\ ˈhȯr-ē How to pronounce hoary (audio) \
hoarier; hoariest

Definition of hoary

1 : gray or white with or as if with age bowed his hoary head
2 : extremely old : ancient hoary legends

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Other Words from hoary

hoariness noun

Did you know?

How to save the old that's worth saving ... is one of our greatest problems. British novelist John Galsworthy knew the value of preserving the past - and he would likely have counted "hoary" among those old things worth saving. The word is old indeed; it traces to an Old English adjective that appeared in Beowulf. That "hoary" ancestor evolved into "hoar," a synonym of "ancient" that has been part of our language since before the 12th century. "Hoary" developed from "hoar" more than 475 years ago, and since then it has been used for anything that is old or that has the whitened look of age (from the hoary bat to the hoary willow). Venerable "hoar" also remains as a synonym of "hoary" and as a component of compounds such as "hoarfrost."

Examples of hoary in a Sentence

a hoary tale of revenge He bowed his hoary head. a man hoary with age
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Recent Examples on the Web Most bat deaths occur during fall migrations, and they are concentrated among three species: eastern red bats, silver-haired bats, and hoary bats. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 21 July 2021 This is the hoary divide that has split the industry for generations; the PC zealots and the console pragmatists. Luke Winkie, Vulture, 16 July 2021 Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, displaying her trademark diplomacy, issued a statement mocking the Bears’ on-field woes and dismissing the bid as a hoary negotiating tactic that’s being employed as the team presses for improvements at Soldier Field. John Keilman, chicagotribune.com, 19 June 2021 Schulz may have just been trying to update a hoary vaudeville convention to a postwar era of psychological humor. BostonGlobe.com, 3 June 2021 One of the best things about this show is, a lot of people are aware of my hoary old tricks, but a lot of audiences will be new to Esther. Clark Collis, EW.com, 18 May 2021 This minor league team was as much a part of Rhode Island as quahogs, or Del’s Lemonade, or hoary stories of having once bumped into so-and-so the mobster at such-and-such a joint. New York Times, 12 May 2021 Even the hoary old 2020 Nissan Frontier had keyless start. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 29 Apr. 2021 The good news is that this could trigger a legal challenge to hoary Supreme Court precedents. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 21 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hoary.' 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 hoary

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries Near hoary



hoary alder

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Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hoary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hoary. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for hoary



English Language Learners Definition of hoary

: very old
: not interesting, funny, etc., because of being used too often : not fresh or original
literary : having gray or white hair


\ ˈhȯr-ē How to pronounce hoary (audio) \
hoarier; hoariest

Kids Definition of hoary

1 : very old a hoary tale
2 : having gray or white hair a hoary head

More from Merriam-Webster on hoary

Nglish: Translation of hoary for Spanish Speakers


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