[ hair ]
/ hɛər /
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noun, plural hares, (especially collectively) hare.
any rodentlike mammal of the genus Lepus, of the family Leporidae, having long ears, a divided upper lip, and long hind limbs adapted for leaping.
any of the larger species of this genus, as distinguished from certain of the smaller ones known as rabbits.
any of various similar animals of the same family.
Hare, Astronomy. the constellation Lepus.
the player pursued in the game of hare and hounds.
verb (used without object), hared, har·ing.
Chiefly British. to go, run, or proceed swiftly, suddenly, or impulsively; rush; speed; take off:What if someone came haring around the corner on a moped?The young forward instantly spotted the opportunity and hared in to put the ball into the net.
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Idioms about hare

    hare off, to change course or shift one’s attention suddenly or impulsively; veer off (often followed by after):Adhering to a challenging summer book list will keep me from haring off after every new beach read that catches my eye.

Origin of hare

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English hara; cognate with Danish hare; akin to German Hase “hare,” Old English hasu “gray”


hare·like, adjective


hair, hare
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What’s the difference between hares and rabbits?

Hares and rabbits are both rodentlike mammals in the Leporidae family, but they’re two different species.

They look similar, with long ears and large hind legs that make them great jumpers and fast runners.

One main difference is that hares are bigger than rabbits.

They also appear much differently at birth. Hares are born furry, open-eyed, and ready to run. Rabbits, however, are born without fur and are unable to see at first. To protect their helpless kits or kittens (you can call them bunnies but that’s not a technical term), rabbits dig underground burrows. Hares, on the other hand, build shallow nests in the grass.

So, the bigger it is, the more likely it is to be a hare. If it has a burrow underground, it’s a rabbit.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between hares and rabbits.

Quiz yourself on hare vs. rabbit!

True or False? 

Rabbits burrow underground.

How to use hare in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hare (1 of 3)

/ (hɛə) /

noun plural hares or hare
any solitary leporid mammal of the genus Lepus, such as L. europaeus (European hare). Hares are larger than rabbits, having longer ears and legs, and live in shallow nests (forms)Related adjective: leporine
make a hare of someone Irish informal to defeat someone completely
run with the hare and hunt with the hounds to be on good terms with both sides
(intr; often foll by off, after, etc) British informal to go or run fast or wildly

Derived forms of hare

harelike, adjective

Word Origin for hare

Old English hara; related to Old Norse heri, Old High German haso, Swedish hare, Sanskrit śaśá

British Dictionary definitions for hare (2 of 3)

/ (hɛə) /

Sir David. born 1947, British dramatist and theatre director: his plays include Plenty (1978), Pravda (with Howard Brenton, 1985), The Secret Rapture (1989), Racing Demon (1990), The Permanent Way (2003), and Stuff Happens (2004)
William. 19th century, Irish murderer and bodysnatcher: associate of William Burke

British Dictionary definitions for hare (3 of 3)

/ (hɛə) /

a member of a Dene Native Canadian people of northern Canada

Word Origin for Hare

of Athapascan 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with hare


see mad as a hatter (March hare); run with (the hare).

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