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haw1

[haw] /hɔ/
verb (used without object)
1.
to utter a sound representing a hesitation or pause in speech.
noun
2.
a sound or pause of hesitation.
Compare hem2 (def 3).
Origin of haw1
1625-1635
1625-35; imitative

haw2

[haw] /hɔ/
interjection
1.
(used as a word of command to a horse or other draft animal, usually directing it to turn to the left.)
verb (used with or without object)
2.
to turn or make a turn to the left:
The horse refused to haw.
Compare gee1 .
Origin
1835-45, Americanism; apparently orig. the imperative haw! look! of Middle English hawen, Old English hāwian; akin to Latin cavēre to beware

haw3

[haw] /hɔ/
noun
1.
the fruit of the Old World hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata, or of other species of the same genus.
2.
the hawthorn.
Origin
before 1000; Middle English; Old English haga, presumably identical with haga hedge, fence; cf. hawthorn

haw4

[haw] /hɔ/
noun
1.
the thin, protective membrane at the inner corner of the lower eyelid of a horse, dog, etc.; nictitating membrane.
Origin
1515-1525; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for haws
Historical Examples
  • A great hawthorn bush grows on the bank; in spring, white with May; in autumn, red with haws or peggles.

    Nature Near London Richard Jefferies
  • For their haws they have sometimes been paying him small rents.

    Domesday Book and Beyond Frederic William Maitland
  • The haws of C. cordata, the Washington Thorn, are small, but a brilliant orange.

  • haws' company are now formed with us, making our 50 nearly complete.

    William Clayton's Journal William Clayton
  • Blackbirds will peck open the hips directly the frost comes; the hips go long before the haws.

    Nature Near London Richard Jefferies
  • Further, if Marten hums and haws about the amount, ascertain what sum will satisfy him.

  • Persimmons and papaws were ripe, haws and huckleberries were plentiful.

  • I'm delighted, Charles, if my little hips and haws meet with your approval.

    Swann's Way Marcel Proust
  • If a' your hums and haws were hams and haggises, the parish needna fear a dearth.

    The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop
  • As a child I knew the fruit as haws and was very fond of it.

    On the Trail Lina Beard and Adelia Belle Beard
British Dictionary definitions for haws

haw1

/hɔː/
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
Word Origin
Old English haga, identical with hagahedge; related to Old Norse hagi pasture

haw2

/hɔː/
noun, interjection
1.
an inarticulate utterance, as of hesitation, embarrassment, etc; hem
verb
2.
(intransitive) to make this sound
3.
hem and haw, hum and haw, See hem2 (sense 3)
Word Origin
C17: of imitative origin

haw3

/hɔː/
noun
1.
(archaic) a yard or close
Word Origin
of unknown origin

haw4

/hɔː/
noun
1.
the nictitating membrane of a horse or other domestic animal
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
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Word Origin and History for haws

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.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with haws

haw

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