[ hey ]
/ heɪ /


verb (used with object)

to convert (plant material) into hay.
to furnish (horses, cows, etc.) with hay.

verb (used without object)

to cut grass, clover, or the like, and store for use as forage.

Nearby words

  1. hawthorn,
  2. hawthorne,
  3. hawthorne effect,
  4. hawthorne, nathaniel,
  5. hawthornesque,
  6. hay fever,
  7. hay rake,
  8. hay shock,
  9. hay, john,
  10. hay-pauncefote treaties


Origin of hay

before 900; Middle English; Old English hēg; cognate with German Heu, Old Norse hey, Gothic hawi. See hew

Related formshay·ey, adjectiveun·hayed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hit the hay


/ (heɪ) /



to cut, dry, and store (grass, clover, etc) as fodder
(tr) to feed with hay

Word Origin for hay

Old English hieg; related to Old Norse hey, Gothic hawi, Old Frisian hē, Old High German houwi; see hew




/ (heɪ) /


a circular figure in country dancing
a former country dance in which the dancers wove in and out of a circle

Word Origin for hay

C16: of uncertain origin


/ (heɪ) /


Will. 1888–1949, British music-hall comedian, who later starred in films, such as Oh, Mr Porter! (1937)
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 hit the hay



"grass mown," Old English heg (Anglian), hieg, hig (West Saxon) "grass cut or mown for fodder," from Proto-Germanic *haujam (cf. Old Norse hey, Old Frisian ha, Middle Dutch hoy, German Heu, Gothic hawi "hay"), literally "that which is cut," or "that which can be mowed," from PIE *kau- "to hew, strike" (cf. Old English heawan "to cut;" see hew). Slang phrase hit the hay (pre-1880) was originally "to sleep in a barn;" hay in the general figurative sense of "bedding" (e.g. roll in the hay) is from 1903.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hit the hay

hit the hay

Also, hit the sack. Go to bed, as in I usually hit the hay after the eleven o'clock news, or I'm tired, let's hit the sack. The first colloquial expression dates from the early 1900s, the variant from about 1940.


see hit the hay; make hay while the sun shines; roll in the hay; that ain't hay.

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