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 hīrsūtus (“bristly, shaggy”). Doublet of hirsute.
- enPR: hûrs
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /hɜːs/
- (General American) IPA(key): /hɝs/
Audio (UK) (file)
- Homophone: herse
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)s
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.
- 1621, Ben Jonson, Epitath to Mary Herbert:
- underneath this sable hearse
- 1600, [Torquato Tasso], “The Third Booke of Godfrey of Bulloigne”, in Edward Fairefax [i.e., Edward Fairfax], transl., Godfrey of Bulloigne, or The Recouerie of Ierusalem. […], London: […] Ar[nold] Hatfield, for I[saac] Iaggard and M[atthew] Lownes, OCLC 940138160:
- Beside the hearse a fruitful palm tree grows,
- 1882, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, To the Avon:
- who lies beneath this sculptured hearse
- A bier or handbarrow for conveying the dead to the grave.
- c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii]:
- 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 Collins English Dictionary.
- “hearse”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.
- (dated) To enclose in a hearse; to entomb.
- c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene i]:
- I would my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear! would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin!