[hawr-ee, hohr-ee]

adjective, hoar·i·er, hoar·i·est.

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 formshoar·i·ly, adverbhoar·i·ness, nounun·hoar·y, adjective

Synonyms for hoary

1. grizzled, grizzly; hoar. 2. old, dated, aged; venerated, revered.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hoary

Contemporary Examples of hoary

  • This is just one of those cases when the hoary cliché is true.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama’s Fighting Words

    Michael Tomasky

    September 7, 2011

  • The idea is an old one—or as the irritable Economist magazine calls it, “hoary.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Looming Banking Battle

    Jeff Madrick

    November 12, 2009

Historical Examples of hoary

  • 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.


    William Godwin

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


    William Godwin

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

    The Frozen Pirate

    W. Clark Russell

British Dictionary definitions for hoary


adjective hoarier or hoariest

having grey or white hair
white or whitish-grey in colour
ancient or venerable
Derived Formshoarily, adverbhoariness, 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

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