\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Pop sits on a hay bale with his autoharp, flanked by his kids, including daughters Roni on banjo and Donna on mandolin; the family beagle is at Donna’s feet. Eddie Dean, Washington Post, "Ken Burns’s ‘Country Music’ shines a spotlight on an unsung Washingtonian," 5 Nov. 2019 Dancers from across the country cavort to the sounds of the txirula, while other Basque-Americans show off their skills in farm competitions like milk-can carrying, wagon lifting, and hay bale throwing. Alex Schechter, National Geographic, "Looking for Basque country in Idaho? Just follow the sheep," 4 Nov. 2019 The scarecrows augment the other seasonal decorations -- cornstalks, mums and hay bales -- located throughout the municipal campus at Brecksville Road and Selig Drive. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Seasonal decorations, Halloween fun abound as the big day nears: Sun Postings," 22 Oct. 2019 There is a Spookley the Square Pumpkin scavenger hunt and a hay bale maze. Katie V. Jones, baltimoresun.com, "Catch these autumn events in Howard County from hayrides to haunted teas," 11 Oct. 2019 The farm is selling pumpkins, hay bales and corn stalks, too. Alison Stanton, azcentral, "The best fall festivals around Phoenix in 2019: Oktoberfest, Day of the Dead, art and more," 12 Sep. 2019 Local do-gooders had been dropping off hay bales and apples and Hillary had become a minor tourist attraction, but her continued isolation was deemed to be not in the animal’s best interest. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "Rescue comes at long last for Hillary the donkey," 23 Aug. 2019 Tony Porrovecchio, 57, was walking past the Vineyard Stage, where a crowd gathered, some resting on hay bales, to watch the last performance. The Mercury News, The Denver Post, "Garlic festival shooting leaves at least 3 dead in California," 28 July 2019 There are signs of a blooming economy—the highly mechanized pecan-farming operation, the new dog-food factory, the row of eco-friendly houses built with plastered hay bales. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hay

Statistics for hay

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for hay

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!