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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
First recorded in 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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hoary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One hoary tower only is seen, half hidden by the folds of a valley.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • My stockings all want to see my mother, and my hat is hoary with age.'

  • He listened with eager docility to the voice of hoary wisdom.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • I will listen with coolness to the voice of native sagacity and hoary experience.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • On the contrary, I look upon you as a swaggering bully and a hoary villain.

    The Frozen Pirate W. Clark Russell
  • One cannot demand from a captain of twenty-five the austerity of a hoary philosopher.

    King Candaules Thophile Gautier
  • And immediately she rose up from the hoary deep, like a mist.

  • Loose his beard; his hoary hairStreamed like a meteor to the troubled air.

    Bertha and Her Baptism Nehemiah Adams
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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