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  1. grass seed, especially that shaken out of hay.
  2. small bits of the chaff, straw, etc., of hay.
  3. an unsophisticated person from a rural area; yokel; hick.

Origin of hayseed

First recorded in 1570–80; hay + seed
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hayseed

Historical Examples

  • “Damned if I will––hayseed,” he retorted with a meaning pause and accent.

    A Breath of Prairie and other stories

    Will Lillibridge

  • I allow you to—er—ornament my tree, and 'tain't every hayseed I'd let do that.'

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • An' no jollyin' nor green money would change that hayseed's mind.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • He lives on hayseed,—everywhere he's found, But in the country he does most abound.

    A Phenomenal Fauna

    Carolyn Wells

  • Only a word now an' then about a farmer—an' somethin' about hayseed.

    The Panchronicon

    Harold Steele Mackaye

British Dictionary definitions for hayseed


  1. seeds or fragments of grass or straw
  2. US and Canadian informal, derogatory a yokel
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 hayseed


1570s in the literal sense of "grass seed shaken out of hay," from hay + seed (n.). In U.S. slang sense of "comical rustic" it dates from 1875. To have hayseed in (one's) hair was a common mid-19c. way in U.S. to indicate a country person.

The opinion of the court was delivered by Justice Hunt; the chief justice, in whose hair the Ohio hayseed still lingers, delivering a dissenting opinion (etc.) ["The Chronicle," New York, Nov. 12, 1874]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper