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Possibly from Middle English *hori (suggested by horilocket (hoary-locked, having hoary locks or curls)), equivalent to hoar +‎ -y. Alternatively, Middle English horilocket may represent Middle English hor (hoar, hoary) + ilocket (locked) rather than hori (hoary) + locket (locked).



hoary (comparative hoarier, superlative hoariest)

  1. White, whitish, or greyish-white.
    Synonyms: albescent, griseous, whity
  2. White or grey with age.
    Synonyms: grey-haired, grizzled, grizzly, silver-haired, white-haired; see also Thesaurus:elderly
    The old man bowed his hoary head in acquiescence.
    • 1681, John Dryden, The Spanish Fryar: Or, the Double Discovery. [], London: [] Richard Tonson and Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC, (please specify the page number):
      And ever and anon a silent tear
      Stole down, and trickled from his hoary beard.
    • 1787, John Rippon, How Firm a Foundation[2], archived from the original on 11 March 2009:
      And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
      Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
    • 1855, Robert Browning, “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.
    Synonym: canescent
  5. (figurative) Old or old-fashioned; trite.
    • 1944 November and December, A Former Pupil, “Some Memories of Crewe Works—II”, in Railway Magazine, page 342:
      It was, however, most interesting work, and the moulders themselves were a decent crowd, never tired of making jokes about themselves such as the hoary one that moulders did not live long, which however ran counter to the other one that no germs could live in a foundry—the atmosphere was too foul.
    • 2012 June 3, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Mr. Plow” (season 4, episode 9; originally aired 11/19/1992)”, in AV Club[3]:
      In its God-like prime, The Simpsons attacked well-worn satirical fodder from unexpected angles, finding fresh laughs in the hoariest of subjects.
    • 2022, Gary Gerstle, chapter 5, in The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order [] , New York: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, Part II. The Neoliberal Order, 1970–2020:
      Nevertheless, the hoary capitalist principle of innovation and competition leading to consolidation and monopoly still operated.
  6. (obsolete) Remote in time past.
    Synonyms: bygone, foregone
    • 1805 [1758], Samuel Hull?, transl. Wilcocke, chapter 5, in An Essay on National Pride, Albion Press, translation of Vom Nationalstolz by Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann, →OCLC, 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, David Lowenthal, 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.
  7. (obsolete) Moldy; mossy; musty.
    • 1603, Richard Knolles, “The Life of Solyman, the Fourth and Most Magnificent Emperour of the Turkes”, in Generall Historie of the Turkes[4], 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.

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