From Old French herce, from Medieval Latin hercia, from Latin herpicem, hirpex; ultimately from Oscan 𐌇𐌉𐌓𐌐𐌖𐌔 (hirpus, “wolf”), a reference to the teeth. The Oscan term is related to Latin hirsutus (“bristly, shaggy”).
hearse (plural hearses)
- A hind (female deer) in the second year of her age.
- A framework of wood or metal placed over the coffin or tomb of a deceased person, and covered with a pall; also, a temporary canopy bearing wax lights and set up in a church, under which the coffin was placed during the funeral ceremonies.
- A grave, coffin, tomb, or sepulchral monument.
- Ben Jonson
- underneath this marble hearse
- Beside the hearse a fruitful palm tree grows.
- who lies beneath this sculptured hearse
- Ben Jonson
- A bier or handbarrow for conveying the dead to the grave.
- Set down, set down your honourable load, / If honour may be shrouded in a hearse.
- A carriage or vehicle specially adapted or used for transporting a dead person to the place of funeral or to the grave.
hind on her second year
framework placed over coffin or tomb
grave, coffin, tomb
bier or handbarrow for carrying the dead
vehicle for transporting dead
- hearse in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- “hearse” in the Collins English Dictionary, Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers.
- “hearse”, in OED Online, Oxford: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.