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hoar +‎ -y.



hoary (comparative hoarier, superlative hoariest)

  1. White, whitish, or greyish-white.
    • 1590, Spenser, Edmund, The Faerie Queene, book 1, canto 10, stanza 48, lines 426–427:
      As hoary frost with spangles doth attire, / The mossy braunches of an oke halfe ded,
    • 1718 [c. 28 – c. 103 AD], Addison, Joseph, “Bolonia, Modena, Parma, Turin, &c.”, in Remarks on Several Parts of Italy[1], translation of Punica, book 3 by Silius Italicus:
      But hoary Winter, unadorn'd and bare, / Dwells in the dire Retreat, and freezes there.
  2. White or grey with age.
    The old man bowed his hoary head in acquiescence.
    • 1682, Dryden, John, The Spanish Friar:
      And ever and anon a silent tear / Stole down, and trickled from his hoary beard.
    • 1787, Rippon, John, How Firm a Foundation[2]:
      And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn, / Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
    • 1855, Browning, Robert, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”, stanza 1:
      My first thought was, he lied in every word, / That hoary cripple, with malicious eye / Askance to watch the working of his lie / On mine []
  3. (zoology) Of a pale silvery grey.
  4. (botany) Covered with short, dense, greyish white hairs; canescent.
  5. (obsolete) Remote in time past.
    • 1805 [1758], Wilcocke, Samuel Hull?, transl., chapter 5, in An Essay on National Pride, Albion Press, translation of Vom Nationalstolz by Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann, OCLC 228707700, page 40:
      The probability of these flattering fictions could no longer be examined, when the hoary antiquity of such traditions had gained them veneration. An adventure of ancient date was in blind after-ages too readily received as truth.
    • 1985, Lowenthal, David, The Past is a Foreign Country, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 242:
      Plant and animal species of hoary antiquity or at an evolutionary dead end seem similarly outdated. Remnant exemplars of the coelacanth, the tuatara, the Joshua tree are anachronisms more at home in previous than present environments.
  6. (obsolete) Moldy; mossy; musty.
    • 1603, Knolles, Richard, “The Life of Solyman, the Fourth and Most Magnificent Emperour of the Turkes”, in Generall Historie of the Turkes[3], page 624:
      By chance there was at that time brought out of the citie into the campe verie course, hoarie, moulded bread, which some of the souldiours hauing bought, and thrusting it vpon the points of their speares, shewed it vnto their fellowes in great choller, railing against king Ferdinand, which in his owne kingdome in the beginning of the warre had made no better prouision, but with such corrupt and pestilent bread to feed them being strangers, which were onely for his defence and quarrell to aduenture their liues.
  7. Old or old-fashioned; trite.
    • 2012 June 3, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Mr. Plow” (season 4, episode 9; originally aired 11/19/1992)”, in AV Club[4]:
      In its God-like prime, The Simpsons attacked well-worn satirical fodder from unexpected angles, finding fresh laughs in the hoariest of subjects.


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