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  1. a person who or thing that harries.
  2. any of several short-winged hawks of the genus Circus that hunt over meadows and marshes and prey on reptiles and small birds and mammals.
  3. (initial capital letter) Military. a one- or two-seat British-American fighter, both an attack and a reconnaissance aircraft, featuring a turbofan engine with a directable thrust that enables it to land and take off vertically.

Origin of harrier1

First recorded in 1550–60; harry + -er1


  1. one of a breed of medium-sized hounds, used, usually in packs, in hunting.
  2. a cross-country runner.

Origin of harrier2

1535–45; special use of harrier1, by association with hare
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for harrier


  1. a person or thing that harries
  2. any diurnal bird of prey of the genus Circus, having broad wings and long legs and tail and typically preying on small terrestrial animals: family Accipitridae (hawks, etc)See also marsh harrier, Montagu's harrier


  1. a smallish breed of hound used originally for hare-hunting
  2. a cross-country runner

Word Origin

C16: from hare + -er 1; influenced by harrier 1


  1. a British subsonic multipurpose military jet plane capable of vertical takeoff and landing by means of vectoring the engine thrust
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 harrier


1540s, from Middle English hayrer "small hunting dog" (c.1400), possibly from Middle French errier "wanderer" [Barnhart], or associated with hare, which they would have hunted. The hawk genus (1550s) is from harry (v.), which also is a candidate for the source of the dog name.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper