\ 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

His newest title has a hoary theme: plundering a pharaoh's tomb for treasure. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "A quick look at the nominees for 2018’s “Board Game of the Year”," 21 July 2018 The old model, showing spring clothes in fall and fall clothes in spring, has started to seem hoary. Matthew Schneier, New York Times, "This Is Alexander Wang’s America," 4 June 2018 Having your wedding list at Mothercare and Justerini & Brooks is an old, hoary, Sloaney joke. A.a. Gill, A-LIST, "Fraught, But It Counts," 4 July 2018 In the run-up to the vote, numerous headlines framed López Obrador's rise in global terms: The hoary specter of the now-deceased Chávez was raised once more. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Not Trump or Chávez, Mexico’s president-elect won’t fit your political analogy," 3 July 2018 In particular, Schultz is obsessed with the hoariest concern of serious Beltway types: the national debt. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Howard Schultz’s Third Way," 6 June 2018 At this time of year his department specifies prevention of flowering and seed-setting of poison hemlock, Canada thistle, whitetop (hoary cress), Scotch thistle and rush skeletonweed. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Know the proper ways to attack all of our plentiful weeds," 1 June 2018 These species include big brown bat, silver-haired bat, eastern red bat, hoary bat, evening bat and eastern myotis. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Lake County bat monitoring program hopes to prevent fungus killing critical mammal," 23 Apr. 2018 Cheatgrass, Canada thistle, hoary cress and emerald ash borer complete the top 5. Phil Drake, USA TODAY, "Feral cats listed among top invasive species in the West," 22 Mar. 2018

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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Time Traveler for hoary

The first known use of hoary was in 1530

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hoary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hoary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hoary

Spanish Central: Translation of hoary

Nglish: Translation of hoary for Spanish Speakers

Comments on hoary

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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