\ˈhā \

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 \

Definition of Hay (Entry 3 of 4)

John Milton 1838–1905 American statesman


geographical name
\ˈhā \

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

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

Ganzler said the company is bringing in paper straws and experimenting with ones made from hay and bamboo. NBC News, "After Starbucks, which company will next ban plastic straws?," 9 July 2018 Most days, the hay is doled out to the cows Barlow’s brother-in-law tends to. Maria Torres, kansascity, "A potential Royals starter spent his offseason throwing at a bale of hay," 17 Feb. 2018 Water more frequently, and mulch garden beds with straw (not hay) to help hold moisture in the soil. Nan Sterman, latimes.com, "What to do in your garden in July? Less is more," 6 July 2018 Water more frequently, and mulch garden beds with straw (not hay) to help hold moisture in the soil. Nan Sterman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "July in the garden," 5 July 2018 With even the entry-level Dodge Ram 1500 stickering in the neighborhood of $65,000, many of today’s pampered pickups stand little chance of hauling cotton, hay, livestock, or much of anything else likely to scratch them. James C. Cobb, Smithsonian, "The Pickup Truck’s Transformation From Humble Workhorse to Fancy Toy," 3 July 2018 What keeps the scent from becoming cloying is a generous base of hay, which smells like salted butter and sweet grass. New York Times, "This Summer, Smell Like Fruit Salad," 2 July 2018 Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home. Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "SW Idaho cat infected in problem area known for previous plague cases," 26 June 2018 Instead, Seedlip Garden is a spirit of peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary, and thyme, while Seedlip Spice is comprised of allspice, cardamom, oak, lemon, grapefruit, and cascarilla. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Finally: What to Drink When You're Not Drinking," 1 June 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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Phrases Related to hay

a roll in the hay

ain't hay

Statistics for hay

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

: a small amount of money


\ˈhā \

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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Comments on hay

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


not any or not one

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