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From Middle English hery, heeri, hary, equivalent to hair +‎ -y. Compare Saterland Frisian hierich (hairy), West Frisian hierrich (hairy), Dutch harig (hairy), German Low German harig (hairy), German haarig (hairy), Swedish hårig (hairy), Icelandic hárugur (hairy). Compare also Old English hǣriht (hairy) and ġehǣre (hairy).

The sense "terrifying, scary" possibly results from a blend of hair-raising and scary.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛəɹi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛəɹi


hairy (comparative hairier, superlative hairiest)

  1. Of a person, having a lot of hair on the body.
    a hairy man
  2. Of an animal, having a lot of fur.
    hairy mammoth
  3. Of a body part other than the head, having hair growing from it.
    She is a great admirer of hairy chests.
  4. (informal) Difficult, complex, intricate, or intimidating.
    It’s a hairy problem, and will probably take several weeks to sort out.
  5. (informal) Causing anxiety or fright; terrifying, scary.



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

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