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  1. having a gaunt, wasted, or exhausted appearance, as from prolonged suffering, exertion, or anxiety; worn: the haggard faces of the tired troops.
  2. wild; wild-looking: haggard eyes.
  3. Falconry. (especially of a hawk caught after it has attained adult plumage) untamed.
  1. Falconry. a wild or untamed hawk caught after it has assumed adult plumage.

Origin of haggard

1560–70; orig., wild female hawk. See hag1, -ard
Related formshag·gard·ly, adverbhag·gard·ness, noun


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1. emaciated, drawn, hollow-eyed.


1. robust.


  1. (Sir) H(enry) Rider,1856–1925, English novelist.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for haggard


  1. careworn or gaunt, as from lack of sleep, anxiety, or starvation
  2. wild or unruly
  3. (of a hawk) having reached maturity in the wild before being caught
  1. falconry a hawk that has reached maturity before being caughtCompare eyas, passage hawk
Derived Formshaggardly, adverbhaggardness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Old French hagard wild; perhaps related to hedge


  1. (in Ireland and the Isle of Man) an enclosure beside a farmhouse in which crops are stored

Word Origin

C16: related to Old Norse heygarthr, from hey hay + garthr yard


  1. Sir (Henry) Rider . 1856–1925, British author of romantic adventure stories, including King Solomon's Mines (1885)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for haggard


1560s, "wild, unruly" (originally in reference to hawks), from Middle French haggard, probably from Old French faulcon hagard "wild falcon," literally "falcon of the woods," from Middle High German hag "hedge, copse, wood," from Proto-Germanic *hagon-, from PIE root *kagh- "to catch, seize;" also "wickerwork, fence" (see hedge). OED, however, finds this whole derivation "very doubtful." Sense perhaps reinforced by Low German hager "gaunt, haggard." Sense of "with a haunted expression" first recorded 1690s, that of "careworn" first recorded 1853. Sense influenced by association with hag. Related: Haggardly; haggardness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper