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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English hors, hos, from Old English hās, *hārs, from Proto-Germanic *haisaz, *haisraz, akin to Old Norse háss (West Norse) and heiss (East Norse) (whence Icelandic hás, Norwegian Nynorsk hås, Norwegian Bokmål hes and Swedish hes).



hoarse (comparative hoarser, superlative hoarsest)

  1. Having a dry, harsh tone to the voice, as a result of a sore throat, age, emotion, etc.
Derived terms[edit]


hoarse (third-person singular simple present hoarses, present participle hoarsing, simple past and past participle hoarsed)

  1. (uncommon) To utter hoarsely; to croak.
    • 1980, Leo Rosten, King Silky!, HarperCollins Children's Books:
      "[...] Madame! Is—that—your—horse?!"
      "Ain't no horse!" she hoarses. "Thassa thuruly bred Great Dane!" The thuruly bred Great Dane's balls shine like big , bald onions as he squeezes to deposit 4 1⁄2 pounds of vitamin - enriched apcray near the lamp-post.
    • 2022 August 1, J. Jefferson Farjeon, Back to Victoria, DigiCat:
      "See anything, mum?" she hoarsed. “No—I think it's lower down. Go back to bed, Jane. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. Someone's forgotten something, that's all.” She wanted to get rid of Jane without knowing exactly.
    • 2022 September 16, Stephen Leacock, Further Foolishness, DigiCat:
      "Helene," he croaked, reaching out his arms—his voice tensed with the infinity of his desire. "Back," she iced. And then, "Why have you come here?" she hoarsed. "What business have you here?"


  1. ^ hoarse”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present. (uses the notation ˈhȯrs, or in IPA [ˈhoɚs, ˈhɔɚs])
  2. ^ hoarse”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present. (uses the notation /hɔrs, hoʊrs/)
  3. ^ David Crystal, The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation (2016)

Etymology 2[edit]


hoarse (plural hoarses)

  1. Obsolete spelling of horse
    • 1668, act, quoted in 1912, Sandwich and Bourne, Colony and Town Records, page 20:
      The 15. 3 mo. 1668 - An act maid in a Towne Meting to provent hoarses and meares from doinge damage, as foloeth. All such hoarses and meares, as comonly kepes about the towne, or in the towne stretes, or comonly doth goe in to the towne neck, []
    • (Can we date this quote?), quoted in 1934, The North Carolina Historical Review (and also in 1981, Doris Cline Ward, Charles D. Biddix, The Heritage of Old Buncombe County):
      [] we got in to Town after Dark on the 18th I staid in Town Mr. Newnon's hoarse got Lame and him & I swapt'd hoarses and Drank whiskey on the 19th he Started home I staid in Town Expecting some intillegence from Mr.Taylor on the 20th we made a Party and went to the Paths and Run every turkey in []