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[hawr-ee, hohr-ee] /ˈhɔr i, ˈhoʊr i/
adjective, hoarier, hoariest.
gray or white with age:
an old dog with a hoary muzzle.
ancient or venerable:
hoary myths.
tedious from familiarity; stale:
Please don't tell that hoary joke at dinner again tonight.
Origin of hoary
1520-30; hoar + -y1
Related forms
hoarily, adverb
hoariness, noun
unhoary, adjective
1. grizzled, grizzly; hoar. 2. old, dated, aged; venerated, revered. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for hoary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was no one in sight, and no animals, except one hoary old mule, grazing at the bottom.

  • There will be children there, but the hoary head is the crown.

  • An atmosphere of peace and of hoary age broods over these tombs and the humble graves that crowd close about them.

    The Near East Robert Hichens
  • Shall I allow myself to be bound for life by the speaking of a hoary imam?

  • Misery Sits near an open grave, and calls them over, A youth with hoary hair and haggard eye.'

    Adonais Shelley
  • On board were men with hoary hair and women with fearless eyes, 109 in all.

    Something Else Again Franklin P. Adams
  • I will listen with coolness to the voice of native sagacity and hoary experience.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • In a corner of the floor sat a hoary little carronade, carriage and all.

    The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
British Dictionary definitions for hoary


adjective hoarier, hoariest
having grey or white hair
white or whitish-grey in colour
ancient or venerable
Derived Forms
hoarily, adverb
hoariness, 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 hoary

1510s, "gray or white with age" (of hair); c.1600 as "venerable, ancient;" from hoar + -y (2). Related: Hoariness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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