Did You Know?
Medieval French used the word herce for a harrow, a farm tool used to break up and smooth the soil. Herce was also applied to a triangular frame that was used for holding candles. Herce was borrowed into Middle English as herse. In those days, a large and decorative framework might be raised over the tomb or coffin of an honored person. Because this framework was often decorated with candles, the word herse was applied to it. A series of slightly changed meanings led to the use of herse (Modern English hearse) for a platform for a corpse or coffin, and from that to a vehicle to carry the dead. The verb hearse emerged late in the 16th century.
Origin and Etymology of hearse
Middle English herse, from Anglo-French herce harrow, frame for holding candles, from Latin hirpic-, hirpex harrow
First Known Use: 14th century
Definition of hearse
1 a archaic : to place on or in a hearse b : to convey in a hearse
2 : bury
Examples of hearse in a sentence
<the cemetery hearses an average of eight bodies a week>
First Known Use of hearse
HEARSE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of hearse for English Language Learners
: a large car that is used for carrying a coffin to a grave
HEARSE Defined for Kids
Definition of hearse for Students
: a vehicle for carrying a dead person to the grave
Seen and Heard
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