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verb (used with object), re·hearsed, re·hears·ing.
  1. to practice (a musical composition, a play, a speech, etc.) in private prior to a public presentation.
  2. to drill or train (an actor, musician, etc.) by rehearsal, as for some performance or part.
  3. to relate the facts or particulars of; recount.
verb (used without object), re·hearsed, re·hears·ing.
  1. to rehearse a play, part, etc.; participate in a rehearsal.

Origin of rehearse

1300–50; Middle English rehersen, rehercen < Middle French rehercier to repeat, equivalent to re- re- + hercier to strike, harrow (derivative of herce, herse a harrow); see hearse
Related formsre·hears·a·ble, adjectivere·hears·er, nounun·re·hears·a·ble, adjectiveun·re·hearsed, adjectiveun·re·hears·ing, adjectivewell-re·hearsed, adjective

Synonyms for rehearse

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for rehearse


  1. to practise (a play, concert, etc), in preparation for public performance
  2. (tr) to run through; recount; recitethe official rehearsed the grievances of the committee
  3. (tr) to train or drill (a person or animal) for the public performance of a part in a play, show, etc
Derived Formsrehearser, noun

Word Origin for rehearse

C16: from Anglo-Norman rehearser, from Old French rehercier to harrow a second time, from re- + herce harrow
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 rehearse

c.1300, "to give an account of," from Anglo-French rehearser, Old French rehercier "to go over again, repeat," literally "to rake over, turn over" (soil, ground), from re- "again" (see re-) + hercier "to rake, harrow" (see hearse). Meaning "to say over again, repeat what has already been said or written" is from mid-14c.; sense of "practice a play, part, etc." is from 1570s. Related: Rehearsed; rehearsing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper