From Middle English herse, hers, herce, 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”). Doublet of hirsute.
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.
- 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.