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[hair-ee] /ˈhɛər i/
adjective, hairier, hairiest.
covered with hair; having much hair.
consisting of or resembling hair:
moss of a hairy texture.
  1. causing anxiety or fright:
    a hairy trip through the rapids.
  2. full of hardship or difficulty:
    a hairy exam; a hairy illness.
Origin of hairy
First recorded in 1250-1300, hairy is from the Middle English word heeri. See hair, -y1
Related forms
hairiness, noun
unhairiness, noun
unhairy, adjective
1. furry, woolly, shaggy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hairier
Historical Examples
  • But it was larger and hairier than the glass one he had seen at the gift store.

    The Perfectionists Arnold Castle
  • Even the hands of the sprawled form seemed larger and hairier than the hands of her husband.

    The Calm Man Frank Belknap Long
  • He looks like an intoxicated pterodactyl,” said Mr. Lonergan, who had some knowledge of prehistoric animals,—“only hairier.

British Dictionary definitions for hairier


adjective hairier, hairiest
having or covered with hair
  1. difficult or problematic
  2. scaring, dangerous, or exciting
Derived Forms
hairiness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for hairier



early 14c., from hair + -y (2). From 1848 in slang sense of "difficult." Farmer calls this "Oxford slang." Perhaps from the notion of "rugged, rough." Related: Hairiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hairier in Medicine

hairy hair·y (hâr'ē)
adj. hair·i·er, hair·i·est

  1. Covered with hair or hairlike projections.

  2. Consisting of or resembling hair.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for hairier



  1. Old; hoary: a hairy tale (1940s+)
  2. Difficult; rough; tough: We had a hairy time getting it all organized (1848+)
  3. Frighteningly dangerous; hair-raising; scary: Campus guards would comb the dorm ''It was hairy''/ the hairy strip of 42d Street (1940s+ Teenagers)

[last sense probably fr the hairy monsters of horror films, but the sense of ''difficult'' was used at 19th-century Oxford, and that of ''dangerous'' in the British armed forces of the 1930s]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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