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  1. one of any of several breeds of dogs trained to pursue game either by sight or by scent, especially one with a long face and large drooping ears.
  2. Informal. any dog.
  3. a mean, despicable person.
  4. Informal. an addict or devotee: an autograph hound.
  5. one of the pursuers in the game of hare and hounds.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to hunt or track with hounds, or as a hound does; pursue.
  2. to pursue or harass without respite: Her little brother wouldn't stop hounding her.
  3. to incite (a hound) to pursuit or attack; urge on.
  4. Informal. to incite or urge (a person) to do something (usually followed by on).
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  1. follow the hounds, Fox Hunting. to participate in a hunt, especially as a member of the field.
  2. ride to hounds, Fox Hunting. to participate in a hunt, whether as a member of the field or of the hunt staff.
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Origin of hound1

before 900; Middle English h(o)und, Old English hund; cognate with Dutch hond, Old Norse hundr, Danish, Swedish hund, German Hund, Gothic hunds; akin to Latin canis, Greek kýōn (genitive kynós), Sanskrit śván (genitive śunas), Old Irish (genitive con), Welsh ci (plural cwn), Tocharian A kū, Lithuanian šuõ
Related formshound·er, nounhound·ish, hound·y, adjectivehound·like, adjectiveun·hound·ed, adjective


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  1. Nautical. either of a pair of fore-and-aft members at the lower end of the head of a mast, for supporting the trestletrees, that support an upper mast at its heel.Compare cheek(def 12).
  2. a horizontal bar or brace, usually one of a pair, for strengthening the running gear of a horse-drawn wagon or the like.
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Origin of hound2

1175–1225; Middle English hūn < Old Norse hūnn knob at the masthead
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for hound

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • That's an old maneuver of his—to hound a man from a little crime to a big one.

  • And if I'd known as much about you then as I know now, I'd never have started to hound you.

  • The hound fell without a sound, and with equal ease he slew the second.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • If they presented an equal target he would fire at them rather than the hound.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • The other cab was pelting after him with all the enthusiasm of a hound on a fresh trail.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for hound


    1. any of several breeds of dog used for hunting
    2. (in combination)an otterhound; a deerhound
  1. the hounds a pack of foxhounds, etc
  2. a dog, esp one regarded as annoying
  3. a despicable person
  4. (in hare and hounds) a runner who pursues a hare
  5. slang, mainly US and Canadian an enthusiastan autograph hound
  6. short for houndfish See also nursehound
  7. ride to hounds or follow the hounds to take part in a fox hunt with hounds
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verb (tr)
  1. to pursue or chase relentlessly
  2. to urge on
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Derived Formshounder, noun

Word Origin

Old English hund; related to Old High German hunt, Old Norse hundr, Gothic hunds


  1. either of a pair of horizontal bars that reinforce the running gear of a horse-drawn vehicle
  2. nautical either of a pair of fore-and-aft braces that serve as supports for a topmast
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Word Origin

C15: of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse hūnn knob, cube
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 hound


Old English hund "dog," from Proto-Germanic *hundas (cf. Old Saxon and Old Frisian hund, Old High German hunt, German Hund, Old Norse hundr, Gothic hunds), from PIE *kuntos, dental enlargement of root *kwon- "dog" (see canine). Meaning narrowed 12c. to "dog used for hunting."

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"hunt with hounds," 1520s, from hound (v.). Sense of "pursue relentlessly" is first recorded c.1600. Related: Hounded; hounding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hound


see run with (the hare, hunt with the hounds).

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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.