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  1. an aggregation in the atmosphere of very fine, widely dispersed, solid or liquid particles, or both, giving the air an opalescent appearance that subdues colors.
  2. vagueness or obscurity, as of the mind or perception; confused or vague thoughts, feelings, etc.: The victims were still in a haze and couldn't describe the accident.
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verb (used with or without object), hazed, haz·ing.
  1. to make or become hazy.
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Origin of haze1

1700–10; perhaps noun use of Middle English *hase; Old English hasu, variant of haswa ashen, dusky. See hazy, hare
Related formshaze·less, adjective


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2. See cloud.


verb (used with object), hazed, haz·ing.
  1. to subject (freshmen, newcomers, etc.) to abusive or humiliating tricks and ridicule.
  2. Chiefly Nautical. to harass with unnecessary or disagreeable tasks.
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Origin of haze2

First recorded in 1670–80, haze is from the Middle French word haser to irritate, annoy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

murk, obscurity, smother, fumes, fog, film, miasma, dimness, smog, mist, steam, cloud, vapor, soup, haziness, indistinctness, brume, smokiness

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Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for haze


  1. meteorol
    1. reduced visibility in the air as a result of condensed water vapour, dust, etc, in the atmosphere
    2. the moisture or dust causing this
  2. obscurity of perception, feeling, etc
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  1. (when intr, often foll by over) to make or become hazy
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Word Origin

C18: back formation from hazy


verb (tr)
  1. mainly US and Canadian to subject (fellow students) to ridicule or abuse
  2. nautical to harass with humiliating tasks
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Derived Formshazer, noun

Word Origin

C17: of uncertain 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

Word Origin and History for haze


"subject to cruel horseplay," 1850, American English student slang, from earlier nautical sense of "punish by keeping at unpleasant and unnecessary hard work" (1840), perhaps from hawze "terrify, frighten, confound" (1670s), from Middle French haser "irritate, annoy" (mid-15c.), of unknown origin. Related: Hazed; hazing.

All hands were called to "come up and see it rain," and kept on deck hour after hour in a drenching rain, standing round the deck so far apart as to prevent our talking with one another, with our tarpaulins and oil-cloth jackets on, picking old rope to pieces or laying up gaskets and robands. This was often done, too, when we were lying in port with two anchors down, and no necessity for more than one man on deck as a look-out. This is what is called "hazing" a crew, and "working their old iron up." [Dana, "Two Years before the Mast," 1842]
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1706, probably a back-formation of hazy. Sense of "confusion, vagueness" is 1797. The English differentiation of haze, mist, fog (and other dialectal words) is unmatched in other tongues, where the same word generally covers all three and often "cloud" as well, and this may be seen as an effect of the English climate on the language.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with haze


see in a fog (haze).

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