sykesville community," 23 Dec. 2020 In his new home, Zuluaga tucks white sweet potatoes in a pan of hay before pureeing them for a haunting cheese soup, its surface an orange web of achiote oil. Washington Post, "Remember Blend 111? Forget its debut and feast on its much-improved second act.," 24 Dec. 2020 In the photo, the royal kids, now ages seven, five, and two, respectively, sit alongside their parents on a block of hay. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Prince William and Kate Middleton's Family Christmas Card Is Here," 16 Dec. 2020 Grateful for bales of hay, both blocky like Legos and round like sushi. Shawn Hubler, New York Times, "Verses vs. Virus: What These Poets Laureate Are Thankful For," 26 Nov. 2020 Rigdon Farms dates back to the 1700s; the owners have loyal customers who come out to pick their own blueberries in the summer, or to buy a bale of hay for feed. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Local food revolution: Amid pandemic, cooped-up customers flock to Maryland farms, CSA programs," 3 Nov. 2020 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

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hay. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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