hirsute

adjective

hir·​sute ˈhər-ˌsüt How to pronounce hirsute (audio)
ˈhir-;
ˌhər-ˈsüt,
hir- How to pronounce hirsute (audio)
1
: hairy sense 1
his hirsute chest
2
: covered with coarse stiff hairs
a hirsute leaf
hirsuteness noun

Did you know?

If you’ve seen even one horror movie featuring a werewolf, you likely can recall the classic transformation scene of such films: tufts of hair sprouting from under cuffs and collars, some unfortunate soul’s head suddenly covered by a shaggy, full-face beard. It’s enough to make the hair stand up on the back of your own neck! Werewolves are common hirsute horror antagonists, which is fitting (unlike a werewolf’s clothes) since hirsute and horror share etymological roots. Hirsute entered English in the early 17th century with nearly the same spelling and exactly the same meaning as its Latin parent, hirsutus. Hirsutus, in turn, is a cousin of the Latin verb horrēre, meaning “to bristle.” Horrēre gave rise to the Latin word horrōr-, horror, which has the various meanings of “standing stiffly,” “bristling,” “shivering,” “dread,” and “consternation,” and is the source, via Anglo-French, of our word horror. And if you need a fancy word for the goose bumps you experience watching Lon Chaney in his hirsute suit, may we suggest another hirsute relation, horripilation; its Latin source, the verb horripilāre, means “to shudder,” and was formed from horrēre and pilus (“hair”).

Examples of hirsute in a Sentence

wore a hirsute mask as part of his werewolf costume
Recent Examples on the Web Mandy Patinkin is at last fulfilling his hirsute destiny and entering the legion of world's greatest detectives as Rufus Cotesworth in Hulu's Death and Other Details — and EW has your exclusive first look. EW.com, 9 Nov. 2023 Cameron Hardin, an affable, hirsute Eastman, Georgia stay-at-home dad, has been placed as a pawn two weeks in a row. Rodney Ho, ajc, 27 Aug. 2023 This macabre gender bias, researchers say in a new study, serves as a window into the behavioral patterns of these hirsute beasts that died out roughly 10,000 years ago. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 2 Nov. 2017 Del Toro has the hirsute wildness of Michel Simon. BostonGlobe.com, 21 Oct. 2021 Females are more likely to select the most hirsute male bustards as mates, possibly because their more advanced age signifies greater experience. Sarah Stanley, Discover Magazine, 10 Feb. 2011 But while the sloths provide a hirsute home, the algae also need nutrients in order to survive. Darren Incorvaia, Discover Magazine, 12 Apr. 2022 In all likelihood our common ancestor with bonobos and chimpanzees were predominantly hirsute, as are most mammals. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 9 Sep. 2010 The hirsute Eurovision contestant leads the midweek chart with There’s Nothing But Space, Man! Lars Brandle, Billboard, 12 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hirsute.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin hirsutus; akin to Latin horrēre to bristle — more at horror

First Known Use

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hirsute was in 1621

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Dictionary Entries Near hirsute

Cite this Entry

“Hirsute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hirsute. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

hirsute

adjective
1
2
: covered with coarse stiff hairs
a hirsute leaf

Medical Definition

hirsute

adjective
hir·​sute ˈhər-ˌsüt How to pronounce hirsute (audio) ˈhi(ə)r- How to pronounce hirsute (audio)
ˌhər-ˈ,
hi(ə)r-ˈ
: very hairy
hirsuteness noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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