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haw1

[haw]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a sound representing a hesitation or pause in speech.
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noun
  1. a sound or pause of hesitation.Compare hem2(def 3).
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Origin of haw1

First recorded in 1625–35; imitative

haw2

[haw]
interjection
  1. (used as a word of command to a horse or other draft animal, usually directing it to turn to the left.)
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to turn or make a turn to the left: The horse refused to haw.
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Compare gee1.

Origin of haw2

1835–45, Americanism; apparently orig. the imperative haw! look! of Middle English hawen, Old English hāwian; akin to Latin cavēre to beware

haw3

[haw]
noun
  1. the fruit of the Old World hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata, or of other species of the same genus.
  2. the hawthorn.
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Origin of haw3

before 1000; Middle English; Old English haga, presumably identical with haga hedge, fence; cf. hawthorn

haw4

[haw]
noun
  1. the thin, protective membrane at the inner corner of the lower eyelid of a horse, dog, etc.; nictitating membrane.
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Origin of haw4

First recorded in 1515–1525; origin uncertain

Haw.

  1. Hawaii.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for haw

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Why do these—these people at the fort hem and haw and hesitate when they speak about him?

    Warrior Gap

    Charles King

  • If you want any more you may sing it yourself; he, haw, hum!

  • Her back stood up, and her bones they were bare; he, haw, hum!

  • He rested the better for it during the early part of that night in a haw thicket.

  • I entreated him not to be so severe upon me; and again he said, "Haw haw!"

    The Christmas Books

    William Makepeace Thackeray


British Dictionary definitions for haw

haw1

noun
  1. the round or oval fruit (a pome) of the hawthorn, usually red or yellow, containing one to five seeds
  2. another name for hawthorn
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Word Origin

Old English haga, identical with haga hedge; related to Old Norse hagi pasture

haw2

noun, interjection
  1. an inarticulate utterance, as of hesitation, embarrassment, etc; hem
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verb
  1. (intr) to make this sound
  2. hem and haw or hum and haw See hem 2 (def. 3)
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Word Origin

C17: of imitative origin

haw3

noun
  1. archaic a yard or close
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Word Origin

of unknown origin

haw4

noun
  1. the nictitating membrane of a horse or other domestic animal
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Word Origin

C15: of unknown origin
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 haw

n.

"enclosure," Old English haga "enclosure, hedge," from Proto-Germanic *hag- (cf. Old Norse hagi, Old Saxon hago, German Hag "hedge;" Middle Dutch hage, Dutch haag, as in the city name The Hague). See hag and hedge. Meaning "fruit of the hawthorn bush" (Old English) is perhaps short for *hægberie.

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v.

"hesitate in speech," 1580s, imitative. Related: Hawed; hawing. The noun in this sense is from c.1600. Haw-haw "style of affected enunciation" is from 1841, imitative.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with haw

haw

see hem and haw.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.